November 16, 2021


by Aalastair Sibley in News

What You’ll Learn in This Episode: 

  • What TikTok is and what it isn’t 
  • What differentiates TikTok from other platforms 
  • How TikTok can sell—even Brussels sprouts! 
  • What success looks like on TikTok

Far more than just an app to share funny videos, TikTok has become a social force to be reckoned with. Three billion worldwide downloads to date place it as the fifth non-gaming app to do so since 2014. And, in the first half of 2021, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app in the world with 383 million downloads. It’s quickly become a meeting place for diverse communities, organisations and individuals ranging from teenagers to master chefs to some of the largest brands in the world—all looking to entertain and be entertained.


In this special episode, Linda Descano, CFA®, EVP, corporate communications and executive visibility, sits down with Dan Brough, head of U.S. agency partnerships at TikTok, to talk about the power of this cultural phenomenon. Dan discusses what it is: “the next generation entertainment platform, really reinventing how people and brands connect,” and what makes it different: “it really is the only platform where they come together for two reasons, to co-create and co-experience content.”

Dan also reflects on the evolution of TikTok, from being perceived as a “dance app for teenagers” to its rapid transformation through the pandemic to becoming a place people can go for all sorts of content based on their tastes and interests—fashion, music, travel, cooking, cars, art—you name it, TikTok has it. “You might have heard the phrase of ‘tech talk made me buy it.’ It’s a trend we see across the platform. 47% say they bought something because they saw it on TikTok, which is almost half of all users!”

Dan shares some interesting data about their growth, algorithms and the average user—who they are, how much time they spend on the platform, and how they create or participate in trends—which makes Linda smile. “I really love what you said about letting loose, but not letting go. In a time when so many of us are working remotely and have been communicating virtually, we’ve broken through the wall that separated our professional and personal lives. And that’s my takeaway from TikTok, that it is this unifying force that allows you to really tap into those passion points and engage with others.”


Their chat is followed by a roundtable discussion with Gabriel (Gabe) Oropeza, customer engagement manager and social media manager at Eegee’s, and Audrey Arbogast, account supervisor, Red Havas U.S., moderated by Lara Graulich, account fellow, Red Havas Health. Gabe shares his team’s successes with TikTok, being able to think outside the box, partner with creators, leverage trends and have lots of fun, while effectively promoting their brand.

Gabe explains, “TikTok is that new, trendy platform where we can get away with some content that may not work for Instagram or Facebook. Eegee’s is getting to that point where a lot of people are just going to start following us because we post funny or outside-the-box content…even though they’re not from Arizona, or they’ve never heard of Eegee’s before.” With a recent video of Eegee’s interns, his team reached more than four million views overnight. “We were reaching people from the UK and India, and some of these people were commenting, I’ve never been in the U.S. but once I go, I’m gonna try an Eegee’s.”

Audrey agrees, “If you’re ever having a bad day, there’s always something funny going on in their comments section. So that engagement factor, you know, Eegee’s does really lean in and has fun with what they’re doing.” In closing, she adds, “In terms of what success looks like on TikTok, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for brands to experiment. Perhaps a brand that has typically been a little bit more curated in their social media content can have a bit more fun. And there’s a lot of opportunity for organic reach… while the risks to playing around and experimenting are pretty low. So, if you’re not experimenting with the platform already, you definitely should be.”

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