3 Questions for Romain Tardy
Founder of Bureau Tardy

Is TikTok the new essential application for fashion brands? Here are answers and advice from the founder of Bureau Tardy, a consulting agency for digital strategy.

Should fashion brands be on TikTok right now?

Yes, there’s no question! According to research firms (neither TikTok nor Instagram publish their statistics), TikTok has had 3 billion downloads in only three years. That’s the most impressive growth experienced by any application. It took Instagram 10 years to reach that figure! In addition, in 2021TikTok counted a billion users around the world, and the 2022 forecast is 1.5 billion. More precisely, in France there are 15 million active users – and since that number dates from July 2021, it has surely evolved. For French between 16 and 25 years old, 38% are already on TikTok, and that figure goes up to 46% for women in that age group. That’s enormous!

In summary, in 2022 it’s more beneficial for a brand to be on TikTok than on Instagram, since the audience is bigger and made up of Gen Zers, the consumers of the future. The fact is, if you buy a brand’s product when you’re 30 years old, it’s because you already knew about it! And finally, a very meaningful statistic concerns attention span; TikTok holds the record with 17.5 hours per month compared to 8.4 for Instagram. This figure, which reflects the time spent on the application, is quite simply incredible. We spend twice as much time on TikTok as on Instagram! Based on this fact, we can say that for both the luxury and mass markets, growth will happen on TikTok.

What’s important to know about how TikTok works?

First, you have to understand that the TikTok algorithm is very different from the one Instagram uses. TikTok doesn’t focus on subscriptions to an account, instead it presents a continuous stream adapted to users’ interests. The more TikTok is used, the more refined and targeted the stream becomes. It’s very addictive! It’s also important to forget old stereotypes. TikTok is no longer an app for 14 year olds who sing and choreograph dances. It was like that in the beginning, but it has significantly evolved. Today in all areas there’s an incredible diversity of content that’s original, funny, and educational. And that includes fashion with style coaching, fashion show reviews, trend analyses, and market reports as well as advice for buying and selling on Vinted. Everyone can find what they’re looking for. TikTok culture is organised around the values of entertainment, collaboration, and authenticity. It’s not about Instagram’s version of glamor.

What’s your advice for creating content that’s right for TikTok and also spreads a fashion brand’s message?

The first tip is for each video to tell an engaging story that makes the viewer want to watch it all the way to the end and with a clear narrative so the algorithm understands what it’s about and suggests it to other interested viewers. This implies that the brand uses the same editorial line for all its content. I would also suggest that brands produce content with strong added value – meaning informational – since TikTok is a platform that considers sharing knowledge as part of its DNA.

It’s also important to remember that TikTok has a close relationship with movement, dance, and music. The latter is especially key for catching the audience’s attention in the first few seconds, and it’s also part of how the algorithm functions. And finally, don’t hesitate to collaborate with content creators that embody the brand or have personalities or communities that are coherent with the brand. Another important point for brands: don’t be afraid of a homemade touch, since on TikTok there’s a real economy of means. There’s no need to produce or over-produce content. That’s even a mistake and a misunderstanding about what users are looking for on the platform.

And finally, for inspiration I recommend following these brands on TikTok: Levis, very active on TikTok, was one of the first brands to get involved on the platform with a user-generated content strategy; Balenciaga, which has perfectly grasped the platform’s identity; Culted, which produces extremely pertinent fashion shows critiques; and Emmanuelpcr, for its educational content on elegance.

Some influencers – Wisdom Kaye, Young Emperors, Leonie Hanne, and Raphaël Say – have also had great success on TikTok. And there’s my own account (romain.tardy), where I publish content that analyses the major marketing trends in the fashion industry. In four months I’ve garnered 3.5 million likes and 13,000 subscribers.