For Brands, Being Cool Is As Hot As Sex

From Fast Company:

We all know why sex sells, but coolness? It’s mercurial, ethereal, and hard to measure. So why does everyone care so much about it?

The decision was made–and then made headlines across the globe.

In the U.K.’s high court, Judge Colin Birss presided over Apple’s fight with Samsung, in which Apple claimed Samsung’s Galaxy tablet was way too similar to its iPad. The judge disagreed. In his ruling he said that the Galaxy “does not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.” And then came three little words that reflect one of the biggest, most powerful ideas in business. The Judge declared that the Galaxy is “not as cool” as the iPad.

Now Apple is a brand that’s been considered cool from the moment the first Macintosh was introduced in 1984. Cool is something every technology brand in the world aspires to be. BlackBerry and Nokia would pay millions to be associated with the trait, if only they could. So would shoe makers, car manufacturers, clothing labels, and probably every celebrity on the planet. Cool is–and has been for some time–the hottest word in branding, and every brand wants a piece of it.

Cool is also mercurial, ethereal, and hard to measure. That hasn’t stopped a group of psychologists from conducting a three-part research study investigating the essence of coolness. The results of their investigation were surprising. But first, let’s take a step back in time.

Values, which serve as a kind of architectural framework, underpin a brand. This keeps the brand solid and consistent. In other words, a brand is a little like a person you form a trusting relationship with; you rely on it to perform.

In their search to be cool, brands often aspire to align their values with well-known personalities. In the 1990s, Madonna was all the rage (really, check out the below vid for a few reasons why). “We want to stand for what she stands for,” were the words on the lips of every marketing executive I spoke with. Back then, she was less preoccupied with staying young, and more focused on making interesting dance music and compelling, sexy videos. She was cool.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Fast Company