A new study from Datamonitor has revealed that Britons are willing to pay a premium to be 'cool'. Image conscious consumers are increasingly seeking brands that support their lifestyles- with alcoholic drinks, fragrances and make-up the products most likely to have an impact on the 'cool' consumer.
According to the report, 60% of industry experts agree that coolness is becoming important for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) as consumers increasingly use brands to express their lifestyles.
Cool tools impact on the market
The myth that coolness is only important for products such as clothing and fashion accessories has been exploded. Research has shown that the influence of coolness is spreading to the CPG sector and influencing consumers' purchasing habits, whereas in the past, drinks companies promoted the cool and refreshing qualities of drinks, in today's society consumers want a brand which fits into a wider culture of cool. The rise of glossy magazines, celebrity reality shows, and celebrity male grooming have all had an impact on making the consumer more aware of products which can enhance their image.
Not just for the kids
Contrary to popular belief, coolness is relevant to consumers of all ages. Older consumers still want to be in touch with younger generations and certain products allow them to develop a cool image, fit in with their peer group while not compromising their maturity. While younger consumers look to celebrities to define 'cool', young adults and early mid-lifers want products that are unique, stylish and innovative. Individuality not imitation is most important for this group. A cool brand is rarely all things to all people as coolness is created in the hearts of consumers.
The Sprite Urban Games illustrates how brands can use an events experience to enhance their coolness. A Freesport event combines the worlds of fashion, sport, lifestyle and music and provides a means of developing a cool brand image among younger consumers.
The brand needed to re-think its strategy to create more credibility among the "edgers" or opinion leaders, the key influencers in setting trends. Sprite hired an urban youth consultant to gain greater insight into the group they wanted to target. The company also exploited popular trends in urban culture by launching cans designed by urban artists, sporting a graffiti-style logo and supporting a Skate Support Program to improve local skate parks.
However, marketers need to exercise caution when trying to inject the cool factor. Attempting to 'force fit' a brand can have a negative effect and weaken brand identity. Companies should avoid sponsoring events and creating links with celebrities that do not fit with their brand image as consumers increasingly see through attempts by companies to gain coolness through association. Consciously marketing a product as cool misses the point entirely and is actually uncool. Consumers are becoming more aware of marketing spin so the products need to provide added functional value in addition to a 'cool' image.