TikTok reveals ‘What's Next’ for 2023: lessons from Burberry, Tampax and Channel 4

Three major brand campaigns from this year show what works on the platform: thinking like a creator, boosting positivity and building ‘hyper-niche clubs’.

It’s remarkable the power that social platforms – and the trends on them – have across consumer behaviour, how they influence purchasing trends and marketing strategies.

From #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to car manufacturers, all kinds of content has been produced by brands on TikTok to engage with their communities.

TikTok’s third annual What's Next Report unpacks the platform’s cultural trends and how brands can succeed on the platform.

The report includes case studies to help identify the top tactics for success on TikTok, featuring Burberry and Channel 4, and tips for brands looking for further inspiration.

Kris Boger, General Manager UK, Global Business Solutions at TikTok, said: “Looking ahead to next year, people will be using TikTok to discover new ways to make small changes, from content which inspires people to take action, to people tapping into wellbeing content to help elevate their day to day. Brands shouldn't be afraid to help the TikTok community find space for joy and harness community-built ideals to drive engagement and action next year." 

Based on research and behaviours TikTok have seen, they predict there will be three major trend forces underscoring this change.

1. From entertainment to action

6 in 10 (58%) TikTokers say they’re more likely to trust brands after learning about them from TikTok creators, according to the platform’s research.

In Italy, Tampax Italia’s awareness campaign on TikTok answered questions about the world of tampons. Partnering with popular Italian creator Silvia Buratto, Tampax Italia embarked on its ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ campaign, in which they broke down the most common fears and doubts about the use of tampons. 

Leveraging one of TikTok’s ad solutions, TopView, the brand broadcast its message to people as soon as they opened the app. This generated a total impression count of more than 34.6 million and an engagement rate of 17.75% showing a genuine interest from the Italian TikTok community.

For brands, the most effective messages on TikTok are uplifting, funny and personalised, or entertaining their audiences. Brands can build on this entertainment value by using editing techniques like syncing sounds to transitions or adding text overlays to keep the viewers' attention.

2. Mood boosters

Half (50%) of TikTok community members say TikTok boosts their mood and makes them feel happy and / or positive, with a further two in five (41%) believing 'lifting their spirits' is key in motivating them to make a purchase, found TikTok’s research. In 2023, messaging on TikTok, and beyond, should speak to this desire for levity and encourage people to make more room for themselves.

In the UK, Burberry partnered with popular creator @Sylvaniandrama to make the Lola handbag the latest star of the show in the ongoing TikTok soap opera. The collaboration sees Sylvaniandrama apply its signature 'whodunnit' narrative to promote the new bag, making the sponsored content both engaging and funny. 

3. Community building

Unlike Twitter, TikTok is not a town hall meeting. It's a collection of hyper-niche clubs which thrive through sharing and community. In fact, TikTok is 1.8x more likely to introduce people to new topics they didn't know they liked compared to traditional social platforms, according to the platform’s research.  

Brands can tap into TikTok trends to join in on cultural moments on the platform and drive important conversations with its customers. Channel 4's in-house agency, 4creative, jumped on the popular TikTok trend "tell me, without telling me", and launching its branded #AlltogetherDifferent challenge, inviting the entire community to celebrate and showcase what makes them different. 

To spread the challenge far and wide, Channel 4 collaborated with creators to produce videos of them doing something standard in their everyday lives, and then revealing what makes them unique. The campaign created a huge amount of noise, which led to a whopping 5.1 billion video views, 8.7 million engagements and 827,000 video creations.