Web3 brands use TikTok and apps to reach mass consumers
Brands realize that consumers are not in tune with innovative web3 concepts, leading many to reign in their tools, marketing and language to engage the everyday shopper. Web3-native fashion brand RSTLSS, created by London-based designer Charli Cohen, leverages apps and TikTok to bring groups including Roblox players and trendsetting teenagers into its tech world.
RSTLSS launched on December 15, after raising $3.5 million March from investors including metaverse angel investor Paris Hilton. It has since minted all of its 1,000 NFT “keys” through an app. The unconventional app was developed to ease consumers into the world of RSTLSS. It features drops, lore, customization options, gameplay integrations, and earning structures including experience points and skill trees.
Typically, NFTs are launched through NFT marketplaces such as Opensea, but Cohen hopes that RSTLSS’s app and web platform, which will launch in the second quarter, will become a standard solution for mass web3 adoption.
Shari Glazer, web3 investor and founder of web3 branding company Kalos Labs, said that 2023 will be the start of mass adoption of web3. “Crypto Winter has been an incredible building opportunity for people working on web3 infrastructure and tools,” said Glazer. “But [seamless] On-boarding by the general public has been the missing piece in this puzzle. The barriers to web3 are high for the average person. With Instagram launching its web3 program this year and Amazon possibly launching an NFT marketplace, you’re going to see all the major social media players establish a presence starting this year.”
The RSTLSS app is currently hosting an NFT jacket drop, centered on a customizable digital jacket that is sold with an NFC chip-connected physical twin. The Unisex RSTLSS Jacket doubles as a digital collectible as well as a designer skin that can be used across gaming platforms, including Roblox, avatar platform Ready Player Me, metaverse worlds and AR/VR social integrations. It will also act as a key to future launches: The Jacket gives the owner exclusive or early access to the brand’s sales, updates and collaborations. While there are many digital apparel NFTs, not many are available through a branded, dedicated NFT app, and even fewer are usable in-game.
“Collectors download an app, which is currently in beta, and then embossing is done on iOS,” Cohen said. “It’s a completely different UX and it adds a different proposition to current NFT formats. We’re trying to ensure a diverse holder base, rather than letting people take the majority of NFT supply.”
The app also serves as an important tool. The physical jacket’s NFC chip, which registers the garment on the chain, can only be scanned through the app. Also, only the app can unlock AR lenses that allow users to try out the digital jacket. “We started building the app in the spring of 2021. I thought, ‘If we can make this work through a mobile app, then we can make it work anywhere,'” she said. “An app is the most challenging place to tackle UX, so we put a lot of resources into getting it set up first.”
“There’s a drop we’re doing later this year that’s going to bring in a Tamagotchi-like element that will also be native to the app,” Cohen said, adding that she wanted the app to be more than a salesperson. point. “It will also be for those who just sit on the tube and want to play with customizing and creating garments.”
She added, “There has been great skepticism about NFTs from the gaming community. There needs to be a major rebrand and abstraction away from NFTs, blockchain, web3 – everything that has almost become this caricatured metaverse meme. But the gaming space is one of the only places where consumers naturally exist in digital, understand the value of digital assets and place a lot of value in their digital identity.”
In gaming, especially in Roblox, “you have this huge user-generated content economy, where people have realized that they can start building a brand and a business out of creating and selling digital assets,” Cohen said. Roblox creator studios like House of Blueberry and creators like Samuel Jordan have built profitable businesses working with brands like Natori, Stella McCartney and Forever 21.
So far, RSTLSS is its 1000 users skew heavily towards the traditional 20- to 30-year-old web3 aggregator. But with further game integration, creative economy elements and new social media approaches, Cohen believes the user base will expand to become more inclusive. The brand is in talks with traditional brands for collaboration, but it is primarily to prioritize creativity and access.
According to Cohen, teenage girls set trends and move culture forward. “Outside of this the existing web3 and gaming communities that we initially wanted to launch in, teenage girls are where we’re focusing,” she said. Roblox, where RSTLSS skins will be available to shop and use this year, has a 44% female user base. Together with Roblox, RSTLSS reaches the target audience on platforms centered around anime and K-Pop, as well as social media.
According to Cohen, web3 will be a natural next step as players and creators age out of Roblox. It may also attract TikTokers, provided the current conversation shifts. “As with the gaming community, there is a lot of skepticism on TikTok around web3 and NFTs,” Cohen said. “We will work to change that narrative. Also, because RSTLSS has a lot of knowledge and narrative around it, we will create story characters that have their own TikTok accounts.” The TikTok accounts will launch in tandem with the brand’s main browsing experience next quarter.
“While we have initially focused our social media activity around Twitter and Discord, we are gradually shifting our focus to TikTok,” Cohen said. Cohen’s 10-year-old namesake techwear brand uses TikTok, where it has 62,000 followers, as its primary marketing platform.