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The Power of Cool

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The word “cool” dates back almost 100 years. According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, tenor saxophonist Lester Young popularized the term in jazz circles in the late 1920’s.

“Cool tune baby. I dig it,” he’d say.

And that was that. People knew exaclty what he meant. Because if someone described a song or a person or a bar as “cool,” that was enough information to communicate value.

Little did The King of Cool know that his expression would become an essential element to the success of modern marketing. Because the truth is: customers love, remember and spread the word about companies, ideas and products that are COOL.

So maybe you should ask yourself:

Is your company cool?
Is your product cool?
Is your idea cool?
Are you cool?

As you ponder your answers, let’s look at a few examples that personify The Power of Cool.

Keep It Real
In November of 2005, an NBC station from Washington ran the following story:

“A new and unique store-front is attracting a lot of attention and stopping people dead in their tracks. All the commotion is over a store choosing to put live models in the window to show off diamond jewelry. The models spend six hours a day posing and prancing to lure customers into Mervis Jewlers.

‘You gotta take a double take. At first, I thought it was a model, a mannequin, and then she starts moving and you think, Oh my God!’ said one of the shocked onlookers. ‘I’m likely to spend the next hour standing here.’”

Wow. That’s cool. Even if it is a bit extreme. But think about it: Do new customers spend unexpected hours at your store? What about on your website? And what if they did? How could that add more value to your business?

COOL CLUE #1: Write down three ways you could you captivate your customers’ attention with something cool.

Take That, Spam!
Every year, Fortune magazine announces its annual List of Cool Companies. In 2004, a San Francisco company called Brightmail caught my attention. Here’s why...

According to the article, Brightmail operates some two million decoy e-mail addresses that it uses to attract spam. Once its Probe Network lures a spammer into its web, it transmits kill-that-address information to its customers.

Now THAT’S cool. Especially for website owners like myself who get more Viagra spam than Hugh Heffner.

But all kidding aside, this company, Brightmail, is SO cool, that Fortune referenced it in an article. Which brings us to an interesting question: Is your product or company SO cool that it might someday be used as an example in an article? And what if it was? How could that enhance your reputation?

COOL CLUE #2: Read a business magazine and ask yourself, “Is my company cool enough to be featured in next month’s issue?”

Dude, No Way!
Since 2000, I’ve told approximately 3-5 inquiring people a day that “I wear a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier and more approachable.” And in all those years, the most frequent response has been, “Dude, no way! That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard!”

What’s more, these same people will get back to me days, weeks, months, even years later and say: “Hey Scott! I told my friends about your nametag idea and they think it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever heard!”

Wow, thanks! I say.

This is the type of conversation I’ve had hundreds of times since I started my business. And I can attribute I-don’t-know-how-many books sold, speeches booked or new relationships created as a result. So the point is: this is the type of dialogue you must strive to create between your customers. Because ultimately, cool creates two emotions in customers’ minds:

1) It makes your idea UNFORGETTABLE
2) It makes your idea UNCONCEALABLE

Yes, that last word I made up. But stay with me here, because this is how “unconcealable” works:

On the way back from lunch, a potential customer hears something cool about your business. He thinks to himself, “Dude, no way!” When he gets back to the office, he hops on Google, types in a few key words; then arrives at your website. He reads all about you, your business and your idea; all the while nodding his head, smiling and thinking to himself, “This is SO cool.”

Then he sends an email to everyone in his office with a subject heading that looks like this: “You’ve got to check out this company’s website!” Finally, that afternoon you get a dozen new orders from people who, prior to getting a random email that day, had no idea who you were.

But now, they do. And now they’re your fans, not just your customers. All because of some guy who thought you were SO cool, that he just HAD to tell everyone.

Unconcealable. Write that one down.

So...WHAT IF your company/idea/product was SO cool that your customers just HAD to tell someone else about it? Would that change your opinion on the value of word of mouth?

COOL CLUE #3: What can you do tomorrow to make one of your customers say, “Dude, no way!”?

The Power of Cool
In the past week, you’ve probably uttered the phrase “Hey…that’s cool!” at least five times. And whether you were talking about a TV show, soft drink, health club, website or non-profit organization; there was obviously something that caught your attention.

So, in your quest to become cool (or increase your present coolness), it’s important to do two things. First of all, pay attention to instances in which you or the people around you comment on cool stuff. Listen attentively. Note the commonalities. Keep a Cool Journal if you want! Anything that will give you insight into the properties of coolness.

Secondly, make it your new business objective to do cool stuff more often. I know it sounds silly, but if you seriously consider it, it really does work wonders for your brain and your bottom line. For example, every day before work I affirm to myself, “Today I am going to do something cool!” And every night when I finish up, I think back on the day and ask myself, “Ok, now: what cool thing did I do today?”

Give it a shot. Make an effort to harness The Power of Cool. Make Lester Young smile down from The Great Bandstand In The Sky and say, “Cool tune baby. I dig it.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Honestly: are you cool? is your company cool? are your ideas cool?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Keep a cool journal. At the end of every day, write down things you saw that were cool, people you met who were cool, and stuff you did that was cool. Do it with a partner. Every month, get together and compare notes. If you want, I'd be happy to be your partner. Just email me!

© 2006 All Rights Reserved.


About the Author

Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of three books and a professional speaker who helps people maximize approachability, become unforgettable and make a name for themselves. To book Scott for your next association meeting, conference or corporate event, contact Front Porch Productions at 314/256-1800 or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-11-08 23:32:47 in Marketing Articles

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