The brand house model offers potential for fashion brands to build buzz around a launch. It can be simpler than managing a complex series of influencer relationships, suggests Thomas Repelski. “You have a collective of influencers that you can tap into. You can leave a product in the house and you can have so much organic content that can be produced.”
TikTok personalities emerge from all corners. Icon House is a new TikTok house in the UK with one million followers. “We’ve got [creators] who came in as taxi drivers, carpenters, binmen,” says Ben Rosen, marketing manager. “Now some of them sit on one million followers on TikTok and 100,000 on YouTube.” Audiences aspire to have the same success on TikTok: they see themselves reflected in the creators inside Icon House and come to trust the brands they recommend, Rosen explains.
Question marks over the concept
Some industry specialists are wary of overpromoting the TikTok house format. Michael Gruen of TalentX believes it may already be “overused and overdone”.
Content houses have also generated unwelcome controversy, ranging from parties during the pandemic to trademark disputes. Houses managed by groups of friends, such as Hype House and Sway House, may present themselves as more authentic and engaging, but they can be more open to problems than those under careful management, such as Byte House or Icon House.
“I would be very careful about the influencers that are in the house and check on their profile,” says Repelski. “Try to understand if they reach out to the right demographics. Try to make sure that they are a good fit in terms of the image the brand wants to convey.”
Esports content houses: A blueprint for success
In the esports space, questions over the longevity of content houses for TikTok are brushed aside. The concept is thriving, says Lee Trink, chief executive of FaZe, reported to be worth more than $300 million (Forbes).
“We’re going to expand the content house concept,” says Trink. “In gaming, the difference is there’s an underlying reason for FaZe houses. It’s not 12 people who’ve never met before they go into a house.” FaZe has collaborated with brands such as Champion, Manchester City and Beats by Dre on sellout merch collections and currently drives most of its revenue from brand deals.
FaZe members are hugely popular and show promise in the fashion sphere. Frasier Kay (FaZe Kay) is a co-founder of luxury mystery box service Heat. “FaZe Clan and gaming is pretty much how we launched Heat,” says Heat co-founder and managing director Joe Wilkinson. “We tapped into the worlds between esports and fashion with FaZe members producing Heat unboxing videos. They have a super-engaged audience.”
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