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?