The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With… interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise.
For this episode of the series, we spoke with Kristina Karassoulis, Head of Luxury Brand Partnerships in the UK for TikTok. She was previously the Head of UK Luxury Advertising for the Financial Times. Before making the move to London, Kristina worked in Australia, representing brands like MTV & NBCUniversal before leading commercial brand strategy for Vogue and GQ Australia.
What do you love most about your job?
I think it’s a huge privilege to wake up every day and feel involved in some of the biggest cultural trends and social movements that everyone is talking about, like TikTok sponsoring the Women’s Six Nations Championship last month. We also have an upcoming partnership with Eurovision too, so it’s fair to say that we are right at the heart of cultural conversation. I think ultimately what I love most is that I work for a company that celebrates storytellers and it’s really exciting that we get to see the impact that TikTok is having on brands themselves. We’ve had JD Sport launching their first virtual shoe and Depop jumping on viral trends. What I love is that we’re setting out to challenge ourselves, continuing to bring joy to our users and the brands that I get to work with daily.
How has the industry changed since you started your career?
I come from a TV digital and publishing background. So I’ve actually gotten to see firsthand how much disruption there is within the traditional media landscape. Primarily when I’ve worked with luxury brands, I’ve seen how storytelling has evolved from TV to print to banner ads, even the birth of native advertising and now how entertainment platforms like TikTok have really come into power. We’ve also helped major fashion houses address the new reality and reimagine engagement for the next generation of fashion lovers. From our side, we’ve seen how luxury brands like Balmain, for instance, have taken to broadcasting fashion shows live.
I think ultimately there will always still be a role for traditional advertising in the mix, but I do believe that we’re just on the cusp of how digital storytelling is changing and that’s become hugely relevant to fashion and luxury. I’ve also seen the opportunity of TikTok’s explosive growth helping brands connect with people in new ways building new connections with customers.
What lessons have you learned from this new virtual world we have had to adapt to?
It’s become clear that the digital first environment isn’t going anywhere, which means that for fashion and luxury brands it’s about cutting through that noise and building emotional connections with potential customers. In practice, it is consumers wanting brands to be real, candid and authentic. For fashion, this works particularly well. I mean, we’ve seen Gucci partnering with everyone’s favorite Trainspotter, Francis Bourgeois, and I think fashion has really found a home on TikTok because of this kind of convergence of high and popular culture, which came about because of the pandemic too. So I think as well as influencing those trends, the TikTok community is responding well to brands that have a strong stance on sustainability and diversity, which is why SuperDry chose TikTok to promote their vegan trainer, giving creators the freedom to tell the story of SuperDry in their own way.
If you had a magic wand & could create one tool that would help your company operate better, what would it be?
I actually truly believe that the magic of any organization is the people that they hire and we already have the building tools needed to propel TikTok forward. They actually come from the brilliant minds of the diverse people within our organization. So the only magic wand I’d really need is just to hire more people that we already have and just make TikTok bigger and better.
What’s one tip you would give your younger self?
I would say to stop comparing my journey to that of others, everyone is on their very own journey and as I say, comparison really is the thief of all joy. Also to appreciate where you are in the moment, because your career is so expansive and it will grow. That’s what I would tell myself.
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