So, after thinking about what brands I admire most, I began to think about different brands attributes. For example, Coca-Cola is known as a very classic and timeless brand as well as a symbol of Americana.
One attribute that kept coming up in my mind was "cool." So, I began to wonder what brands today are "cool." Obviously, what is and who is deemed cool is going to be different everyone, so the following list is viewed through the eyes and mind of a 24 year-old, single, male, college graduate who loves sports etc etc etc)
One quality that I felt all of these cool brands should have is a buzz worthy cultural relevance today, an inexact quality I know. I tend to think about it in terms of would it be the subject of a parody on Saturday Night Live. Finally, I did not organize this by product category or any other characteristic. It's just my thoughts.
Apple: I don't know too many people that would disagree with Apple being the hottest brand today. No company markets themselves like Apple, starting from the top with Steve Jobs to down to the kid at the Apple store. Apple products are cool, cutting edge and transforming societies in developed nations. The impact Apple has had on the music industry alone is enormous, not to mention the incredibly short time frame it occurred in is staggering. I'm not positive that several other industries are waiting for their fatal blow (Are you listening newspapers?), but the Iphone is rapidly changing our society (thanks to the embracing of third party apps-creating new opportunities for brands). Finally, all of this would mean nothing if Apple products were not as sleek, smooth and stylish as the are. They look cool. Period. How else could Apple go from the brands of geeks and computer nerds to the must have items of today.
Las Vegas: I am always thinking about ways for Western NY to grow and become more vibrant. While I don't think that branding efforts and advertising by cities will really work to bring people to the area unlike jobs and lower taxes will (note: currently the slogan is We Roc! As in, we have garbage plates and no rush hour, We Roc! Now don't you want to up and move). However, if there is one exception to branding a city, it has to be Las Vegas. Broken dreams or not, to a 24 year-old male, Las Vegas seems like a great time. Las Vegas sticks to what it knows best, gambling, hot girls, great parties, free alcohol, nice restaurants and shopping and an overall unmistakably unique great time. The best part for Vegas is you cannot take it home with you...hence, it stays here. I thought about Vegas and their marketing tactics and their cultural relevance. Have you seen a movie in the past ten years. I can count six without thinking that have been about Vegas (or were set there). It's not a mistake; they know what they are doing, and it's working.
UFC: Last night I was flipping through the channels on my television's guide and I saw a program called World Extreme Cagefighting on. A week or two back I went to a bar and it was unexpectedly packed, turns out there was some cagefight on. That same week, my brother was wearing a shirt that said "Tapout" on it, which I'd seen before on bumper stickers and stuff, so I asked what it was about and it was a UFC thing. I've seen more UFC and Mixed Martial Arts specials, conversations and references on television lately, so it's gaining a lot of mainstream buzz and acceptance than in the past (remember way back when it was depicted on the show Friends). Even thought I don't watch it, I know many guys my age do, and that following is growing. Now fighting is nothing new, but UFC seems to have a cool edginess to it that is not only absent from boxing, but all other contact sports.
I know this is not a complete list by any means. I thought about a lot of brands for this, many of whom are in very strong competitions for king of cool. Think Gatorade vs. Vitaminwater. Gatorade still is the brand of Jordan, Tiger Woods and new spokesmen Lil' Wayne. However, Vitaminwater is the product of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
Another great competition is Nike vs. Under Armor. I don't think that Nike is as hot as it was when Jordan and Mars Blackmon were all over the television, yet, with all of it's new product lines there are not as many people "protecting the house." Both are still relevant, but there is no clear winning of who is coolest right now.
Finally, I thought about a brand battle between long time great brand Playboy, which is still very relevant with it's magazine covers producing celebrity after celebrity and now a couple television series (and tell me you don't want to go to the mansion) yet it's clearly not dominating like it was before Maxim magazine hit shelves and television with it's Hot 100 list.
As always, I love to hear what you think are some cool brands to you. Remember, this is just a list in the eyes of a 24 year-old male. For women, I was thinking that Target is a cool selection. After all, it's so nice that it's become dubbed Tarje. If your in the Rochester area (even though it's grown quite a bit, Wegmans may be queen. And although cool is usually defined by the young, if your older, maybe cool is oh, I don't know, Viagra?
So take some blue stuff and let me know what you think.