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Luxury Brands On TikTok
At first glance, you may not see the opportunity for luxury brands on TikTok – a network often misunderstood as an app for tweens. There’s a perception that Instagram might be a more natural choice, given it’s heavily polished aesthetics.
However, Instagram is an increasingly competitive landscape for advertisers, and is quickly falling out of favour with the Gen Z market. In 2021, there’s several reasons why TikTok and luxury brands are a match made in heaven.
Firstly, TikTok’s 1.2 billion active user population is 70% Gen Z, neatly capturing a high-value market every luxury brand will need to capture to ensure survival. Gen Z’s combined spending power is $140 billion, and they hold influence across what their family purchases too.
Secondly, luxury brands focus on the experience and ‘storytelling’: they’re something to be coveted and enjoyed on a different level to high street purchases. COVID has disrupted how this ‘storytelling’ takes place: you can no longer sniff perfumes, swatch Hermes lipstick or try on Prada pumps at flagship stores.
Key customer touch points like fashion week, and large-scale tube ads are ineffective in our current landscape, when at any given point we could be in lockdowns due to the pandemic. This means luxury brands are turning to TikTok, to give potential customers an ‘inside look’ into the brand’. Luxury purchases are all about the experience, and TikTok’s short-form videos are an excellent channel for immersive storytelling.
These 4 luxury brands are great examples of how to leverage TikTok to connect with new, younger audiences.
Luxury Brand #1: Moncler
Moncler closed out 2020 with the viral #MonclerBubbleUp challenge. TikTok’s most followed influencer Charli D’Amelio, amongst others, was hired to take part. These challenge videos leveraged Moncler’s signature puffy winter coat look, encouraging users to recreate the look with a sleeping bag, fluffy robe, even garbage bags. This was set to the catchy song ‘Bubble’ by 24hrs, feat. Ty Dolla $ign.
In paid ad versions, influencers first created the Moncler puffer coat with random objects, then transitioned to modeling the actual jacket. With over 6.5 billion TikTok views, this challenge successfully introduced an obscure Italian high fashion brand to Gen Z.
Moncler’s success on TikTok uses three tried-and-tested successful strategies. Firstly, they featured with an easy to recreate hashtag challenge: anyone can wrap themselves up in a blanket, bin bag or fluffy robe. Secondly, they used a catchy, trendy song: incredibly important on TikTok. Finally, they went straight for top influencers, ensuring high reach and deep engagement from their sizable followings.
Luxury Brand #2: Gucci
Fashion house Gucci was one of the earliest luxury brands on TikTok. Gucci leveraged both paid and organic marketing.
Their #accidentalinfluencer campaign was their first foray which promoted their vintage-inspired Gucci Tennis 1977 sneaker with videos including bespoke choreography for TikTok, bringing in 2.5 million views.
That said, this effort was outshined by the organic #guccimodelchallenge off the back of it which leaned into memes and humor about high fashion and influencer marketing.
When the ‘Gucci model’ meme started flying around TikTok, Gucci tapped into this early on, creating their own versions of the funny challenge. This challenge went so viral, it was covered by British Vogue.
The audio for this trend was created by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star Lachlan Watson, which features in all of the clips.
The audio speaks on each essential element to becoming a Gucci model and pokes fun at the mis-match aesthetic of these runway models.
Apparently all you need is a colourful turtleneck, a shirt that doesn’t match with the turtleneck, a vest, a bright coloured jacket, some vinyl pants, a miniskirt, a headscarf, sunglasses, clear heels and socks, and pink lipstick. Whilst the original sound isn’t available anymore it garnered thousands of user-generated content and the #guccimodelchallenge drove an astounding 230.7 million views.
Gucci embraced this trend wholeheartedly and actually reposted a lot of user-generated content onto their official TikTok profile. That’s not all – they also mentioned in their captions that some of these users would be part of an upcoming project with Gucci.
You should note here that keeping an eye out for organic content, and relevant trends or memes supported Gucci’s TikTok success. They also produced unique videos, leaning into jokes about their brand color palette and style. Finally, their videos were edited using native TikTok effects, and trending audio, meaning they blended into people’s feeds instead of looking like sponsored ad content.
Luxury Brand #3: Dior
Dior took their SS21 fashion show live to TikTok, taking digital storytelling to another level. Dior joins Saint Laurent, JW Anderson and Louis Vuitton in holding exclusive TikTok fashion shows.
This might be an unusual approach, but makes strong business sense. For one, luxury fashion houses like Dior are heavily reliant on world markets like China, and TikTok has 400 million active Chinese users. Secondly, McKinsey and The Business of Fashion report that digital shows have become essential to brand survival, as COVID makes it increasingly impossible to hold live fashion weeks in the traditional sense. Thirdly, TikTok’s social commerce support means brands can expect not just awareness, but actual sales from digital shows held on the network.
Luxury Brand #4: Fenty Beauty
Fenty takes a unique approach to TikTok: they started the first branded TikTok house in early 2020. Fenty’s TikTok strategy has been producing unique, often viral content focusing on highlighting diversity, and the brand’s unique personality. This edgy beauty brand is fronted by Rihanna, who often makes an appearance on the brand’s page. With 10 million likes and counting, they’re ticking all the boxes for TikTok growth.
Brands can learn from Fenty: they’ve leveraged ‘marketing with a purpose’, focusing on messages of embracing diversity and inner beauty. Their videos are produced by ‘in-the-know’ Gen Z influencers, who use trending audio, pop culture trends and ‘insider hacks’. Fenty Beauty comes across as genuine, likable and trustworthy on TikTok.
This is a great time for luxury brands to be on TikTok. Especially with our prediction of TikTok’s social commerce potential to explode this year.
We’ve included 4 great examples of brand marketing you can learn from: Moncler, Gucci, Dior and Fenty Beauty. Pay attention to their tactics, and see what their campaign success is based on for your inspiration.