CoolBrands has recently released its Official top 20 list of the coolest brands in Britain. The full report may be found here.
Every year, an Expert Council of 36 influential individuals is convened and a shortlist of roughly 1,500 brands are scored as to how cool they appear to the council member. These brands are also scored by a population of 2,500 British adults. Neither group is offered a definition of cool, but is asked to consider 1) authenticity, 2) desirability, 3) innovation and 4) originality.
This year, the top 20 brands were listed as follows:
One is struck immediately by the impressive spectrum of brands featured; indeed, attempting to decipher this list for notable trends and correlations is also interesting. The age gap between the (estimated) youngest brand (Instagram) and the oldest (Harley Davidson) is roughly 107 years, with no clear increase or decrease in age as you move through the list. The average age of the brands is 41 years old; a figure which appears to shed equally little light on the concept of coolness in a brand.
There appears also to be little correlation between the ranking of the brand and it’s estimated monetary value. Apple takes the top spot in both financial value and coolness, however, only 2 other brands of the top 20 most financially valuable brands have found their way into the present ranking.
A final observation concerns the actual nature of the brands; 11 are associated with consumer facing goods, 6 with online service providers, 2 with home entertainment and the final brand is a music festival. Seeing the brands side by side reminds one that the requirements of coolness are dependant on the nature of the goods in question; recklessness may be a cool connotation for a skateboard, but is unlikely so for a seat belt. Coolness, then, is dependant on the consumer. Taken further, one might reasonably assume that certain goods lend themselves to being uncool, whilst others are inherently cooler.
The take home message from this ranking, then, is unlikely to be that BMW, Louis Vuitton and Mercedes Benz need to enlist the assistance of a Director of Coolness. Rather, the list serves as a reminder that the requirements and recognition of being cool are as difficult to define as the term itself.