Gen Z is a unique and important demographic for brands to consider in their marketing efforts. In order to effectively connect with Gen Z, companies must have a strong and effective brand strategy that takes into account the preferences and behaviors of this demographic.
One key element of a successful brand strategy for Gen Z is a strong presence on social media. Gen Z is highly active on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, and companies that want to reach this audience should have a strong presence on these platforms and create engaging content that resonates with Gen Z.
Another important element of a brand strategy for Gen Z is staying on top of social media trends and incorporating them into your marketing efforts. Gen Z is heavily influenced by the content they see on social media, so staying up-to-date with the latest trends can help to make your brand more relevant and appealing to this audience.
In addition to these elements, companies should also focus on creating a brand voice that is authentic and relatable to Gen Z. By featuring real customers and their experiences with the brand, and by engaging directly with Gen Z on social media, companies can create a more authentic and relatable brand image that resonates with this important demographic.
Overall, a brand strategy that takes into account the preferences and behaviors of Gen Z, as well as the latest social media trends, can be highly effective in connecting with this important demographic and driving engagement and sales.
Hellloooo everyone! Welcome to my first-ever monthly strategy brief over UT Dallas’ Mascot (“Temoc”) TikTok Channel! In case you didn’t know before — I lead our strategy and content for Temoc’s TikTok and helped start it back in 2020 with the goal of connecting with students (both at our university and around the world) digitally through trends & relatable content.
TLDR: I’m going to break down the content and strategy used for our TikTok Channel for Temoc (the Mascot of The University of Texas at Dallas).In addition, I’ll cover how I work closely with the university’s mascot, marketing team, and the Division of Student Affairs in helping short-term video content that brings together students over a new medium.
✭ October 2021 ✭
1. Eat Your Vegetables!!!Starting off October strong by posting on October 1st with the trend-at-the-time “Eat Your Vegetables!” A simple but fun little dance to the trend where you would jump into frame and simply spin as the music queue’d. While this was one of our simplest TikToks, we kept it blank so we can re-purpose the video itself on other platforms to add text advertising our Temoctoberfest (UTD’s new annual tradition in the month of October to replace Homecoming).
2. Student ID Camera Effect.After discovering a super cool Snapchat filter created by a UTD student that would turn your Comet Card (Student ID) into a hologram of Temoc’s head — knew we had to immediately create a TikTok using it. We recorded a few-second shot of pulling out the Student ID and the camera effect activating — creating a stunning visual animation of the mascot’s face coming out. This TikTok received 97,800+ views, 8,100+ likes, 195 comments, and 473 shares.
The video was one of our most performing videos in this strategy report, and here are my takes on why:
Viral Sound: We paired this video with a sped-up remix of Lil Nas X’s recent hit “Industry Baby” which was pretty hot during the time of posting on TikTok. Popular sounds can not only help better to boost your video in the algorithm, but it’s also A) a familiar sound that makes the video resonate more with the viewer in the first playthrough, and B) a song they know recently released but not have fully heard yet — so naturally play through the video again to continue hearing it / hear more of it.
Shock Effect: Many UTD students that saw this video and commented were shocked at *how* they could do this with their Student ID. Every university student has the same ID, but how/why did “Temoc’s” ID card do this cool hologram effect? → They were curious about wanting to do the same thing too! In addition for my non-UTD viewers who commented, people saw it was cool as many young viewers on TikTok have some sort of ID/card and saw it was cool that Temoc’s was able to do this.
Giving Value: In addition to the shock effect this video was able to create, it was also giving & creating value to our audience because we replied to comments asking how to do this cool feature and explained steps to use the filter. Creating value for your audience is super helpful for growing your audience on TikTok!
Open-Ended Hook: The video starts off with the text-to-speech caption asking “Can your Student ID do this? → Creating a “hook” where the viewer is more inclined and curious to keep watching the video instead of just scrolling. Again, since many people have an ID, this question applies to many viewers who became curious about A) what can/can’t my ID do? and B) what new “TikTok Secret” could my ID possibly do?
Short & Quick to the Point: Most importantly, along with a good hook, TikTok content is on average short-form video content. This video performed well because it didn’t “demand” too much of a viewer’s time to watch the full video → therefore TikTok is rewarding this video for having a high completion time. The average watch time was 8.9s while the video was only 8.63s (meaning the majority watched it over and over that it made the average greater than the total video duration — as only 44.7% of users watched the full video). TLDR: Many users watched this on repeat numerous times (3+ times continuously) to generate this metric.
3. Couch Guy TikTok.But which side of Couch Guy TikTok were you on?! In early October a video went viral known as the “Couch Guy” where a girlfriend surprise visited her boyfriend at college. The video went viral following tons of conspiracy theories from the video of if the guy was cheating, if there was something going on, etc. etc. as the guy’s facial reaction probably wasn’t what many people would have expected from a boyfriend seeing his girlfriend for the first time in a while.
Given how popular the trend truly took over TikTok for a good 2 weeks, we decided to re-create this with UNT’s Mascot (Scrappy) and TWU’s Mascot (Oakley) — over at the UNT Campus when Temoc visited to celebrate Scrappy’s birthday. The video on Temoc’s Channel received 31.9k views, 4.6k likes, 147 comments, and 505 shares. The alternate version (which was posted first) on Scrappy’s Channel received 173k views, 39.4k likes, 513 comments, and 2080 shares. Obviously from these stats, you can say this video performed VERY well, totaling over 200k+ views among both videos.
Here’s why this video did well:
Viral Trend: This video fits perfectly with a trend that was going around on TikTok that was truly “viral”. Having a brand account on TikTok isn’t about posting & sharing updates about your company, but rather actually integrating your brand voice, personality, culture, and talent into trends in what we can call the TikTok Ecosystem (this virtual place on the internet where trends, cultures, videos, and ideas are shared very very quickly).
Timely: Being timely with trends on TikTok is CRUCIAL. If you decide you’re going to do the trend, you have to jump on board as soon as possible! Given that filming content for Temoc’s Channel can be challenging to align schedules — was very happy with how quickly we were able to jump on the Couch Guy TikTok trend.
Shock Effect: The shock factor & effect from this video (based on many comments posted) were “No way did my university just do this trend?!!?” — as many students wouldn’t have expected their university’s mascot to participate in this trend, or randomly discovered this video on their FYP and didn’t even KNOW their mascot was on TikTok!
Taking Sides: In Temoc’s version of this video, he plays the role of the “boyfriend” on the couch “cheating” on Scrappy with Oakley, while on Scrappy’s version of this video, Temoc plays the role of the “side chick/mascot” where Oakley is cheating on Scrappy. Having Scrappy’s video posted first and Temoc’s video posted the next day, there was a high flow of viewers who started commenting things like “Plot twist!” or “Temoc not like this ?”. Given the nature of this trend, it was very fun to see how students and viewers were able to react to this video and pick a side of how they interpreted both videos.
Easy to Engage: This trend features a quick shot of what is Character 1 walking in on Character 2 “cheating with” Character 3 → thus making is easy for users to engage, comment, and interact in the comment sections.
4. Temoc’s National Coming Out Day.October 11 is National Coming Out Day — and here at UT Dallas the Gender Center & Diversity Office help put on an event to recognize the day, and celebrate PRIDE. Temoc attended this event and for the first-time-ever wore the LGBTQ+ flag and shirt and came out with this TikTok Video. Along with the university’s messaging on accepting and welcoming Comets, Temoc “loves everybody and everything — especially Comets! ❤️”
Again with our strategy for Temoc’s Tiktok, we’re not creating content with the goal of impressions or views — but to be relatable, friendly, and supportive. Temoc’s Coming Out TikTok & Day was to reinforce messaging that everyone at UT Dallas is loved, welcomed, and appreciated.
Along with creating this super cute TikTok video of Temoc utilizing the trend of “They’ll never love you like I can can can can…” (which was perfect timing with National Coming Out Day), Temoc got some cute photos in his UTD PRIDE Shirt + LGBTQ+ flag for Instagram. This post was posted on National Coming Out Day, celebrating and supporting all LGBTQ+ students (and is Temoc’s most performing post to date). This video is special inside this TikTok brief — because it goes beyond just our weekly content, but our mission of supporting students.
5. Am I the Drama?!?Temoc recreated a sound that we first saw on Duolingo’s TikTok — featuring a short of the main character (Mascot/Temoc) asking if he’s the “drama” for talking about TikToks during the entire marketing meeting.
This video received 2.6k views, 323 likes, 14 comments, and 10 shares. Nothing too special here — but was fun to integrate Temoc into this trend and share some insights on how our normal marketing meetings & email conversations typically go.
This video performed alright… however APPARENTLY he did not hit it correctly, following a few comments saying he didn’t hit a single beat correctly. Not sure if Comets have ears? So maybe Temoc just didn’t hear the music the same way as we did… or still doesn’t understand where people are dancing “to the beat” to in this sound — you decide. ?
7. You Know It’s Your Girl! This TikTok sound & trend originated from a remixed interview of a host (Keke Palmer) and Megan Thee Stallion — a TikTok musician remixed it and thus was born the viral sound. With this trend being hot, we filmed Temoc at a university event featuring one of the desk’s staff members being the “hype queen” to hype up Temoc when he says “You know it’s your girl!”. The relatable content piece was about seeing your best friend randomly on campus. This TikTok received 6,000+ views, 581 likes, 14 comments, and 30 shares.
8. You’re Done, You’re Done! ☝ One of my probably favorite trends that have been going around is this sound of a guy saying “You’re done, you’re done.” — and I definitely have integrated it in my daily replies to my friends and colleagues. In this video, we had Temoc “bug” two students who were studying, who then reply saying that Temo’s “done” for trying to make TikToks with them while they’re grinding exams. At the end, Temoc is sad that his two new friends didn’t want to make TikToks with him and he’s crying with his overdramatic emotions. This piece was crafted to be relatable during midterms week for all college students.
9. Squid Games: Red Light, Green Light! ?With the instant popularity Netflix’s show Squid Games received — numerous trends and remixes came to the TikTok Ecosystem, including this variation of a scene where people “freeze” and then run for their lives when it says green light.
Given it was Halloween and Temoc actually made his Halloween Costume based on Tobor (the Starship Delivery Robots on the UTD Campus), this was an excellent placement of tieing seasonal relevancy in with a trend. The caption was “pov: you order a robot delivery order” as Temoc stood up next to the robots in his matching cardboard box costume, and then took off. ?♂️
Poor TikTok Manager / Cameraman really said: ?♂️?♂️??? — Here are some of my takes on this:
Relevancy: 12/10 with Squid Games “Red Light, Green Light” sound, however could *always* be faster at the game. When it comes to TikTok trends, you want to make sure you’re as fast as you can (faster than Temoc in this video if possible)!
Cuteness: Of course have to give some points for the cuteness of the identical cardboard box to the delivery robots — if only TikTok took into consideration this in the algorithm (/j).
Comedic: The fact that the cameraman actually was falling behind the mascot running in their cardboard box I think makes this even funnier — gives an extra piece of comedy to the viewer.
✭ November 2021 ✭
Halloween is over, it’s culturally accepted to start celebrating Christmas and the winter holidays on November 1st… right?? Here are our TikToks that we posted during the month of November!
10. Live, Laugh, Love’ing in these Conditions. ?For this popular sound, we placed Temoc next to one of the delivery robots and captioned it off of Temoc trying to high-five the robot, which the robot cannot physically-possibly high-five him back. In result, Temoc is sad and the caption even says “i dress up as you for halloween and you won’t even high-five me back?! ??”
This was a super easy video to shoot and pretty simple — the caption helps create a directional narrative for returning users connecting the dots of Temoc dressing up as the robot for Halloween and in return he receives no high-fives. ??♂️
11. TikToks With Temoc!We hosted our first-ever in-person event for students to be able to make TikToks with Temoc in November! As we have received tons of comments asking to make TikToks with Temoc, we decided to make an official event and semesterly tradition! We had a good number of participants, and figured — what better way to advertise the event on-campus other than making a TikTok?! So with this sound that was going around at the time on TikTok, we give you — our advertisement video.
12. Ignoring Class Notifications.With the midterms season over and some of us already ready for the semester to be over, this “notifications” sound fits well with the idea of Temoc ignoring his notifications from his professors.
13. C-A-P! CAP!!!If you don’t know what “CAP” means, it essentially is calling something out from being true. This was another inspiration from Duolingo’s TikTok Channel by spelling out the letters C.A.P. and having a caption of something that you’re likely to *not* do/have true. So what better caption than a student saying they aren’t going to sleep through their early morning class?! This TikTok received 4,600+ views, 462 likes, 27 comments, and 24 shares.
14. WHY AREN’T YOU IN UNIFORM?! This sound isn’t really new at all, however figured it was a good evergreen piece to post having Temoc switch from his normal spirit wear to our orange uniform — a simple video and transition for us to repurpose on Instagram Stories when it’s game day.
15. Getting into the Holiday Spirit! ? Fine, I guess it’s culturally acceptable to start celebrating Christmas once Thanksgiving has passed. We couldn’t end November without doing something festive to start the new month and winter holidays, so we filmed this fun trending sound + remix at The Star District in Frisco, featuring their HUGE Christmas Tree! Our pinned comment on the post was Temoc commenting “you think if i take it anyone would notice??” as UTD students typically comment about where Temoc is whenever he isn’t on campus.
✭ Takeaways ✭
Here are my takeaways from the content that we created during the months of October & November 2021!
Posting Summary: In total, we filmed about 20 TikToks and had 15 TikToks posted! While this might seem like a small number for other brands & users, this was a huge increase in content from the year before. Given also that 9 were posted in October and 6 were posted in November, this is pretty reasonable and expected as midterms/finals take up much of our time as students.
The Difference In University/Mascot TikTok Content: A big thing I want to definitely point out is that filming, creating, and planning content for a university (and a mascot specifically) is completely different than for another brand – and that’s really how marketing differences between audiences, industries, and brands.
Certain trends you might be able to do for other brands (or on a personal account) you won’t be able to do on other accounts. Of course, a big role of mine as the TikTok Manager is explaining to the rest of the marketing team each trend and what they mean. ?
As for the mascot, Temoc does not speak – the benefit about creating TikToks with him & the content on TikTok as a whole is that most trends & videos have a sound or viral song over them. In addition, Temoc uses his “personality” to show his expressions, reactions, and emotions – so integrating that is crucial for telling the narrative in each video (and getting the right angles).
Compared to University Enrollment: For a university that has about 28,500 enrolled full-time students (including graduate students), our TikTok account was able to expose our brand in front of a much larger audience — and to hundreds of thousands of people.
Consistency: In a dream world, I would be having our account post 4–5 times a week, if not every day. We tried to stick to 1–2 posts a week (and were unable to deliver during busy weeks). A huge important factor about trying to grow on TikTok is being consistent. Unlike other social media platforms, there is not the nature of “spamming your feed” as if you would on Instagram from posting twice a day, but instead — is encouraged. For my other job as a TikTok Specialist at Complexity Gaming, we make sure we post at LEAST once a day and even see ourselves posting twice a day a few times out of the week.
Standing Out: If this is the first time you’ve seen Temoc, then you probably thought to yourself “oh that’s a unique looking mascot” — because yes, Temoc is very unique. Not only is his name “Comet” backwards, but he’s a Comet-in-human form, so it’s a 50/50 if people like him or not. With that being said, it’s definitely taken into consideration when we’re looking at engagement/comments, as chances are there’s almost a comment on every single video commenting about Temoc’s appearance.
✭ Future Goals ✭
The cool thing about social media, and TikTok specifically, is that it’s always changing. While you might implement a strategy or marketing plan at first — you’re always going to have to adapt for when things change. Something doesn’t perform well? Take note! Something does perform well? See if you can replicate it again without sounding like a broken record! With that being said — I want to note down a few things that I would love to see us accomplish & improve the next time I dive into a strategy breakdown for Temoc’s TikTok:
More Frequent Posting: Creating TikTok content is very unique when it comes to this specific account that I manage — as things have to be planned in advance and in bulk. Going forward, I’d love to try and post more frequently, as I mentioned above: consistency is key to growth on TikTok.
More Mascot & University Collabs: TikToks are more fun with friends. Other than the Couch Guy TikTok, Temoc didn’t really have any collaboration with other universities or mascots in the area. Going forward, I’d love to shoot for 1 collab/month (more than that if possible), that way A) you build relationships with those individuals and brands, and B) your audiences can cross-pollinate between accounts & can see your brand become friends with other brands. In addition to universities, collaboration hopefully with the Dallas Cowboys, Stars, Mavs, and many other professional teams in the DFW area would be a huge goal! (Plus would love to meet their TikTok Managers/Marketing Team too!)
More Student Collabs: In addition to collaborating with other brands outside of UT Dallas, a goal of ours is to also work to generate more student-generated TikTok content at UTD. The TikToks With Temoc event went great, however, that’s essentially the only user-generated content we’ve received this entire semester. Possibly creating a semesterly-long challenge could encourage more students wanting to make TikTok content!
More Hooks & CTAs: As TikTok continues to grow as a platform, attention spans continue to shorten. Creating more engaging hooks, open-ended questions, and call-to-actions are highly helpful for making your videos more likely to be engaged.
Expanded Marketing Efforts/Collateral: I truly think there’s an untapped potential between Temoc’s TikTok Channel & student life at UTD — as well as the entire university itself. More print/digital marketing flyers around campus, QR Code activations jumping to trends & videos to enter in a contest, and utilizing short-form video content are just a few of many new efforts I’d love to expand into with the utilization of TikTok. Other universities haven’t fully expanded into a completely immersive experience with TikTok — and I would love to try to do our best to be the first.