TikTok and the next creative renaissance

TBWA\NZ’s Social Media Director examines the fusion of creativity and marketing that characterises TikTok, and what this means for the industry as it grapples to work with, and understand, this popular platform.

From humble beginnings as the platform which rose to fame during a worldwide pandemic, TikTok has continued to break the mould of what a social media channel should look like. The platform has welcomed a new era of marketing, described by TikTok and TBWA in a recent joint white paper called ‘Storytelling in the Next Creative Renaissance’.

This ‘next creative renaissance’ marks a new age of creativity and innovation in advertising. Social media and the scope and pace it delivers to brands can sometimes feel hard to keep up with – which is why TBWA’s partnership with TikTok is so important. The platform has been developed as a way for marketers to harness their ambitions for everyday creativity and innovation. It allows us to step outside of our usual creative constraints and focus less on following trends and more on sparking joy. 

As modern marketers, we need to focus on including audiences rather than simply just ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ them about a brand. Consumers are hyper alert when it comes to being shown an ad on social media and especially on TikTok. People’s attention spans are dwindling but their interests and passions are not, which ultimately needs to shape how marketers display and release their content into the world.

Consumers want not only to be entertained but educated and empowered through a personalised lens. TikTok and the way the ‘for you’ page is completely customised for the viewer presents a unique opportunity for brands to facilitate conversation and engage consumers like never before. Brands have the chance to ‘let loose’ and invest in pockets of the platform beyond traditional storytelling boundaries.

We know that consumers are spending more and more time on TikTok and are open to brands being able to capture their attention; we also know that 81 percent of TikTok users are more likely to take tangible actions resulting in direct conversions on and off the platform for brands. This immediately opens the door for brands to tell their story to their new, old and existing customers. However, creating content which constantly tells a story and captures attention can be challenging for brands, which is exactly why TikTok has created their new platform with the legends over at CapCut called: Remix, Recut, Reimagine. Andy Yang, the brains behind Head of Product and Engineering at TikTok, tells us that 75 percent of a campaign’s success is down to creative and even more importantly, creative enables 47 percent of brand sales lift, which has been one of the biggest driving behind Remix, Recut, Reimagine. But how does this platform work for brands and how do they use it? 

Working alongside you, this platform can be seen as your ‘creative bestie’ and provide you with the tools to make any creative TikTok first. Starting with ‘Recut’, this tool will allow you to transform existing content into platform appropriate content – from making videos vertical to removing logos and adding sound – this is your first stop on the platform. Next is ‘Remix’ which simply allows you to add any music, text and interactive elements, including those eye-catching subtitles that we all tend to get hooked into (fitness videos are a fantastic example of this). Lastly, ‘Reimagine’ gives you access to collaborate with creators and learn how best to engage your community, giving you the confidence to create content fit for TikTok. 

Beyond the launch of Remix, Recut, Reimaging the whitepaper has a range of useful findings and tips to help you create branded content that is fit for platform. We know with shrinking attention spans that time is of the essence, and the first two seconds of a video is vital for recall and awareness. Here are a few of my favourite hacks or codes that have been proven to surpass industry benchmarks. 

Content which applies event triggers such as audio, scene changes and emojis have been proven to surpass standard benchmarks by 59 percent, this paired with the inclusion of native formats and product/service showcasing is the ultimate blend of creative codes. Mastering these codes can lead to a massive total brand impact, with some marketers having seen TikTok alone drive 13 percent of their total brand impact online. 

After disrupting traditional marketing 101 ‘norms’ comes the task of aligning your approach to your existing brand pillars. We know we still need to set goals, make content calendars and maintain a strong ROI – but how?   

Trust and commitment are key to not only building credibility online but also in harbouring a community on social media. To do this, we need to best understand the ‘spoken language’ of each platform and customise our creative approach depending on where we plan to post. Stripped back, TikTok speaks in creativity, Instagram speaks in curation, YouTube as our broadcast and Pinterest as our dream portal. These ‘languages’ are what users hope and expect for brands to ‘speak in’ versus trying to guess how to communicate with their audiences.  

Brands need to communicate with their audiences on a raw and real level by working with them. Sharing control for upcoming content is the easiest way to feed your audience exactly what they’re looking for, regardless of platform ‘language’. Most importantly this allows them to feel as if they are a part of building your brand, which gives them a sense of loyalty, ownership and predisposition.

So, we’ve mastered the language of the platforms, understood how to make our creatives TikTok first and now we’re left with implementing our marketing strategy. The best way to look at this, according to Chew Wee Ng, Head of Business Marketing APAC at TikTok is to blend brand and performance campaigns together – brands who have applied this strategy have found a 33 percent boost in conversion rates and a whopping 36 percent reduction in cost-per-action on average. 

What’s next for brands then? My advice is to take these three factors into consideration and work with your creative partners to elevate your social channels to the next level. Be brave, test and learn and remember to spark joy; consider the brand/product experience for your audience and, have fun! 

This article was first published in our December/January 2023/2024 issue.

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About Monique Porteous

Monique Porteous is the Social Media Director at TBWA\NZ.

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