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#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt – Add TikTok to your intellectual property toolkit to boost your brand awareness

23rd Oct 2023 | Commercial Law | Intellectual Property
Illustration of man carrying a giant phone with the Tiktok logo on it

TikTok originated in 2016 as a social media platform dedicated to short videos (from 15 to 60 seconds long) with entertaining and comedic content paired with music.

TikTok’s popularity skyrocketed in 2019 (soon becoming a primary source of lockdown entertainment) and has since developed into an opportunity for retailers to diversify their marketing strategy by tapping into a new market to drive consumer off-line behaviour back in store.  

However, is TikTok's success limited to retailers only? Or is there a way that a commercial business can harness the power of TikTok, too?

How is TikTok being used by retailers?

With the hope of turning views into value, retailers have dropped the traditional marketing strategy of just promoting the superiority of their products. Instead, they are using fun and engaging campaigns set to music to suit the fast-paced and playful nature of TikTok.

Before TikTok, successful product influencing was largely reliant on celebrity or “influencer” promotion. However, whilst influencers are still helpful, TikTok provides the opportunity for anybody to become an influencer... provided their content is entertaining enough!

For example, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend has helped numerous retailers achieve increases in in-store sales because of customers who have purchased their products after discovering them through shopping “haul” videos created by others.

Now, retailers are capitalising on the trends by creating content to bring customers back in-store. Marks and Spencer have reported a 14.9% increase in their store sales in 2022, which can be attributed (at least in part!) to the viral TikTok videos created by their singing and dancing employees.

Yet, whilst M&S products were being promoted, perhaps the most engaging aspect was the employees themselves and the “behind the scenes” feel to the videos.

But what if my business is not a retailer?

TikTok users are increasingly enjoying the content that has been created without the obvious product plug as the user does not necessarily realise that they are being advertised to.

So, how can this help your business?

A significant percentage of users reported that they like it when brands/businesses give a “look behind the scenes” and a view into their employees’ daily lives. You’d be surprised how a seemingly “mundane” factory process, paired with a trending song, can easily captivate and engage TikTok users scrolling through their “For You” page.

This presents a unique opportunity for commercial businesses that previously have not considered using TikTok as a tool to effectively utilise their Intellectual Property (IP) to boost their brand awareness.

With TikTok communities (a.k.a sub-cultures) for almost everything and anything from #BookTok to #CarTok to #CrochetersofTikTok, there are TikTok users ready to engage with content that you would not expect to gain traction.

For example, #FarmTok is a trending TikTok community in which a new generation of farmers provides an inside look at farm life, which has gained traction with users who are farmers themselves. Still, it has fascinated the users who knew nothing about farming at all.

So, whether your business involves operating a port, manufacturing products, or providing another commercial service, if the insight into the business is engaging content, you can bet there will be a community on TikTok ready to absorb it.

Once created, the content will form part of your IP portfolio and can be multi-functional. According to Statista, over 40% of TikTok users are under the age of 25, and so using TikTok to tap into the Gen Z market creates the opportunity for businesses to inspire the next generation to get involved with their sector.

Yet, whilst the app is most popular with Gen Z users, 24% of TikTok users are aged 35 or older, which is still around 240 million people and is increasing. TikTok is becoming more multi-generational by the day, and so it provides commercial businesses with the opportunity to reach users who may already be working in their business sector or may be interested in moving into their sector, whether that is from an employment perspective or potentially a business-to-business marketing perspective.

Regardless of the reason, it presents a perfect opportunity to leverage the business’ IP in untapped markets at little to no cost to the business.  

Further information on commercialising and protecting your IP

Your IP is one of your most valuable assets, and like any asset, it needs to be protected. Knowing what IP you have and understanding its strategic importance to your business is vital in helping you manage and protect your organisation.

Our IP health check is designed to help you uncover your IP’s potential and vulnerabilities, giving you not only peace of mind but also information and advice you can use to build your IP strategy for future growth.

For further information on commercialising your intellectual property assets, booking a free one-hour IP health check consultation or if you are unsure whether your intellectual property rights are adequately protected, contact Tom Justice using [email protected] or 0191 211 7913.

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