How Brands Can Connect More Authentically With Their Audience This Ramadan

How Brands Can Connect More Authentically With Their Audience This Ramadan

TikTok's Jochen Bischoff, Head of Consumer Business Partnerships GCC, Global Business Solutions, and Fahad Osman, Regional Director - Global Business Marketing, METAP, on how brands can make the best of TikTok during the Holy Month.

With the Holy Month of Ramadan just around the corner, brands are looking to create something meaningful, give back to their communities, and fuel affinity. Ramadan is the month where communities come together fueled by the power of doing good. There is no better time for brands to demonstrate purpose, show care for the community, and connect more warmly with their audience.

Over the years, we have often seen many brands challenged to come up with the right narrative and win such a huge community moment. The secret ingredient behind the success of those who nailed it, and behind the failure of those who did not, is content. Content is more than a moon graphic; content is about knowing what resonates with your audience and packaging it in the most relevant and inspiring way ever.

How do you thrive as a brand and emotionally engage with your audience on a deeper level during what becomes a ‘cluttered and promotional’ Holy Month?

This Ramadan is the second to take place in the shadow of the pandemic, making the traditional family and friend gatherings, and shopping trips synonymous with the celebration difficult. Many restrictions are still in place across the region meaning the ‘Ramadan’ as we know it cannot be enjoyed with the same traditions we are used to or have grown up with.

For brands, understanding these limitations and the impact they can have on their customers will not only help them to deliver timely, creative content that is full of hope and joy, but also give them the opportunity to be part of special family moments - and that, in itself, is magic.

Ramadan usually causes people to consume more content online and we saw this skyrocket last year whilst in quarantine. Screen-time and mobile usage increased exponentially, with TikTok users spending their prime time on the platform with peak periods after Iftar. In fact, during Ramadan last year, the TikTok platform saw an increase in video views go up by 39% whereas video engagement increased by a staggering 91%.

At TikTok, our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy, and over the last Ramadan, we saw an eruption of diverse, feel-good content taking over our platform. People used this ‘down time’ to demonstrate their personalities, spread joy through their artistic talents, and raise awareness for humanitarian and charitable causes close to their hearts.

It is widely known that during Ramadan, people are always looking to give back to their communities. This, coupled with the initial outbreak of the pandemic last year where we were told to stay home, took a different meaning and we saw people come together virtually and unite to share their appreciation for causes that matter most to them. For example, through the #ThankYouHeroes challenge launched by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), we saw a movement of people coming together to show their support for the UAE’s frontline heroes.

In addition, peoples’ love of cooking and dining virtually, when they couldn’t be together physically, became a favorite pastime. From sharing their favorite recipes to having virtual Iftars and Suhoors together, we saw over 10,000 people come together for the #cookfromhome challenge, creating videos that garnered a whopping 200 million video views.

Screen-time and streaming are at their peak during Ramadan as people turn to their electronic devices to pass the time while they patiently wait to break their fast. This is a great opportunity for brands wanting to carve long-lasting relationships with their audience. Taking interactions to new heights was the #OpenYourEyes challenge, launched in partnership with OSN during Ramadan last year. Here, we engaged people to see just how long they could keep their eyes open through a branded, interactive filter; was it long enough for a quick episode of Brooklyn 99 or did they have the staying power for a gripping, 50-minute episode of Game of Thrones?

And lastly, with fitness fanatics eager to stay active during Ramadan and passionate sports fans looking to support their teams during times of lockdown and social distancing, sports-related content grew by a staggering 270% on the TikTok platform (based on March-July 2020). As a result, we saw a new ‘Fitspo’ trend emerge: TikTok fitness. Here, we saw local athletes and sports personalities make a name for themselves on the platform by sharing unique video content to an active and passionate TikTok community. UAE athletes like Walid Yari, Omeir Saeed and Abeer MK brought their signature style with ‘TikTok twist’ to get the UAE moving with inspiring content and challenges such #balanceshow (126.7 million views globally) or #my_move (174.2 million views globally).

These are just a few examples of trends to inspire brands that want to truly connect with their audience in an authentic and meaningful way, bringing people together during these unprecedented times. At TikTok, we are energized to ramp up our collaboration with brands in the region to help them reach new audiences and connect in dynamic and authentic ways, paving ways for brands to truly become part of new Ramadan traditions for their beloved consumers.

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