On the surface, TikTok appears as a chaotic app for the unassuming teenager. In the last year, it has proven to be much more. Since Spring of 2020, the app has exploded into a competitive outlet for small and newly established businesses, making it the perfect landscape for any form of advertisement. The app currently has more than 1.2 billion active users, 70 percent of whom belong to Generation Z, and 26 percent between the ages of 25-44. Gen Z, which includes most under-25-year-olds, reportedly has a combined spending power of $140 billion. TikTok is empowering brands to tap into this emerging market.
After seeing the potential, luxury brands started to focus their attention on the storytelling aspect of TikTok advertisements. When COVID forced the closure of stores, it also forced all in-store experiences to temporarily halt. This meant no longer feeling the texture and material of clothing, sniffing perfumes, swatches of Fenty lipstick, or trying on Gucci espadrilles at flagship stores. Luxury brands had to turn to TikTok to give potential customers an inside look into their brand, making itthe perfect platform for these five established businesses.
Gucci has always been seen as one of the most luxurious brands in the world and, lucky enough, one of the first to catch on to the TikTok trend. From the start, users were intrigued by the unique songs and choreography displayed on the platform and Gucci used that to their advantage with the first #accidentalinfluencer campaign. Using the trend to promote their vintage-inspired Gucci Tennis 1977 sneaker, influencers were encouraged to use choreography. It proved successful, bringing in 2.5 million views. Gucci’s second campaign (#guccimodelchallenge) outshined the first with its use of memes and humor about high fashion and influencer marketing. The challenge was so popular, it was covered by British Vogue. Most attribute Gucci’s TikTok success to staying aware of organic content and relevant trends.
Dior took a new approach by livestreaming its SS21 fashion show on TikTok, taking digital storytelling to another level. The brand joins a host of other luxury brands like Saint Laurent, JW Anderson and Louis Vuitton who have already used this clever feature to bring fans directly to the runway. While this may seem like an unusual approach, it is helpful to their bottom line. Luxury brands like Dior rely heavily on world markets like China, and TikTok has 400 million active Chinese users. Also, because of TikTok’s social commerce support, brands can expect sales from the digital shows held on the platform.
Most have heard of the famous D’Amelio family, known for taking over TikTok with their performances of viral dances — most notably to the song “Renegade” — and their quirky, wholesome content. Not long after the family’s rise, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio gained a following of their own. Charli has become TikTok’s most followed influencer, and was hired to take place in the viral #MonclerBubbleUp challenge. This challenge used Moncler’s signature puffy winter coat to encourage users to recreate the look with a sleeping bag, robe or anything closely related to the material of the coat. The #MonclerBubbleUp challenge received more than 6.5 billion views, and turned what was once labeled as an obscure Italian brand into a high fashion Gen-Z buzzword.
Since the brand’s launch in 2017, Fenty Beauty has taken a strong approach to social media, and was one of the first branded TikTok profiles in early 2020. Fenty Beauty has been creating unique content focused on diversity, and edgy looks created by the users and influencers of the brand. Rihanna, the brand’s founder, also makes appearances on the page, which currently boasts 965,000 followers and 13.5 million likes. As a TikTok user might say, the brand “understood the assignment.”
Ten months after its TikTok channel launched, Louis Vuitton surpassed 1 million followers. Each video has more than 1 million views and likes. Louis Vuitton has remained successful by creating content that takes viewers into an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes view of the organization. The name of the game for Louis Vuitton is frequency, posting at least once a day. (Balenciaga, in contrast, has more than 500,000 TikTok followers but receives only a few thousand likes per video. The company only posts a few times a month.)
Luxury brands are becoming the best-performing accounts on TikTok, leveraging music, memes and choreography to their advantage. Their content is eye-catching, receives high engagement, and is over-the-top creative, connecting with the young audience and bringing even more popularity to older brands.