19 June 2024

At the Tip Top of TikTok: Brands Leading the Way

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At the Tip Top of TikTok: Brands Leading the Way
Ashley  HynesWritten ByAshley Hynes

Ashley is an independent contractor at Propeller, responsible for supporting the Project and Account Management teams with client work.

Originally launched in 2016 as a short-form video sharing platform, primarily for lipsyncing and dancing videos, TikTok has grown into a fully-fledged video service, with content available for everyone and every niche. In 2021, it passed one billion users and is expected to surpass 1.8 billion by the end of 2024.

In this article, we investigate some of the top performing TikTok brands and the innovative methods and approaches to social media marketing they use to lead the way and stay on top. Without further ado, here are our top 3…

Our top three TikTok brands


Duolingo, a language learning app with an owl mascot, is another top brand on TikTok boasting over 11 million followers. Duolingo frequently has their owl mascot named Duo participate in fun videos and skits that poke fun at the trials and triumphs of language learning. These videos have quite often become a viral sensation on TikTok by showing a lighthearted approach to the organisation’s mission while subtly reinforcing their overall purpose. Duo has also partnered with celebrities such as Dua Lipa and integrated viral memes and content into their videos.

It would be wrong not to mention the social media genius behind Duo’s launch into the TikTok spotlight, Zaria Parvez. When joining Duolingo, Zaria was a recent graduate who simply asked if she could start making videos for the brand’s dormant TikTok account. Fast forward to present day, and Zaria’s TikTok trial has led to the company’s marketing strategy to be social-first. 


One of the top brands on TikTok is the entertainment giant National Basketball Association (NBA). This brand has found major success on their TikTok page with over 18 million followers by offerings fans exclusive content and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks. They have also included bloopers, challenges featuring famous basketball players, and partnerships with influencers in their programming to keep users engaged and returning. They have also created their own branded hashtags to engage with users and promote UGC such as their NBA 2K hashtag.


Ryanair is a budget airline based in London that flies to over 240 countries around the world. Ryanair boasts over 2 million TikTok followers and frequently creates viral content featuring comedic, relatable travel content and popular audio tracks. Ryanair’s strategy has involved employing a number of ‘Gen Z’ influencers to create content for their brand. And they’re not afraid to poke fun at themselves, allowing their TikTok team to create content mocking their own policies and trolling customers. A popular travel trend originating from Ryanair’s account is the popular “catch flights, not feelings” hashtag or caption.

Is there a formula for success?

After analysing these three companies, we have noticed some common themes in their TikTok marketing strategies, take a look below to learn more.

1. Familiarise yourself with the platform

You can’t master a platform without first-hand use. Understanding TikTok’s algorithms, trends and top performing content will help shape your content strategy for the platform.

2. Understand your target audience

A brilliant tool developed by TikTok, is TikTok Insights. This platform allows anyone to get to know their audience better, even allowing users to filter by generations (eg. Gen Z).

3. Know your competitors

A great way to find inspiration is through seeing what your competitors are already doing on the platform. Ryanair for example, can analyse the content from easyJet and Wizz Air.

4. Stay consistent

An uphill battle at first, a lot of content creators can be deterred at first if their content isn’t immediately harbouring attention. Becoming a viral sensation doesn’t happen overnight though, and maintaining a consistent flow of original content will be a key part of gaining followers and building your reputation.

5. Leave room for experimentation

Trialling new formats and content ideas could result in a breakthrough post. If you aren’t finding success with your current strategy, experimentation will make real difference in finding more relatable content.


In Summary…

TikTok continues to be a growing platform for marketing and it is clear than many brands can and do achieve great results by using it. Organisations can and should take advantage of the trends and strategies used by top brands, ensuring they remain authentic to their own identity and mission.

By replicating or using these top brands as a source of inspiration, companies can capitalise on using TikTok as a marketing platform. Brands that embrace the platform’s spirit, create entertaining content, and participate in trends are the ones truly leading the charge. They’re not just promoting a product; they’re becoming part of the conversation.

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