Thursday, 26 September 2013

What's Cool?

So this year's CoolBrands Council's verdict is out.


Of the more than 10,000 contenders, Apple tops the coolest brand, at least in the UK, though it's not far from being the coolest globally. It's very timely that with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c last week and the new iOS 7, the Centre for Brand Analysis releases the list of 20 coolest brands.

Out of the 20, I own and use 9 of the brands (not an Aston Martin, silly), but I don't particularly feel they make me cool (I thought coolness rubs off?). In fact, my belief is if you own nearly 20 or all of them, you've bought so much into mainstream consumerism or you're spending too much time online, that makes you uncool.

That, or I'm just envious that I can't afford to have, use, and experience all of them.

 I think we can all agree that 'Cool' is subjective, personal, and open to interpretation. So when CoolBrands ran the online survey to 3,000 respondents, the concept of cool wasn't defined but rather, members of the public were asked to keep in mind the following guidelines when deciding what constitutes cool: style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability, and uniqueness. An 'expert council' composed of media, fashion, design, and entertainment personalities joined the polls. To see who they are, click here.

Here's my take on what makes a brand cool. 

  • Cool is apirational but not heavily influenced by popular culture or celebrity endorsements. Anything constantly and consistently thrust into the public consciousness to encourage mass consumption is uncool.

  • Cool is multifunctional, multifaceted, versatile, ergonomic, and time-saving. All-in-one makes less more.

  • Cool challenges the norm and deviates from mediocrity. Quality isn't compromised over quantity.

  • Cool is the alternative, especially when it's even better than the popular choice.

  • Cool doesn't ride the trends but sets it. It's even more cool when it ignores the trend.

  • Cool is understated yet still speaks volumes of it being covetable.

  • Cool is contrived, but looks effortless.

  • Cool doesn't make you feel you've been ripped off. Cool has its price justified by its intrinsic value.

  • Cool is not pretentious. It doesn't hide behind hype.

  • Cool is not a cliché. It always has something up its sleeve.

 Cambridge Satchel, Samsung, Instagram, Zumba, Lambhorgini, and Nespresso were just a few of the brands shortlisted. I have a Nespresso Magimix, I do Zumba, am getting fond of Instagram, and been thinking of replacing my Blackberry with a Samsung. While a Lambhorgini doesn't appeal to me as I associate it with some dumb footballers who are so far removed from the adjective classy, I thought Cambridge Satchel is one of the best bag brands that's recently been produced by the fashion world, mainly because the brand didn't really intend to hog the spotlight--and that alone makes the brand respectable. By the way, I'm not promoting them as  don't even have one, but it's now made my Chrismas wish list.

 Brands will be brands, but not all will cut the cool set, as judged by the public who purchase and use them. But we'll always have our own favourites.

What's your cool?


  1. 'Cool' is my little pup sashaying down the street in his favourite coat, thinking he owns the world. And he does - well, mine anyway!

    1. That's really cool, and I wanna see a photo of your little pup wearing a coat!

  2. Your definition is precisely why i don't think apple is cool! The problem is lately the cool brands aren't yet brands..!! I have to say I just glaze over when an apple evangelist tells me how cool apple is. makes me barf to be honest. although i like the ipad. I am having a hard time coming up with a cool brand off the top of my head to be fair!

    1. I don't have an iPhone, was never into it, and don't intend to buy one. I just don't like anything that everyone else would like to have just because. I have an iPad mini though and i'm very happy with it. I wouldn't describe it as cool, but it certainly is one of the best gadgets I've ever had. The other one was a Palm PDA (personal digital assistant, before public display of affection) which I had 13 years ago. I loved it! I think because gadgets were harder to come by before, it was just realy cool to have one. But nowadays, it's so common. Another cool gadget was a Walkman! Woohoo! x

  3. Yes, I agree with Coulda shoulda woulda, Apple is not cool. It used to be when it started out but now it just irritates me when I see their mediocre, overpriced products.

    From my point of view, certain people are way cooler than products. There's a girl who I work with who just exudes cool. She can cut the sleeves off a cheap T shirt and look incredible. I do it & look like a bag lady, lol!

    1. As I've said to CSW, I never even had an iPhone and most likely will never have one. But I do love my iPad mini. It's extremely useful!

      I agree with you that people (even ideas, places, etc) can be way cooler than brands,and in fact I had to edit this whole topic completely as I was defining cool in terms of people, and my focus really was on brands because that was the featured piece on the news. I think we're all not brand-conscious which is great! :)

  4. "Cool is understated yet still speaks volumes of it being covetable," yes that's exactly what I believe Marj. WHen I think a person is cool, it usually means that they don't even try ... effortless! Happy weekend dear! xx/Madison

  5. Being cool really comes naturally, whether it's a brand or a person. Maybe it's what they call an X factor? Happy weekend too! xx

  6. I am a huge fan of Apple! very interesting blog.. Elle

  7. I have quite a few of the brands mentioned in the list (no Aston Martin in my garage either) but they have been bought for a number of reasons, good quality being the main one. I love my Zumba class too and our Nespresso machine is the best gadget we have ever bought (useful, reliable and cool - even better!) I loved reading your cool definitions and agree especially with 'understated' and 'contrived but looks effortless.'

    1. Good quality goes a long way. And sometimes it doesn't even have to be expensive. Glad to know you enjoyed reading my take on what's cool, and that we agree on those you mentioned. Have a good weekend :)

  8. I completely agree with your points on what makes a brand cool, especially points 5,6, and 7. Those points are exactly what sways me to a brand and makes me respect a brand.

    I have 5 of the things from that top 20 list, but striving for quite a few more. Interesting that Twitter was the only one on there out of all the major social media channels (Insta, Facebook).

    I admire Julie Deane, the founder of Cambridge Satchel, for exactly the same reason as you said. To think the vision was just to sell to school children in Cambridge!! I love satchels, I have two as I think you know, but they are from the competitors Zatchels, simply because I prefer their designs, but from what I understand, what Zatchels did to Cambridge is just terrible, but I try not to think about it when I'm donning my Zatchels satchel.

    I hope you had a great weekend!

    1. I think because everyone's on Facebook (including our folks), it's not cool anymore. It was for the first ones who joined. Remember Friendster?
      Yep, seen your satchels before and CSW and I even thought of getting one because of that. I'm gonna have a look at Zatchels (where did the 'Z' come from??).
      Hope you're having a good start in the week. Got a headache now!

  9. Wait, yoga and french bulldogs didn't make this list?! :D

    1. The voters and panelists are probably not cool enough to do yoga and earn French bulldogs. Haha.


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