With @dwnews_lagos, DW's News Department marks its foray into TikTok, with the potential to expand to other key markets
DW News' first TikTok account @dwnews_lagos fuses Nigerian and West African news, DW's unique brand identity and TikTok trends.
The new account aims to reach a much younger demographic - 14- to1 8-year-olds - and is part of "a bigger picture push," says Christine Laskowski, creator and executive producer of the account. "If you want to reach teens, the choice is TikTok," Laskowski says, adding that "with TikTok investing as heavily as it has in West Africa in the last few years, launching the pilot from our studio in Lagos was a no-brainer."
DW Senior Designer Ilona Wendt, who was responsible for creating the accounts style guide, says that the challenge is letting the DW brand shine through on TikTok, which has its own style. Wendt devised a visual framework with clear recommendations for the use of native text elements (provided by TikTok) and a mixture of pre-produced elements, such as the profile video, maps, and backgrounds. "This allows DW to be recognizable leaving the storytelling and TikTok personalities untouched. The personality of the three TikTokers should always remain authentic and free," says Wendt.
From chronicling how to get vaccinated in Lagos, to creative takes on Germany's announcement to return the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, @dwnews_lagos serves up traditional hard news stories with a TikTok twist.
The local team consists of Flourish Chukwurah, Favour Ubanyi and Victor Panwal. Chukwurah has been a journalist with DW since 2018, Ubanyi joined after showcasing her mettle during her internship. Panwal is an influencer boasting a following of 1.2 million.
"The way TikTok's AI-algorithm works means that content, for the most part, stays local on people's feeds," explains Erika Marzano, project manager at DW's Audience Development team. "90 percent of the time, the videos on our channel are going to be seen by other Nigerians and West Africans. While we need to tailor our news content a bit, that's the right kind of challenge; there's really nobody doing what we are this space."
The @dwnews_lagos pilot project is the first of several TikTok "chapter" accounts in DW target regions worldwide.