With a myriad of filters, effects and editing techniques to choose from, TikTok has opened up new and unique marketing opportunities for those brave enough to take on the challenge.
A steep rise in the app’s popularity among consumers has allowed brands actively marketing on the platform to become more confident and creative as they reach out to a widening audience of potential customers. Moreover, ever-evolving TikTok trends call social media managers to adopt a more agile, innovative and authentic approach than they have perhaps done previously.
While many companies still shy away from the app, some have embraced it with open arms, resulting in huge success. Here are ten of my favourite brands that have let their creativity shine on TikTok.
Budget European airline Ryanair is a prime example of how humour can increase engagement and brand presence on the TikTok platform. The consistency and tone of its viral content has enabled the brand to accumulate more than one million followers on its official account as of August 2021.
Ryanair’s formula is simple, yet effective. The airline mostly uses images and footage of its planes alongside a filter designed to superimpose human facial features onto any background, resulting in a kind of personified mascot. Carefully selected trending audio is added, with hilarious results – sounds which at first glance seem completely unrelated to air travel but are cleverly adapted to fit the context. All the while, the company ensures its core selling point – flights across Europe at rock-bottom prices – remains front and centre of all its posts to reinforce wider messaging on its other channels.
Whereas some brands on TikTok go all-out to wow their followers with stunning videography and seamless editing, Ryanair’s minimalist approach gets the job done arguably more effectively and on a budget. The majority of its posts contain very similar stock imagery and footage, making it as effortless as possible to jump onto new trends with little preparation or post-production necessary.
Cult entertainment brand Marvel uses TikTok to expand on and promote its growing range of formats, which include film, TV, animation and comic books. Trailers, interviews, behind the scenes footage and sneak peeks of comic cover art are just some of the ways in which Marvel gives fans an extra level of insight into the franchise via the short video platform. Because its universe spans such a huge number of productions, the brand goes out of its way to ensure there’s something for every type of Marvel fan to enjoy, mixing the old with the new and staying true to its roots.
A running theme throughout Marvel’s TikTok content is spotlighting the talent behind the global brand, whether that takes the form of a famous actor or a lesser-known comic artist. Uploaded drawing tutorials, narrated by professional Marvel illustrators, take the brand back to its very basics, and the engagement on these posts holds up against more recognisable content like clips from upcoming movie releases.
Marvel’s most popular uploads are divided into categories at the top of the brand’s feed to make it easier for its followers to dive straight into their favourite types of content.
Zara has often dipped its toe into the world of AR through immersive in-store experiences, interactive product packaging and hypnotic shop windows. Its TikTok account is no exception. The fashion brand bridges the gap between reality and fantasy with a series of curious looping videos showcasing key products from seasonal collections, produced by 3D artists that it calls ‘Zara Creators’.
Arresting content like this stops users in their tracks when browsing the platform, offering truly unique viewing and a slightly bizarre visual experience reminiscent of high-end brands like Gucci. Consequently, these posts have accumulated huge numbers of views and likes for Zara while underpinning its positioning as an aspirational luxury brand.
The example above, originally created by Marble Mannequin (@marblemannequin), garnered more than one million views within two days of publishing, marking it as one of the brand’s most popular pieces of TikTok content to date. It demonstrates a handbag being created within a press full of pink liquid, following on from the ASMR trend that has surfaced on social media over the past year.
Gymshark replicates its upbeat tone of voice very effectively on TikTok. It is clear that the brand’s presence on the platform, and other popular social apps, is driven by its strong sense of purpose – to help its followers stay active and realise their full potential.
Its content is focused on many areas of fitness, from yoga to weightlifting, and aims to inspire and inform viewers with formats like viral challenges, workout tutorials and words of encouragement. Posts are often repurposed from fitness influencers and Gymshark ambassadors as a way of fostering conversation around the brand, as well as the benefits of an active lifestyle. In turn, this persuades more of its followers to post their own fitness videos to be in with a chance of appearing on the Gymshark feed and going viral.
Most of all, the Gymshark brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. Much of its TikTok feed is made up of relatable takes on a typical fitness journey, whether that’s accidentally using gym equipment incorrectly, sneakily skipping leg day or struggling to keep up with friends.
Who can relate? ???????? Psst! New Vital styles are dropping this Thursday @7pm BST????@racheljohnie #gymshark
Next up is Nando’s, which uses its signature cheeky humour to highlight its most iconic menu items and poke fun at its dedicated fan following. Like Ryanair, the restaurant chain keeps things simple in terms of production, opting for close ups of a variety of Nando’s dishes, as well as simple interior shots of its venues.
Some of the brand’s best performing videos make the most of TikTok’s duet feature, which allows direct interaction with content posted by its customers. This method can be used to post reactions or change the context of the original video to create something even better. Examples on its official feed include reactions to food hacks and a particularly funny post outing customers’ sneaky behaviour in its restaurants, which can be viewed below.
Leaning on its fanbase to produce great UGC appears to have worked wonders for Nando’s on TikTok, forming a stronger relationship between brand and customer in a way that is difficult to replicate on other social media channels.
We’ve covered Glossier’s massive social media presence before at Econsultancy, and once again the beauty brand has outshone several competitors when it comes to its TikTok strategy. Glossier’s in-feed content spans everything you’d typically expect from any beauty brand: spotlights on bestselling products, makeup and skincare tutorials, unboxings, and colour swatching.
What makes the company’s content really stand out is frequent, in-depth behind the scenes videos which add a further layer to the brand and allow employees to become advocates. Scrolling through Glossier’s TikTok account, its followers have been treated to a multi-part tour of the brand’s headquarters, an inside look at the development of a new store, and even a sneak peek into the process of product design.
The insight Glossier gives its followers reflects the importance the brand places on the brand/customer relationship. Since its inception, the company has often sought feedback from its most loyal customers and has worked with them to improve products and even co-create new releases.
Another brand that has opted for a behind-the-scenes approach to TikTok is BMW. Using both age-old and cutting-edge camera techniques, the automotive brand’s creative team provides followers with demonstrations of how some of its most iconic marketing material is created.
The energetic and refreshing content allows for a more youthful view of the brand that better mirrors TikTok’s core audience than BMW’s more traditional marketing would. Individuals featured in the videos include some of the platform’s biggest stars and creators, including Younes Zarou (@youneszarou, 38 million followers) and Falco Punch (@falcopunch, 10.5 million followers), enabling a broader reach across fanbases.
In the clip below, we can see the complicated process that goes into producing a viral TikTok post, complete with seamless transitions, bright colours and crisp close-ups of the vehicle’s various features. Viewers are then treated to the breath-taking results at the end of the video.
In April this year, Levi’s launched its biggest ever global activation titled ‘Buy Better, Wear Longer’ to encourage consumers to buy into more sustainable fashion habits. The brand’s TikTok is a great example of how this kind of marketing messaging can be reinforced with short, snappy content alongside bigger multichannel campaigns.
Levi’s takes a largely practical approach to the short-form video format, sharing tips and tricks on how to clean, care for and upcycle its jeans to help customers minimise their environmental impact. The most engaging uploads of this type include sure-fire methods of removing gum, coffee, and even slime, from denim. There are also tutorials explaining how to customise and reshape jeans that have been worn for a long while.
Not only are these videos very satisfying to watch, they’re a chance for Levi’s to actively prove it is practicing what it preaches.
9. British Red Cross
Since its hand washing dance routines went viral back in March 2020, the British Red Cross has been making waves on TikTok. The charity focuses on providing helpful tools, fundraising ideas and advice on a number of topics including natural disasters, humanitarian crises and mental health.
Short-form video is an excellent way to provide informative and educational resources in a simplified and easily digestible manner, which could explain why the British Red Cross has so far accumulated 418k followers and seven million likes on its posts to date.
Aside from reporting on current events that require greater awareness, the non-profit runs longer-term series on broader topics. Its campaign to tackle loneliness struck a particular chord with TikTokers towards the end of last year, following challenges born from the coronavirus pandemic. Fronted, as always, by verified healthcare professionals and British Red Cross volunteers, the posts delved into the mental health impact of feeling lonely, tips on how to beat loneliness and how its followers could continue the conversation using the hashtag #WhenImLonely.
Prada’s TikTok strategy, like its product strategy, concentrates on quality over quantity. The luxury brand’s content regularly garners millions of views and tens of thousands of likes, despite it having posted fewer than 20 times on the platform at the time of writing.
Prada uses a combination of textures, bright colours and evocative sound to produce outstanding artistic visuals that reflect the tactile qualities of items in its seasonal collections. Often, just one or two outfits and accessories are highlighted per video, with camerawork zooming in on the most interesting details.
What works particularly well is the brand’s dynamic approach to filming, which follows models walking through 3D spaces from a multitude of different angles. This allows its followers to get a near-360 degree view of the garments, as well as get a sense of how the different fabrics hang off the body.
The results are mesmerising and exude all the qualities of longer form luxury marketing, presented in a smaller package.
#PradaFW21 translates intentions in search of new meanings. Music by Plastikman aka Richie Hawtin
Spotted another brand with a great TikTok strategy? Tell us more in the comments!