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Thursday, September 20

The Hidden Rules of Coolfacture 1

Read a very interesting and academic article on the subject of Cool in the Knowledge@Wharton series(also covered in the Brand Equity yesterday)...

Some gleanings from the same mashed-up with a couple of my own home grown observations on this very interesting area of 'Cool manufacture'...

1. New research(from the Wharton studies) provides insight into how consumers use products to signal membership in social groups, but swiftly abandon those same products when the original message is diluted as other groups co-opt the trend.

Most visible in fashion perhaps...

2. People make inferences about others based on the products they buy, and when lots of similar people adopt a product, it can gain meaning as a social signal.

3. The Internet with it's 24X7 connectivity makes the signaling process faster, product trends can explode across mass markets more rapidly than ever before. At the same time, the enormity of those markets can also turn off the original customer base quickly.

This has implications for youth brands. Every marketer wants to do a 'cool viral' these days. But we must understand that our product/ product category must be amenable to a 'cool' communication. Plus there is always the danger of over-doing it...

Coolfacture is an art which the likes of Steve Jobs have perfected. It does not follow mass market rules.

The recent Pepsi commercial with both SRK and John Abraham is a nice, entertaining ad. Better than the average stuff Pepsi generates these days. But it may not be cool for the edgy youth!!

4. 'Cool variants'. Today, cool may come in many variants. 'Desi cool' for the masses, 'Global cool' for the classes. 'Cross-over cool'. And each market may be substantially different from the other.

Going forward Indian and Asian brands need to re-interpret the definition of cool.
While 'Coolfacture' might never become an exact science, its good to generate some rules when dealing with the youth categories....These are interesting times. All old tight-definitions need to be re-looked and over-hauled!

1 comment:

Satish Krishnamurthy said...

Hey Manish, interesting thoughts. In today's world, cool is so fleeting. The minute you think something is cool, its cool no more. Here's a classic documentary on Cool made by PBS for its Frontline show http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/view/
I think it captures the essence of how marketers manufacture cool. Take a look at it. I'm sure it might trigger some more brilliant thoughts :)