Understanding the TikTok phenomenon

A Facebook Live conversation with Piyul Mukherjee from Quipper Research; Damodar Mall from Reliance Retail; and Ashwin Suresh from Pocket Aces

Founding Fuel
What does TikTok reveal about millennials and consumer behaviour? How can marketers leverage it? This is the second story in a four-part series—a collaboration with Quipper Research, led by its co-founder and CEO Piyul Mukherjee.

TikTok is a difficult concept for some of us to understand, especially in corporate circles. Many think of it is a phenomenon in the Indian hinterland, but it’s not limited to the smaller towns.

It has taken off because it has democratized celebrityhood. India speaks many languages and there’s a growing number of first-time internet and smartphone users thanks cheap data plans and cellphones. It’s easy for them to use the platform as it allows completely simplified content creation—even more than YouTube was capable of doing. And it makes it easy for people to reach a very large audience, so it gives them that distribution strength and power that traditional mediums just couldn't do. In smaller towns, it enables you to build social validation within your community.

It is worth noting that the 15-second video are not just about people dancing and things like that. TikTok is being used in very interesting ways—by a doctor to explain medical information correctly; to teach English, and more.

So how should businesses and brands think about this opportunity? There are learnings from some who have used the medium to great effect. The TikTok stars are looking for ways to monetise this. So for corporates, they are actually the easiest to reach out to. Marketers who don’t know the bhasha, the vocabulary, of this world will have to put in the effort to learn it.  

Founding Fuel organised a public conversation on Facebook Live on understanding these nuances. What are the users’ aspirations? What does it say about reducing attention spans and how people are using various mediums? What’s the opportunity for brands?

The Panellists:

Piyul Mukherjee, Co-founder and CEO, Quipper Research

Damodar Mall, CEO, Reliance Retail (Grocery Retail)

Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces

Host: Indrajit Gupta, Co-Founder, Founding Fuel

Also in this series

TikTok: More than 15-seconds of fame?

Is it a passing fad? Is it here to stay? A multimedia story by Anmol Shrivastava on what’s driving the phenomenon

Please look now: We are changing

To make sense of the uncertainties and disruptions around us, we must try and understand the underlying human attitudes and behaviour. There’s much for brands and marketers to learn from the TikTok phenomenon, says Piyul Mukherjee. (Don't miss the embedded multimedia story ‘Inside the World of TikTok Stars’)

Bharat is watching this. Is your brand watching too?

Business As Usual marketers are blissfully insulated from what’s happening on TikTok, an app that has at least 200 million of their own core customers hooked, says Piyul Mukherjee

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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