How Brands are Selling Culture on TikTok

Dan Passante

Posted by
Dan Passante on

Aug 22, 2022

Local, Regional, National and International Brands are Connecting with Their Audiences Through this Social Media App

When Kesha released “TikTok” through RCA Records on August 7th, 2009, no one knew it yet, but she was onto something more than a hit on the dance floor.

Much like the song, TikTok the app has young people mezmerized. The platform is ingenious: short, 9:16 videos with a function to add a voice over: what more do you need? TikTok gives content creators the opportunity to get right to the point. It’s not about the production, it’s only about the message.

For brands, TikTok has the potential to be a gold mine. TikTok can be the secret weapon to a number of issues any company could be having: recruiting, increasing awareness or developing a following.

To do this, companies need to not just understand the culture of the app, but weave their company culture into the format. Selling culture doesn’t require the best marketing minds in a company to come together to form a complex campaign. To be successful on TikTok is to capture the five W’s of your company- all you need to do is have the phone camera recording morning, noon and night.

Our friend Kesha’s words still hold weight: “ Tick-tock on the clock/ But the party don’t stop, no.”

Here’s how brands are selling culture on TikTok with the five W’s:


The young employees of a company are going to spend their time making TikToks anyway, why not look to them for company content?

Young people are never going to go to Chipotle’s website and look for employee bios, but they will see some of their videos on the company’s TikTok. Everyone and their mother is featured on the Chipotle brand page, from customers, to joke videos that lean into making fun of the brand and consumers. By putting a camera in everyone’s hand, companies like Chipotle are writing a feature piece spotlighting their company, but rather than this content going into a printing press and stocked on shelves, it’s going somewhere young people will actually be seeing it: the “For You” page in their feed (including this ad that either raises the bar for recruitment videos or lowers it, depending on how much of a TikTok user you are).

@chipotle Does ur fave boomer pronounce “chipotle” perfectly or are they normal? @jacksoncaldwell98 @karli_killa @lizzievenditti @katieeraj #chipotle #fyp ♬ original sound – Chipotle


Brands have the opportunity to show all of what they’re selling.

There is room for product placement in TikTok that isn’t necessarily scripted. Brands are placing their product in the hands of consumers. The fashion brand Guess has been doing this in their #inmydenim campaign, where customers show the changes in their mood from wearing their clothes. By doing this, Guess is selling a lot more than clothes, they’re selling confidence, not just in their clothing, but in them as a brand by boldly showing off their successes.

@kuhleeuh Had a fun day #inmydenim ✨👖✨ @guess #style #OOTD ♬ original sound – Kalia 🎤❤


Being in the right place at the right time is key to capitalizing on social media trends. There is a level of alertness that needs to be present for an account to participate in a trend.

Timeliness may not be a word that comes to mind when you think of Crocs, but their page is tastefully timed out. Creating and participating in trends, along with creative and well produced content on their page gives Crocs a tasteful mix of videos and one of the best brands on the app. Here’s an example of a trend Crocs created with musician Post Malone:

@crocs The #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge starts today. We can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! @adamw ♬ original sound – Crocs


With so many people now working from home or in a hybrid format, we take notice of when a business is in-person and the special chemistry that happens.

No one understands this more than the team in charge of the Washington Post’s TikTok. Journalism is a field that requires sobering honesty and seriousness, unless you’re on TikTok apparently. This TikTok page is a great example of using the space where businesses operate to showcase the personalities in the office. The stark difference in the product the Washington Post creates and their TikTok page is part of what makes this page so engaging.


As of Friday, health departments were reporting 122 positive cases in D.C., 44 in Virginia and 37 in Maryland, but D.C. public health officials say there are more people infected that the data show because not everyone with symptoms obtains a test.

♬ original sound – We are a newspaper.


Testimonials are great, but there is a simpler way to show why you should buy a product on TikTok.

Why should you buy Spikeball? So you can do things like this! Sometimes the “why” is as simple as showing the product in action, which for outdoor games like Spikeball, is as simple as pointing the camera and pressing record.


deleted scene from the lion king 💀

♬ original sound – Spikeball Inc.

There is a recipe for making a good TikTok account, but the secret sauce is in the consistency. With the opportunity to create countless short videos, there is also the opportunity to create a brand identity with a personality.

The highest performing videos on TikTok fall within 21-34 seconds long. Storytelling takes time, but for culture selling, TikTok has proven that 21-34 seconds is an eternity.

In the time it took to read all this, someone could watch countless TikToks. More importantly, you could be watching our TikToks at Akullian Creative. Check out our page and our Team Bowl Thursdays we have been producing to develop some of our own culture.