The TikTok Generation: How to create brand loyalty among China's Gen Z

April 21st, 2022

Trends in China 

The TikTok Generation: How to create brand loyalty among China's Gen Z

The TikTok hype doesn't slow down. The app is still steadily growing in popularity around the world and is already a fixed platform in the marketing budget of many brands. TikTok has over 2 billion downloads - and the majority of users are part of Gen Z and not only scrolling through content but creating it. An incredible 83% of users have already uploaded video content themselves.

When we’re referring to Gen Z, we are of course talking about digital natives. And everything that comes with this term is especially true for the Chinese population of Gen Z, who have come of age during the time of the largest socioeconomic change in their country. They are the most active online and constantly following new trends, particularly on Douyin (抖音), the local Chinese version of TikTok by the same mother company: ByteDance.

The international TikTok version that is available in App Stores around the world is not accessible in China. ByteDance’s Douyin is an almost identical app that is virtually unknown in the West.

Why this audience on this one particular platform should be important to your brand:

Chinese Gen Z consumers are willing to spend a lot of money and are spontaneous. This should certainly appeal to anyone who wants to sell on the Chinese market. But they are also demanding. Part of every shopping process is comparing product offers and reviews on different platforms. This is where Douyin with its unique algorithm that knows the needs of users and other disruptive ideas comes into play:
• Gen Z’ers are willing to pay more for products targeted to their personalities. And Douyin knows! That’s why personalized marketing for your audience is not only possible but better on this app.
• This generation uses social media as the main source of shopping inspiration. And Douyin's loud, bold, and unseen content is great for you to try new things, be part of trends and stand out with your brand.
• An active community is something you want on every platform. And Douyin has it. Influencer engagement rates on the app are higher than Instagram and Youtube combined.

There’s a high-spending target group and an app with many possibilities at hand. So how can your brand come up with good content to benefit from it?

Generic advertising and posting 1:1 adaptations of campaigns for other platforms as video content to Douyin is not relevant. Individualized marketing, which translates into authenticity is key. TikTok’s 2020 campaign claim “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks” sums it up perfectly. Advertisers can only gain traction through creative and organic content, as opposed to maximalist old-fashioned advertisements.

Share your values, your visions and your activism. Over 60% of surveyed Gen Z’ers worldwide say social values influence their purchase decisions. And although at their own pace, the Chinese audience is also steadily developing more interest in conscious topics. If your narrative can include environmental and social issues and promote values that users want to be associated with, you're creating good, meaningful content.

Combine Douyin and KOL or celebrity marketing. A KOL can help your brand create and promote challenges or use the live streaming function to bring entertainment, marketing and engagement altogether. A collaboration is the best chance to go viral. But your brand should consider any cooperation very well, to make sure that the celebrity can add long-term value to your relationship with the users and potential end consumers and to avoid any scandals that might harm the brand image.

In conclusion, no other app offers as much exciting potential as Douyin in China at the moment. User numbers are record-breaking, the engagement is high and the platform is certainly known as a place where people can discover branded content and make purchasing decisions based on it. If your brand is doing business in China or considering expanding to China, Douyin should be considered an integral part of marketing from the beginning. With the help of experts, it's easy to find the right message, choose exciting content formats, or find a KOL that can truly represent your brand.

Be there, tell your story and make Gen Z'ers your customers and fans.