BBDO Singapore helped TikTok launch their Trendsetter Awards. It's the first creative-focused competition in the region. The awards encourage individuals, agencies, and creative professionals from across Southeast Asia to create TikToks to solve real-world marketing problems.
To educate and inspire others to join, BBDO and TikTok came up with the idea to co-host two virtual workshops. These workshops were divided across two days of 1.5-hour sessions and acted as your one-stop-shop for anyone wishing to leverage TikTok to solve their marketing objectives in the new normal and digitally focused marketing world we find ourselves in today.
Guan Hin Tay, CCO at BBDO Singapore and Naomi Lam, associate planning director at BBDO Singapore explain how they worked on the project.
What first inspired the idea for the creative workshops?
Naomi> When we first started working with TikTok to launch the TikTok Trendsetter creative competition, we spoke with many people in our industry to understand what they think about the platform. And we learnt that many marketers and creatives thought that TikTok is just a platform for pure entertainment, and unable to see the potential of using TikTok strategically to grow brands or businesses.
Therefore, together with TikTok, we felt it was important to share our point of view and some ideas on how to use TikTok to achieve business objectives. Hopefully our sharing can help others to kick-start their own TikTok strategy.
How much has interaction with TikTok grown over the last few months? And what can marketers learn from the brand?
Guan Hin> TikTok has crossed over two billion downloads globally and in Southeast Asia, more than half of those who downloaded the app are under 30 years old, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile application data research firm. The workshop was about bringing brands to life in TikTok. There are four ways to achieve your business objectives with strategic TikTok creativity:
- The first way is to turn your consumer into a brand storyteller on TikTok. It's about inviting your consumers to be part of your brand story. View your consumers as peers & collaborators. Talk to them in your brand's human & authentic voice.
- The second way is to drive brand experience with Branded Effects on TikTok. Branded Effects let users add 2D animated lenses to their videos that can be triggered by face and hand movements. Brands can dramatise product features for an interactive, immersive experience. These virtual product experiences allow audiences to interact with the brand's product features in an entertaining and interactive way compared to the typical 'product demo' insert when using traditional media.
- The third way is the leverage on TikTok Trends with a brand twist. In the TikTok App, you can search for "What is trending now?" It could be trending music or a trending #hashtag challenge or trending stickers. You can leverage these trends that fit your brand story of a product message.
- The fourth way is to create a branded product ritual through a TikTok challenge. Last year, Chipotle launched #fliplid challenge when an employee's product ritual of flipping a lip for a box became a hit TikTok challenge that generated a colossal increase in sales.
Naomi> From the rise of TikTok and the fact that many brands have been doing well on the platform, we’re reminded that as brand marketers we should listen to our consumers more and let them be part of our creative process.
Traditionally brands push information or our ideas to consumers through mostly one-way communication. But on TikTok, where the power of influence and trend setting is in the hands of the consumer, brands really need to listen carefully to what their consumers want and therefore harness the consumers’ passion and creativity to help their brand grow.
How vital is TikTok for connecting with consumers right now – and do you think this will continue post-Covid and beyond?
Guan Hin> Most brands think TikTok is just a platform for Gen-Z to dance and sing. The workshops are designed to demystify this myth and demonstrate how TikToks creativity can help to solve their business challenges. By learning from other brands, with best-in-class TikTok trends and techniques, we can teach brands how to bring their marketing objectives to life on TikTok."
Even though TikTok is most popular among young adults and teenagers, this trend has shifted during Covid because influencers and brands are searching for new audiences. They need to expand their reach to platforms that can excite and entertain. This changed the age range of expert content creators who are monetising off these platforms. For example, during Covid-19 many newscasters, famous entertainment celebrities, even politicians/public figures who commonly used Facebook and Instagram, are now migrating across to TikTok.
Recent updates to the app, like live streaming and advertising, have brought more sponsored posts and corporate partnerships onto the platform, consequently resulting in more mature content.
Naomi> The new generation of consumers don’t want to be passive brand ‘consumers’ or bystanders. They want to express themselves through the brands they use and be able to influence and collaborate with the brands they like.
TikTok provides a unique platform for brands to interact with the younger generation in a human and authentic way without the boundaries of traditional media channels. And most importantly, it’s a platform for the younger generation to express their authentic selves and be part of the brands they like. On TikTok, they can be more than an ‘audience’, they can share their thoughts and their own creative ideas with brands like never before. The rise of TikTok is more than a fad, it’s actually fulfilling young consumers’ deeper desire for self-expression and to be seen as they are by their peers and brands.
-Guan Hin Tan
With TikTok and the rise of influencers, does this create a completely new way to advertise and promote products?
Naomi> A lot of the ‘what’ that we do as brand marketers remains the same - product demonstration, brand storytelling, creating product rituals - these are the fundamentals to brands and product building. But the ‘how’ has always been evolving with the evolving consumer preferences.
So it’s all about going back to the basics and listening to what your consumer wants. And what we’ve been seeing is that consumers want more relatable representations of their own tribes. So instead of picture-perfect models and celebrities, they want to see influencers and micro-influencers who are more relatable to their daily lives.
Guan Hin> First, decide if your target audience uses TikTok to understand which type of influencers would strongly resonate with them. Don't believe that the TikTok creators with the most followers are going to be the most influential. Carefully study which ones will produce the most significant engagement and whether they'll influence purchasing decisions.
Do they provide a reliable track record of producing top-quality authentic content and do they have the capacity to gain positive engagement? Ask yourself if their audience is in tune with your brand? Do their passion and values authentically meet your brand’s? When you partner with a TikTok influencer based solely on vanity metrics, make sure they are a direct fit for your brand.
Allow TikTok Influencers to express creativity in their own special way. It's normal for brands to have creative control over what's being posted. Still, brands need to put their confidence in their creators who are familiar in the platform as they have already become established in their area of expertise. Refrain from killing their creative spark and enable them to have their input. This will also go a long way in improving a long-term influencer relationship.
The creative process of TikTok creativity comes in four parts:
- Firstly you need to find out what your brand is passionate about. Identify your brand's niche. What do your consumers love about your brand? How do your audiences recognise to recognise your brand?
- Secondly, you need to find out what your audience is passionate about. Can your brand lead with culture?
- Thirdly, discover the latest TikTok trend to ride on. Brands can identify top trending videos from the "Top," "Users," "Videos," "Sounds," and "Hashtags" tabs.
- And lastly to top it off, add a creative twist and make it ownable. Create original music/sounds, leverage your unique brand assets or even create an ownable hashtag that's simple and catchy.