Consumer behaviour is ever-changing, but several changes we’ve seen recently have and will alter the way brands do business and approach advertising. For one, consumers now have very high expectations for brands, especially when it comes to social, environmental and political issues. And it’s these expectations that are reshaping advertising, and leading brands onto a more authenticity-driven path.
“Brands who want to be successful today and, in the future, must without question act authentically and with purpose,” says Scott Thwaites, Head of Emerging Markets at TikTok Global Business Solutions.
Talking about the recent launch of TikTok For Business in South Africa, Thwaites said that brands who’ve had the most success on TikTok in other regions have embraced the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community and used the platform to amplify their unique brand voice.
“Having purpose and being authentic takes commitment,” adds Thwaites, “and it’s all about leveraging technology to communicate personally and predictively. And we believe TikTok For Business does just that, by opening up opportunities for advertisers to drive value and engage with one of the most active communities in the country.”
And it certainly looks like TikTok users agree; this according to a recent Nielson study, commissioned by TikTok, to understand the value of the platform compared to other channels and explore user perceptions on content and advert authenticity.
“The results of this study,” says Thwaites, “saw TikTok ranking the highest amongst users for being more authentic, and it also revealed that users love TikTok for its unique and authentic content.”
From an advert point of view, the study says that users see TikTok as an ad-friendly environment, believing the platform to be more trustworthy, less intrusive, more creative and entertaining. Feedback of this kind bodes very well for brands wanting to live up to consumer expectations, with the rise of big data, consumers today judge brands on their ability to predict individual preferences and needs.
“This is particularly noticeable in social media,” says Thwaites, “with audiences that are more dialled-in than ever before, it’s crucial for brands to have a deep understanding of the core DNA of their own company and fully understand their target customers and their values. It’s only through this knowledge that they can truly predict consumer actions and act with authenticity.”
Just as important today is the humanisation of brands, which allows companies to share their purpose with their audiences, often seeing their consumers share their values. The rise of purposeful brands has seen advertisers addressing real issues like inclusivity and actually tailoring content to suit the individual rather than the masses.
But just as crucial are the platforms that can bring these narratives to life, and TikTok is confident that the platform has just the right formula for success, according to Thwaites.
“TikTok For Business allows brands to connect with their customers in new and innovative ways,” explains Thwaites.
“Brands are given the tools to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community. They can start trends, connect communities, bring awareness to critical public service initiatives, and actually experience the impact their campaigns have on people. No other platform has users becoming so engaged and inspired by a marketing campaign, that they create their own version of it.”
So, what can the growing South African TikTok user base expect from brands now that TikTok For Business is available in the country?
“There are currently five different ad formats available for brands to explore,” explains Thwaites, “and these options have been designed for brands to open up an entirely new window of opportunity for themselves, and to create content that speaks to people and invites the community to join the conversation.”
Thwaites concludes by saying that central to the TikTok experience is the power of authenticity. He believes that through the platform brands can now see the value in being their true selves, especially as they realise consumers connect not only with what the brand stands for but also with how it makes them feel.