Dominika Skirło: Content produced with your phone can outperform content shot in a studio with an expensive setup. That's liberating

Dominika Skirło: Content produced with your phone can outperform content shot in a studio with an expensive setup. That's liberating

There's a shift towards democratized content. Everyone has access to the same tools and platforms and quality doesn’t require high costs anymore, observes Dominika Skirło, Creative Lead at TikTok for Central Europe.

With a passion for video production and growing companies, Dominika has joined TikTok to make creativity count. We enjoyed talking with her during the "Creativity4Better" IAA Global Annual Conference in Bucharest on October 31st, 2023.

Touching on this year's conference theme, we discussed how creativity can bring societal change and how social media platforms such as TikTok can serve as a “creative sandbox” for brands and enable users to share impactful stories.

Continue reading for a new perspective on quality content, insights into brand strategies for TikTok, and a liberating definition of creativity.


Defining moments

I started working in TV production at a talent agency in Los Angeles right after college. My dream was to get into the agency world, and I've always loved storytelling. Around that time, many unicorn brands were popping up, and I'd been drawn to the entertainment aspect of working in show business. But I was also drawn to this emerging concept of unicorn companies as I've always loved building something from scratch.

I took a few turns here and there throughout my career. Still, I finally got here where I can lead with creativity, talk about creativity, talk about video form, which is my primary domain, and build something that's quite impactful, for me at least.


The rise of TikTok and people's needs

TikTok signalizes the need for entertainment - thinking about TikTok not solely as a social media platform but as an entertainment platform. The main distinction is that you don't check TikTok, but you watch TikTok. People are going to TikTok not to be connected, not to build connections, or to speak with their family or friends, but mainly to be entertained. Or to discover or to build communities around people who have similar interests.

Those three building blocks are entertainment, discovery, and culture community.


Social media trends for 2024

I'm not a trend forecaster, so it's a little tricky for me to respond. But I can tease that we will have a trends report for the upcoming year.

I've noticed a shift towards democratized content, meaning everyone can access the same tools and create the same content. It doesn't matter whether you have five followers or five million followers. Everyone can create and have the same access to the tools and leverage TikTok.

When it comes to brands and trends, I don't know if it's a trend, but something that they should look out for in 2024 is not being so stuck up on high-end production values. We see a correlation between authenticity and originality, trustworthiness, and quality content, but not necessarily in the typical sense of quality, but something just shot with your phone or user-generated content.

Brands should be a little bit more liberal when it comes to producing and not necessarily spend a lot of their budgets on set and production.


Redefining quality

I think of quality twofold. So, keep at least a video resolution that is still pleasurable for the eye. But I also add value, especially on TikTok. Again, it doesn't need to be overly produced or polished content.

The same rules apply to brands. Content produced with your phone can perform, if not outperform, content shot in a studio with an expensive camera setup and lights. That's quite liberating to think about when planning your next year.


Brands on TikTok

We call it our walk, run, fly strategy. So we tell brands if you want to start on TikTok and you've got a good ad, try it. Make sure it's full screen with sound on, and try it.

And then, once you get a little bit more comfortable, you can either work with creators or create something more bespoke and tailor-made to TikTok.


Creativity in 3 words

I think of creativity as expressing the mind, body, and soul. To me, it means freedom, vulnerability, and pushing boundaries. And I think all three can apply to brands.

We see some of the best brands on TikTok that are breaking the rules. They're free in their approach. They're vulnerable sometimes. And I think that's great. Brands should show up exactly how users show up. And what users show on TikTok is authenticity and vulnerability.

Think of TikTok as a creative sandbox and play with form, being raw, and coming up with great campaigns.


Differences between regions

I was one of the first people that joined TikTok in March 2020. I remember seeing TikToks at that time, and I thought that would be part of my job, making sure that our region was up to par with some of the more mature markets. It makes me so proud that I saw some fantastic ads in all our markets almost four years later. They're winning awards leading with creativity that understand TikTok and its nativity.

It's becoming a bit more equal in terms of how brands understand TikTok. At the very beginning, you have those brands that first join a platform - and I think now everyone knows you should join TikTok. Now, they're becoming more open and creative in their ideas on TikTok.


Creativity for social change

Creativity is a driving force behind societal change because, inherently, it is made by people for people. It's around their current experiences, values, and things they see as important.

And I think it takes creativity to be the main propeller to advance that message. Creativity is at the core of societal change, especially for doing something for good. It also inspires people to think differently and be more open. And it challenges the status quo very often.

An example is Publicis's TikTok campaign for the Working With Cancer Pledge. It was around normalizing or sharing the stories of people who work corporate jobs or other different jobs and are battling cancer, sharing their stories and trying to find support while keeping their jobs, working in their careers, but also battling such a terrible disease.

I found that to be very moving to raise awareness because, very often, there are either companies or laws that don't support people with certain diseases. It was good to see a brand or an agency utilize a tool to spread that message while having it be founded on the community level.


A message on a billboard in Bucharest

"Be bold and have fun."

Our work is very creative, but it can be quite challenging at the end of the day. Sometimes, there's a lot of pressure, but let's have fun while doing it. I think TikTok is the right place to have fun while doing a lot of this great work.

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