A View From The Frontline: What Has TikTok Changed For Brands?

A View From The Frontline: What Has TikTok Changed For Brands?

Want to be at the marketing event of the year? You can win a pair of tickets to TikTok’s must-attend #ForYou Summit on October 12 just by reading this article and answering the question at the end.

The media and entertainment landscape has been shaken up massively in the past decade, with the recent emergence of TikTok the latest seismic shift, requiring marketers to look more closely at their creative approach to the market.

But what is it that TikTok is changing for marketers? We spoke to some of the Creative and Creator partners from TikTok’s Marketing Partners program, many of whom work across all of the major platforms, to get their insights into where TikTok differs and how it is set to shift attitudes and approaches across the spectrum.

“The approach to marketing on TikTok is dramatically different. It stems from a deep understanding of just how critical creators are to an advertiser,” says Jules Lund.

For Lund, the founder of micro-creator marketplace Tribe, TikTok’s launch campaign ‘Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks’ says it all.

“Just because we have ads rammed into TV, radio & print doesn’t mean ads belong on mobile. Especially now a more authentic alternative exists in creator-led storytelling,” he says.

For Jacob Arnott, Managing Director of We The People, it’s the connection between the creators and their communities which makes the platform so unique.

“We see that Aussies are flocking to TikTok to be entertained, discover something new and participate in the community. This is a really unique proposition because when people are coming to TikTok, they’re not 100% sure what content they’re going to get, they’re just ready to be entertained,” he says.

TikTok, he says, holds a compelling opportunity for brands to engage with an audience. These people arrive with an open mind to share their core values in an entertaining and engaging way. Something Aussies haven’t had from a platform in some time.

Shooting fish in a barrel

The user base of TikTok reaches a critical mass of over 1 billion active users globally. Tom Maynard, Co-Founder of Amplify, says you can’t dismiss TikTok as a platform reserved for dances and lip-syncing teens anymore.

“It’s a platform where people go to be entertained in a huge amount of volume compared to any other kind of platform that we’ve seen in the past,” he says.

With the rise of the attention economy it’s becoming even more noticeable when marketers aren’t implementing the right strategy to speak to their audience where they are.

Maynard says the rapid uptake and engagement they see on the platform suggest TikTok is becoming a dominant entertainment source among certain user groups, adding: “It shows the true focus of the attention economy, having people’s attention for that long is insane.”

The reason TikTok is shaping the marketing sector so easily comes down to its ability to hold strong the place it’s carved for itself in the media sphere, according to Lani Cummins, General Manager of Incubeta.

“TikTok is able to generate brand value beyond just the platform. It challenges brands to look at their marketing approach because now they have to produce content that is relevant to me as a consumer,” he says.

For Cummins, the core concepts of marketing still apply across the platform. Yet in order to drive effective reach and engagement brands need to be prepared to release some of the controls. 

“The fundamentals still apply. And they will always apply, but I do think it’s probably one of the more challenging platforms to be effective. Brands can’t necessarily control things as tightly as they might do on other platforms,” he says.

Stronger together

What has changed the game now for Amplify’s Maynard is how brands are starting to become a lot braver on how they work with creators and how they work specifically for TikTok.

“It’s really important that brands are giving creators a direction as a creative, but also take into consideration that creators know their audience better than anybody else.

“It’s almost like bowling with the safety bumpers up. Where you roll the ball and go against the bumpers, and you’re guaranteed to get good quality content because the creators know their audience and their followers way better than any brand could ever possibly hope,” he says.

As an example he points to Amplify’s work with Olay, which saw the brand allow creators to have more control over their content.

@ella.whatkins It’s giving “oh slay” @Olay Australia & New Zealand #OlayAhaMoment #ad ♬ original sound – Ella Watkins

Tribe’s Lund says they’ve seen incredible work and performance happen for their clients across the platform.“One of my faves has been Colgate which activated an incredibly diverse pool of creators through their #HealthyHabits hashtag challenge. The jewel in the crown was @Rubyofmyeye, a creator with autism who captured what Colgate means to her when sensory experiences and routine are so important. I love where this is heading. Marketing has never felt so authentic,” says Lund.

@rubyofmyeye #ad My teeth brushing routine with @Colgate Total #ColgateSmile #HappyHabits #ColgateTotal #autismawareness #autism #autistic #everydayautism #nd #neurodivergent ♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz

Jacob Arnott says his agency, We The People, has been encouraging clients to focus on ‘participating in community’.

“We’re spending time to really understand what’s capturing the attention of our audience and baking these learnings into our creative. As a result, we’re able to garner a greater share of attention than we would on other platforms.

“TikTok is where internet culture trends are starting, before spilling onto other platforms. No other platform can offer access to this ground-floor engagement opportunity at the moment,” he says.

TikTok’s Marketing Partners program connects advertisers with trusted partners who can help them find scaled success on TikTok. These partners have a proven track record of helping advertisers create, optimise, target and measure ad campaigns on TikTok.

Competition Question: What is the analogy Tom Maynard uses for brands working with creators on the platform? For your chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to the invite-only event click here.

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