I read an interesting article in Fast Company on the outsourcing of cool. The article states that “Big companies are outsourcing “cool” to nimbler, closer-to-the-ground outsiders. They might as well farm out their souls.” According to the article, the primary driver of this outsourcing of cool is risk avoidance from company insiders. While I agree with this assessment, I think another driver is that it is easier to defend an outsider’s work and not appear defensive.
This article got me thinking about the role of cool in my marketing efforts. I am often so quantitative that I don’t spend enough time focusing on less tangible things like having a “cool” brand. But is cool really important? Absolutely. A cool brand gives you loyal customers who become product evangelizers. Part of their identity becomes association with using a cool product. Why wouldn’t they talk about something that in a transitive way makes them cool?
Unfortunately you can’t measure cool – heck you can barely define it. Also, cool for one target user segment may be totally uncool for another segment. All of these things make the pursuit of cool a tough endeavor. Still, with or without outsiders, “cool” is a worthy quest.