10 Commandments of Cool

It should come to no surprise that the brands we covet the most are also those so undeniably cool. The real question is how do these brands remain so timelessly cool? And how did they get there to begin with?

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Spray Paint Cans by Antonio Brasko 

1. “People Don’t Buy What You Do…They Buy Why You Do It.”                   Leadership Expert, Simon Sinek believes that the true leaders in the world are those that build their brand on the foundations of their existence. His viral Ted Talk explores the idea that the Apples, Nikes and M.L.Ks of the world are built on their vision as opposed to what they can do for you. If your brand cannot determine its roots, how can it grow naturally? Take notes from Nike, and just do it.

2. Act Small                                                                                                             According to Inc.’s recent article  “How to Create a Cool Brand,” brand experts, Partners & Spade (Warby Parker, Conde Nast & J.Crew) believe in order for brands to be cool they must not forget to ‘act small.’ Act small in your relationships and interactions with customers however big your company may be. One-on-one tailored dialogue via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ask yourself if you are approachable and realistically responsive. If not, try and get there. In this globalized economy, there is far too much convenience and competitors to act remote.

3. Create, Don’t Replicate                                                                                

Institute cool through dictating trends rather than following them. Imitating is easy, sourcing and creating the content isn’t always. This explains that saturation of bland and overrated brands while the trend setters are so far and few. Just because everyone doing it doesn’t mean you have to too. Be the brand everyone wants to be.

4. It’s All in the Details         

If you have yet to read CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso’s bestseller Girl Boss, you’ll thank us later. In crediting her success through her journey from a small vintage Ebay vendor to a multibillion dollar expansion, Sophia Amoruso thanks her obsessive attention to detail in building a brand worth $130 million on paper today. From selecting the ideal visual thumbnail for a specific garment or spending hours precisely translating the piece’s exact measurements, every tedious detail must be treated with true precision.

5. Give Back, It’s Nice to Be Nice                                                                       According to the Forbes article “Companies With the Best CSR Reputations,” global consulting firm Reputation Institute conducted a study that shows “your willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by your perceptions of the company and only 40% by your perceptions of the products or services it sells.” Brands are considered to have good CSR if they operate in at least one of the following; 1) support good causes and protect the environment 2) behave ethically and transparent in its business interactions 3) an appealing place to work by treating its employees well. Over the past 3 years, Google donated over $353 million in grants globally, $3 billion in free ads, apps and products, and it’s employees invested 6,200 total days volunteering for nonprofits, while continuing to take number 1 in best place to work because frankly, it’s cool to care. 

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6. It’s Cool to Collaborate  Musician, producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams is the epitome of cool. Amidst selling over millions of records during his 20 year career, Pharrell is easily the busiest man in business, always managing to produce masterpieces. If it’s Daft Punk’s 2013 Random Access Memories album, collaborating his Bionic Yarn company with GStar Raw to develop a sustainable line composed of littered plastics from the ocean, joining the Voice to champion and train untapped artists or his upcoming Moonrise Jungle World Tour with Bruno Mars, whatever Pharrell gets his hands on, you bet it’ll be the next big thing. Team up or loose out. 

7. Give the People What They Want                                                                

Keep the customer in your vantage point in all ways – always. From R&D and product innovation, managing manufacturing costs, product accessibility, selection of distributors, and most importantly experience and after-sale rapport, keep the customer’s needs at the forefront of these decisions. Let the customer rule.

8. Build High Performance      

You wouldn’t believe how many companies create products that aren’t worth the hype or worse, aren’t even worth the buy. It’s important to have high-performing superstar products or an unparalleled service. There are high customer acquisition costs and even higher reacquisition costs in today’s globalized economy with such a hyper-saturation of brands and substitute alternatives. First impressions are everything, so make it a cool one.

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9. Experience Without A Shelf Life                       Try not to cave into tapping solely into temporary trends with a short life-cycle. If you are here to stay, build your brand to be multi-dimensional without capitalizing on just one social fad. Avoid being the Myspaces, Napsters and Dells of the world. Facebook sees the need to stay relevant while it experiences its growth stage in the social media industry by acquiring gems like Instagram and virtual reality leader Occulus, rather than falling by the waste side once they near their tipping point. Adapt to stay cool, because nothing lasts forever. 

10. Be the Brand You Want to Follow                                                                

Ask yourself, would you follow your brand on social media? Would you want to work for you? Cool comes from within. Establish your cool factor and they will come to you.

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