Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Democratization of ´Cool´ or How Tech & Media Are Taking Over From Luxury Brands

Yesterday's publication of the top 20 cool brands in the UK serves as a useful barometer for assessing the changing preferences of British consumers.

50% of brands in this list can be classified as media and technology; and with the exception of Bang&Olufsen all of these are broadly mass market. This signals a change from last year when the rankings were dominated by luxury brands that accounted for 50% (primarily in the fashion and car categories.

I disagree with Stephen Cheliotis of CoolBrands who views this difference as a product of austere economic climate. Brand attribute 'cool' is an indicator of aspiration rather than sales; it does not correlate to what the consumers actually use. It's not like all those Chanel and Dom Perignon consumers decided to take their custom to Twitter and BBC iPlayer instead.

Rather, the new top 20 show that what we aspire and look up to is changing. Conspicuous 'bling' is beginning to lose it's appeal; the most successful people and businesses show off their status by refusing to play by the rules. Think Mark Zuckerberg in a hoodie at conferences or Google's offices decked out with boats in which to hold meetings. Flashing luxury brands is increasingly seen as something that status-seekers (not status-holders) do.

Instead, we now look up to the exciting and buzzing tech world, which (rightly or wrongly) is perceived as innovative, irreverent, democratic, fun and informal. This is a long way off from the exclusive (and to some - arrogant) world of Rolex and Maserati.

Tech and media brands enable consumers become 'cool' by being in the know and using them discerningly. 'Cool' is becoming more difficult to buy on Sloane Street or Park Lane. 

In conclusion: technology has democratised what it means to be 'cool'. We should be a lot less surprised.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the inspiration, I'll add that when we consider Health & Wellness the ultimate luxury, Tech has a lot space to grow. I just posted "How Technology enables Luxury Democratization" I http://buff.ly/2jObZ2K  A