There’s no question that TikTok has powered some of the most successful influencer marketing campaigns to date. By tapping into current trends, brands on TikTok can connect authentically with their communities, and engage fans more directly than on any other social media platform. One consumer brand in particular recently made waves by rolling out a strategic challenge that dominated online conversation.
Earlier this year, hair care sensation Olaplex harnessed the full potential of paid media on TikTok, kicking off a brilliant hashtag campaign that drastically boosted its Earned Media Value and reach. #OLAFLEX—the brand’s most successful creator-led initiative to date—amplified Olaplex’s patented bond-building technology and hair-strengthening capabilities. The TikTok campaign challenged loyal fans to contrast their wildest hair from the past with their healthy hair today, crediting Olaplex for the transformation. Understanding the advantage of leveraging custom audio in TikTok marketing activities, the brand partnered with EDM DJ and producer Felix Cartal, to create an original track that creators incorporated into their posts.
The TikTok campaign achieved groundbreaking results, inspiring $17.7M EMV in August alone, and netting $18.3M to date across 3.5k posts from 1.9k participants. Even more staggering, #OLAFLEX has garnered more than 3B views, ranking as Olaplex’s most widely used hashtag this year, ahead of #Olaplex. The initiative’s top EMV-drivers were lifestyle TikTok star Darcy McQueeny ($457.7k) and fashion maven Abigail Salz ($283.7k). Bolstered by the challenge’s success, Olaplex has continued to consistently rank in Tribe Dynamics’ monthly Top Ten report.
So how did Olaplex achieve such stand-out success, and what can other brands learn from this winning TikTok campaign?
- Olaplex Plays Into Organic TikTok Trends: Olaplex has been highly strategic about the role of TikTok in its influencer marketing program. With 286.7k followers on the platform, the brand regularly leans into trends, weaving its products into organic, creator-led conversations. Earlier this year, for example, the “Olaplex bun” began trending on TikTok, with creators championing the style as a way to deep condition their hair while simultaneously rocking a trendy hairdo. Olaplex also has a noteworthy track record of leveraging user-generated content (UGC) to strengthen its community and maintain an authentic image.
- Olaplex Invests In Ongoing Community-Building: Olaplex has certainly built strong ties across its creator community—partially due to the central role of UGC in its marketing strategy. The brand is a role model for nurturing long-term relationships with fans. For example, the top five creators that drove the most EMV for #OLAFLEX in Q3 were all retained from the previous quarter, further demonstrating the importance of prioritizing ongoing partnerships.
- Olaplex Gets Creative With a Branded Hashtag: #OLAFLEX is the perfect pun, and creators love participating in a clever campaign. Weaving your brand name into a hashtag in a witty way can lead to greater reach, as it’s easy for consumers to associate your brand with the initiative.
How can Olaplex continue to drive similar levels of success?
- Reinvigorate Enthusiasm With Fresh Ideas: Because conversation surrounding sponsored TikTok challenges tends to fade quickly, Olaplex will need to continue to engage its community via additional initiatives in order to maintain its momentum moving forward.
- Continue to Elevate Micro-Influencers: With several micro-influencers ranking as Olaplex’s highest EMV-driving brand partners in recent months, this group can be further leveraged for specific campaigns. After all, micro-influencers’ ability to engage their close-knit audiences is unmatched.
#OLAFLEX serves as a reminder that community engagement and relatability is central to a TikTok campaign’s success. While Olaplex’s strategy and brand story certainly can’t be copy-pasted–since every brand offers something unique to its audience–this challenge should serve as an inspiration for marketers to experiment with how to best capture the attention of their fans.
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