Meet Fabian Bern Ouwehand, Co-Founder of MANYCREATORS and Founder of UPLAB

Understanding the Success of TikTok: the Most powerful Tool to Engage European Digital Natives” is an online event dedicated to the rise of TikTok globally and the phenomena of influencer marketing. In view of the event, scheduled on 19th January, Claudia Vernotti, Director of ChinaEU spoke with each of the three speakers.

Today is the time of Fabian Bern Ouwehand, Co- Founder or ManyCreators and Founder of UPLAB, who gave his views on the role of TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin for International brands and content creators.

Claudia: Fabian, you have been working with Douyin and TikTok since their early days. With your companies UPLAB and ManyCreators, you have been helping Chinese and international brands on Douyin first and on TikTok later with influencer marketing and content creation services. Can you tell us more about your work in these two agencies? How did it all start?

Fabian: I co-founded UPLAB shortly after the launch of Douyin. My co-founder has been directly working with the app from the beginning as she was a contracted creator on the platform. She, operating from a creator perspective, and myself, from a business perspective, got together and started one of the first agencies helping creators, businesses and artists on the platform.

Our main focus has always been Douyin. Then we started to notice great interest from our partners and clients to do something on TikTok as well, so in March 2020 we decided to launch ManyCreators as a TikTok management agency in The Netherlands. From then we have experienced some very fast growth. Today, we represent over 50 TikTok creators, produce own shows on the platform and we invest in creator founded-businesses.

Claudia: I heard you saying that creators are the biggest asset on Douyin and TikTok. Does it mean that brands should always work closely with content creators in their niche category?

Fabian: I indeed see creators as the biggest asset on the platform. Creators are literally at the core. When kicking off Douyin in China, ByteDance worked with more contracted creators than employees; as a consequence, many of the early stage developments of the platform were influenced by creators’ opinions. When businesses want to start promote their brand on Douyin or on TikTok, they should treat these places as creators’ platforms, which basically means that the content you find there is User Generated Content (UGC).

On TikTok and on Douyin, there is an audience for everyone. You should adapt your content style depending on your goals, such as awareness or conversion. Besides short videos, there are big opportunities for branded music and live streams as well. But at the end of the day, you would always need a creator.

Claudia: Which are the most successful industries on Douyin/TikTok today?

Fabian: We see the largest growth in the Beauty and Food & Beverages industries. This has partly to do with the interests of TikTok and Douyin, but is also very much linked to the product pricing. TikTok and Douyin serve very well for snackable content, which is guaranteed a higher conversion rate. Beauty as well as Food & Beverages products have a relatively low pricing point, so they are great for conversion. This means that products with a higher pricing positioning would find it harder to convert into sales, but find Douyin and TikTok very valuable for brand awareness.

Claudia: And how do you see this evolving in the near future? Any new emerging sectors brands should pay attention to?

Fabian: The industries I expect to see growing in 2021 are Gaming, Business (e.g. Consulting, Coaching) and Education, on top of the already-mentioned Beauty, Food & Beverages. But I have to say that TikTok has an audience for everyone, since the algorithm helps content creators find that audience. So brands should not hesitate branding themselves on Douyin and TikTok simply because they do not belong to any of these fast-growing industries today. From a creator perspective, I expect many more ‘TikTok Originals’ – that is shows produced by creators – and I expect creators to be able to monetize directly from them.

Claudia: How important is e-commerce on TikTok today?

Fabian: Today, e-commerce on TikTok is small. But, we have been experimenting social commerce through workarounds with many of our creators and we see that the market is getting ready for it. Looking at the recent collaborations of TikTok with Walmart and with Shopify, there is definitely a progress toward e-commerce, but the user experience is not yet comparable with what Douyin is offering in China. I expect to see big changes in the future, since with e-commerce features TikTok would be able to give its 1 billion users a great opportunity to make money – as well as guarantee a strong revenue stream for its mother company ByteDance.

The appointment, for all those who register, is on January 19, 2021, from 12.00 to 13.30 (CET). Make sure you get one of the last tickets still available by registering here.

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