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Here's How Social Media Marketing Proved to be a Game Changer for Brands such as Clinique and Kraft

Discover how TikTok catapults Clinique and Kraft into Gen Z's spotlight, reshaping brands, conversations, and commerce.
The logo of the mobile video sharing and social networking application TikTok | Getty Images | Photo by Chesnot
The logo of the mobile video sharing and social networking application TikTok | Getty Images | Photo by Chesnot

TikTok has eclipsed other social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter by emerging as a powerful force shaping consumer behavior through influencer marketing, especially among the discerning Gen Z. The phenomenon of "TikTok Made Me Buy It" has become a rallying cry for viral content that translates into tangible sales. This trend is particularly prominent in the world of beauty and fashion, where a short video can propel a product to viral fame that boosts revenues.

In the summer of 2021, a TikTok user named Shannon Johnson sparked a beauty revolution with a video featuring Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. The shade, born in 1972 and enjoying periodic resurgences, became a sensation on TikTok, transforming into one of Clinique's flagship products. Jess Burns, Clinique’s vice president of global consumer engagement, highlighted the brand's tech-savvy strategy of capitalizing on social media. By collaborating with content creators, ensuring product availability, and introducing new Black Honey extensions, Clinique solidified its presence in the TikTok conversation.

TikTok | @shanniedarko_
TikTok | @shanniedarko_

Gen Z views TikTok not just as a social media platform but as a cultural space where conversations unfold rapidly, influencing purchasing decisions. Morning Consult's ranking of the fastest-growing brands of 2023 underscored the impact of TikTok, with brands like Clinique, Dollar General, and others resonating strongly with Gen Z consumers. Kraft, a century-old brand, embraced TikTok's unfiltered authenticity, and more than 60% of its TikTok efforts respond to the platform's cultural conversations, which makes the brand appear genuinely embedded in the TikTok ethos.

TikTok | @philadelphia
TikTok | @philadelphia

The introduction of TikTok Shop, an e-commerce feature, has further transformed TikTok into a demand retailer. TikTok has the potential to facilitate commerce in unexpected places. Brands are now exploring what to sell through TikTok Shop and how much creative control to relinquish to influencers. It's also important to have an authentic organic social strategy, as brands cannot merely spend their way to TikTok success.

The use of proprietary artificial intelligence to mine TikTok's vast data, has also created a virtual "It girl" that guides brands in aligning with the most popular trends.

Pexels | Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán
Pexels | Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

As brands continue to invest in TikTok, the new trend also creates the risk of diluting the user experience. A brand analyst for Morning Consult, points out the discourse around TikTok potentially turning into a commercialized space. Clinique, however, sees TikTok as a modern makeup counter, a place for authentic interactions and information-sharing rather than a mere sales platform. Gen Z, known for the ability to detect ads, demands authenticity in content creation, favoring engagement over traditional advertising.

TikTok has undeniably become the decisive platform for a brand's success and popularity among Gen Z. Its ability to influence trends, shape cultural conversations, and drive commerce makes it an indispensable platform for brands seeking to capture the attention of the ever-discerning Gen Z consumer. As the TikTok phenomenon continues to evolve, brands must tread carefully, maintaining the delicate balance between commerce and authentic engagement to secure their throne in the hearts of the TikTok generation.