What is “Cool”?
When trying to decide how to best market a certain product or service to a group of people, one question that I imagine would come up pretty often is “what is cool?” The answer to this question can either make or brake the possible success of a campaign.
Every group has a different opinion on what is cool so answering this questions gets to be difficult to pinpoint. What deems something cool? When I was in a business class in high school, I remember watching a PBS Frontline documentary entitled The Merchants of Cool which discussed just that. The focus was on the teen generation, which seems to be the hardest to understand. Companies such as the one featured, Look-Look make this research their main service. Although the focus of this documentary was primarily on teens, the search for what is cool comes up in every generation, race, gender and group that a company would like to market to.
How do companies discover what is “cool”?
Market research seems to be the most popular method. This includes not only surveys and focus groups, but shop-a-longs, one-on-one interviews and observation, to say the least. From this, countless companies are able to learn how to best get on the “inside” with their market. But, I am pretty sure the best way is to be immersed in the group you are learning about and be one of the followers or even a leader of what is cool.
What brought upon my idea for this post was a conversation I had with my uncle just recently. We were talking about how Facebook is considered “cool” now yet Myspace, which used to be is no longer “cool”. Why is that? Yes, we have already talked about how Myspace turned into the place for pre-teens, pedophiles and musicians (thats all I hear when people discuss Myspace). But, what does that mean for Facebook? Isn’t Facebook headed down the same path? Especially with pre-teens and now even adding the one thing that seems to put a damper on coolness…parents. Why is Facebook still doing so well? Are we all just waiting for the next thing to jump on? How is Facebook still “cool” even with all this? Or, am I wrong? Is Facebook no longer “cool”?