The Integrated Cool Culture
Shared by Another Idea from HEILBrice Monday, October 26, 2009

Is your brand fun? Do your consumers love being associated with your brand? Do they have a sense of pride when they talk about your product or service? If so, congratulations! If not, this post is for you.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who works for Apple Inc. I inquired to why he likes to talk about his job so frequently, to which he had an obvious answer, “Everyone knows about the iPod, and if you have one, you are cool, but if you can say you work for the company who invented the iPod, that’s a whole new level of cool.” Our conversation took an interesting turn as he continued, “No one really likes to say they work for a brand no one likes, and people certainly don’t go around telling their friends about a less than amazing product they’ve just bought. It’s like you’re not cool if you openly associate with those brands.” I realized that what he was saying was incredibly simple, but entirely true.

It’s true what they say, high school never ends. When I was in high school, the most important thing a person could do to be cool was associate with cool people. Brands aren’t much different. If you are seen with the latest custom Nike’s – you’re cool. If your Facebook profile proclaims to the world that you are a fan of USC, George Clooney, Kashi, iPods, and SmartWater, you just gained cool points. If you associate with top financial companies and have an account with one of Wall Street’s best brokers, people will notice that. Within the social media landscape, others will judge you in the same way that they did in high school, by who you choose to associate with.

Niche brands won’t have a hard time accomplishing this, but what about more generic brands? While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, comprehensive cross-media content and integrated delivery platforms are a good place to start. In the past, it was possible to build an effective TV or print campaign that could stand on its own. But that’s not the case anymore. While TV, radio, print, and direct pieces still hold an important role, these efforts can be optimized if they are full integrated into interactive mediums. It’s not just about getting a magazine reader to go visit your website either, it’s about getting web users to seek out your TV spot, or find the ad in the newspaper. The more interactive and connected all the pieces are, the more interesting the campaign and the more captivated your targets will become.

Maybe you don’t make iPods, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be part of the cool culture that people right now are talking about. Try investigating the recent campaign done by the California Milk Processor Board. It’s milk, not iPods, but the cool factor is there – one that I am tempted to become a fan of on Facebook.