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  • Sergio Brodsky

Why should brands leverage TikTok’s competitive positivity


Happy shoppers spend more. TikTok, an online entertainment platform that has now exceeded 6 million active users in Australia, is positioned around the concept of competitive positivity. The eyeball volume is there, the positivity-led receptivity to ads too, plus an entire infrastructure where the dullest of users can easily become a creative icon!

Not convinced yet? Ok, I’ll drill it down why marketers and brand managers need to start investing where growth is flourishing and how we at Tik My Day can help grow your brand in this exciting, new environment and beyond!


Positive context, positive shopping baskets

 Behavioural scientist and founder of start-up SelfHackathon, Patrycja Slawuta, believes that “to hack the human operating system, one must understand the code that the OS runs on and the triggers that put things into motion. Many of the triggers, as vast psychological research shows, are external or have external origins that throughout time got internalised (eg. cultural standards, gender norms). Thus, intelligent deployment of contexts can be an effective catalyst to driving desired behaviours.”

In other words, putting your brand in the positive context of TikTok can trigger shoppers with a smile that either compels a conversion or creates a new (positive) memory next time they find themselves in a category entry point (CEP).

Positive messaging, stronger word-of-mouth

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is known to be the most influential channel in the media mix, especially when trust is so low across the board. On How Brands Grow Part 2, it’s stated that positive word of mouth can outweigh negative in 3 to 1. Also, according to media scholar, Dr. Karen Nelson-Field, experiences that draw a positive emotional response will be shared more. However, what few have realised about WOM is that its influence is exerted over the person giving the word more than those receiving it. Hence, putting your brand on TikTok can help drive brand reappraisal and message amplification, arguably faster than in other channels. Why? Competitive positivity.

Long and short, positivity orchestration

Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers’ pursuit of happiness. However, the published results from six different studies revealed that happiness strongly correlated with short and long term intentions. Exciting options will often appeal more in the longer term, while calming options resonate more when considering the present or near future. This is a powerful insight that could help guide the creative produced for brands on TikTok. Drive positive excitement to build brand and lead with positive calm for direct response.

Participation in cultural moments 

If Tweeter ignited the Arab Spring, TikTok can now claim to have pranked POTUS. In fact, TikTok did not do it but hugely facilitated participation through its features. Jakob Nielsen, from AT&T Labs and father of Interactive Design, conceived the 1-9-90 rule, also called ‘participation inequality’, where out of the 3 billion people populating the internet, 90% will passively consume content, 9% will engage with that and 1% are those producing content and brokering interactions.


The trick is to make the passive audiences more engaged and the engaged more active. Rather than pushing more content, researchers from NYU Stern Business School and Tel Aviv University, found that inviting those audiences to participate with the brand and gradually increasing their effort proved to drive conversions faster and strengthen brand preference. Well, no other platform makes participation so easy and fun! Above and beyond, with an entire infrastructure for their creator community, TikTok also nurtures cross-pollination of ideas and techniques.

Positivity turbo-charges Excess Share of Voice

The Excess Share of Voice (ESOV) analysis has been used for decades to demonstrate when brands spend more than their fair share on media this year, they are more likely to grow next year. By punching above its weight, a brand is more likely to make its offer meaningful to a wider audience and ensure it is salient in relation to new needs and occasions. And the best thing next to money is positivity that helps media investment go farther. Global research firm Brainjuicer, decided to add emotions as a new element to the ESOV equation and modelled different inputs to predict growth. As it turned out, positive emotions scored disproportionally higher than their negative counterparts. And, that also included short-term metrics like click-through rates and shares as well as sales. Considering TikTok still is relatively new, chances of boosting growth through the platform are probably easier but is the positivity factor that may allow growth to be sustained in the long run.



A new narrative, for a new now

Bushfires, climate strikes, COVID-19, Black Lives Matters… wow. For many, 2020 is already written off. But that’s also what was said about 2019. Yet, we (with positive mindsets and strong livers) are still standing. Besides booze, positive entertaining content also saw a surge, meaning that people value a daily-dose of lightheartedness in their routines to keep them going, as shown by an investigation from System1 Coronavirus tracker.


TikTok does exactly that. Rather than filters and tools to make us look prettier, the platform opted for exaggerated ridiculousness. Considering how social media has been framed for causing stress and anxiety among users, TikTok becomes an antidote for that, as also noted by acclaimed Clinical Marketing Professor Scott Galloway.



Users don’t pretend to be manicuring their realities, they consciously ‘home-make’ them fantastically real. Given the surreal narrative of 2020, TikTok brings a breath of fresh, positive air into the media landscape. It’s up to brands to choose to be on the brighter side. Let’s tok

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