Are you cool?
Posted by Becky Carroll on May 7, 2007
Peter Kim posted this past week about the idea of Chasing Cool. He references a book by that name written by two very smart businessmen, Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman. Peter says this about his own experiences with companies trying to “chase cool”:
I’ve been lucky enough to see cool from two perspectives, working at two brands in the footwear industry on opposite sides of the fence. One was cool. The other was chasing it desperately. The problem with the latter is captured perfectly in the quote above the image at left. The secret of the former was its authenticity.
I agree with Peter that authenticity in a brand and in its employees is very cool. Customers can always smell when you aren’t being authentic (like in another one of Peter’s posts on J.P. Morgan Chase and Co and doing what’s wrong for the customer).
What really makes a company cool? Flashy advertising? Customer-generated commercials? The use of social media? A strong youth following of a consumer product?
In my opinion, what makes a company cool is when it delivers what its customers are looking for. Companies that are highly in-tune with their customers build great two-way relationships with them over time. Customers start to share how cool that company is because it treats them the way they want to be treated. They are “customers rock!” companies.
Think about companies that are “cool”. Apple with its iPod is cool not because they have a strong following of the young and young-at-heart. Apple made it easy, really easy for customers to download their music.
What do your customers want to do with your products and services? Are you meeting their needs? If you don’t know your customers well enough to answer that question, then all the social media in the world isn’t going to make you cool. You most likely will fall into that “uncool” category when you can’t be authentic because you don’t know your customers. Start the customer conversation, get to know them and their needs, and be on your way to cool!