Media Brand Strategy Ecommerce

How Bayer, BukuWarung and other brands in APAC are making the most of TikTok


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 18, 2021 | 6 min read

As people actively seek content and authentic experiences that bring them joy, The Drum finds out how brands in APAC are turning to TikTok to help their consumers achieve this.

Brands need to ride on the wave of positivity as consumers discover their purpose and what makes them truly happy.

That is why platforms such as TikTok have become a place where brands such as pharmaceutical giant Bayer can collaborate with audiences who are ready to interact, turning viewers into doers.

Bayer has found engagement on TikTok is more than just a ‘like,’ ‘comment’ or ‘share,’ with an opportunity to get discovered through reach, relevance and response.

“Paid media will always be part of the equation in any brand and publisher relationship. Our paid media strategy on TikTok, however, has always paid off multi-fold for our brands as we have been able to simultaneously generate earned media through our consumers,” explains Bim Gutierrez, head of digital, e-commerce and media for ASEAN at Bayer.

“As users ‘watch/see’ our ads, they also actively participate in creating videos. This new way of reaching a leaned-in audience via TikTok hence allows for a meaningful way for us to fulfill our mission of promoting self-care for our consumers and ultimately #healthforall.”

TikTok has become the cornerstone of Bayer’s digital transformation strategy, which is to build a strong digital foundation while driving differentiation. It has enabled the brand to innovate, experiment and explore new marketing executions.

For example, Bayer launched a hashtag challenge on TikTok in Vietnam with the #Berocca2PM campaign in 2020. The campaign provided the spark that ignited more TikTok campaigns from Bayer and other brands in the health industry. It was also featured in the TikTok For Business For Inspiration Page in the newly-created Health Category.

“Through our TikTok campaigns, our ASEAN marketing and digital team has learned a lot about this new breed of digital consumers and how to engage and empower them to better take care of their health with our products. Beyond the digital KPIs of views and other metrics, I always zero in on the user-generated content (UGC) that our campaigns accumulate. The number of views aside, it is the UGC that is most meaningful to us,” explains Gutierrez.

“The hundreds and thousands of Indonesians, Vietnamese and Filipinos who chose to create content for our brands – whether it’s dancing to the tune of #berocca2pm and making the 2pm sign, drinking Redoxon before putting on a mask and leaving the house #CesBeforeCus, scratching an itch and putting on Canesten #GoodbyeFungiChallenge, dancing the Saridon Dance as a reminder and remedy for their headaches – have also enabled us to reach new customers and create brand advocates for our mission of self-care.”

She adds: “I would like to think that we have effectively revolutionized healthcare marketing through TikTok. The platform has undoubtedly demonstrated how we can engage the modern digital consumer as part of our brand mission #selfcaremadefun, in a way that is joyful and entertaining.”

How are other brands using TikTok?

Aside from Bayer, other brands and organizations such as Indonesian company BukuWarung and the Singapore government have connected with their audiences through TikTok.

BukuWarang, a fintech firm, used TikTok’s App Event Optimization and achieved a 57x increase in user numbers with a 77% drop in cost per action. In Singapore, used TikTok to deliver a public service announcement to remind Singaporeans of the safe management measures in place to curb the transmission of Covid-19 around Chinese New Year 2021.

Utilizing a hashtag challenge and branded effects, the campaign delivered over 23m video views, with over 15,000 participants.

Sam Singh, head of global business solutions for APAC at TikTok, explains the platform has become a digital platform for both educational and entertaining content on the internet. In South East Asia, which is comprised of mostly mobile-reliant nations, TikTok looks to deliver content in a format that is both relevant and easy to understand.

“Traditional sectors, such as healthcare and finance, impact everyday users and we are working with brands in these industries, like Bayer, to leverage existing trends and engage with their target audiences through UGC and hashtag campaigns that allow brands to truly stand out from the crowd amid their ongoing digital transformations,” says Singh.

“When it comes to engagement, TikTok’s recommendation engine and ‘For You’ page lets users discover new content – both organic and brand – in a relevant way. 50% of users discover new brands or products while on our app, and compared to non-followers, followers in SEA are twice as likely to engage with branded content.”

He continues: “Additionally, our users are also leaned in and eager to express themselves. We have found that one in every two TikTok users have created content in the past 30 days. Among these, 80% have created original content.”

What other ways can brands use TikTok?

TikTok has introduced a suite of creative solutions that enable advertisers to embrace creativity on its platform and also to help them connect and collaborate with its ecosystem of creators.

One solution in particular is the TikTok Creator Marketplace, a self-serve portal that makes it easy for brands to find a diverse variety of creators who best align with their interests. It has also rolled out interactive formats to unlock engagement, which allows users to connect with the brands they love more easily.

On TikTok, it is seeing a lot of its full-funnel solutions growing as advertisers start to lean into the platform and understand how to engage with people. For example, when it comes to reaching and frequency buying, it answers brand advertisers’ desire to access more transparent media planning and get predictable delivery on their campaigns.

“TikTok is a platform for creative expression and we have clear community guidelines that state we do not allow misinformation that causes harm to individuals, our community or the larger public. TikTok follows these principles globally and moderates both organic and paid content in line with local laws of the countries we operate in,” says Singh.

“At TikTok, our focus is on building a safe and secure platform. Safety starts with our community and extends to our brands. We continue to build infrastructure that allows us to moderate content on the platform at scale with technology, while still ensuring that human beings are part of the process wherever a person can do a better and more important job than tech.”

He adds: “We have a firm commitment to keeping the community safe, with 81.8% of TikTok videos in violation removed before they received any views, 91.3% of these videos removed before being reported, and 93.1% removed less than 24 hours after being uploaded to TikTok. While we are working to make this percentage closer to 100%, these statistics reflect our commitment to keeping the community safe.”

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