It has been a puzzle that business leaders have looked at for generations: how exactly are they supposed to make their brand cool? If they can achieve this successfully, it is going to be much more likely to appeal to a younger audience, as well as those that are young at heart. While there is no set formula for achieving ‘coolness’, there are a few things that you can try; we’ll look at a few below.
Come Up with Values and Stay Authentic
To begin with, all brands need values that will help people identify with their missions and what they have been created to achieve. This should be part of your initial business plan but can also evolve over time. Once you have decided what you stand for, you need to consider how you will promote this through your marketing activities. For example, if you want to target a younger audience, your values will ideally align with theirs. They may not match exactly, but there will always be social causes and ethics that the younger generation (always the most socially active and conscious) feel most strongly about and aligning yourself with those will help.
You must also remain true and authentic. The modern consumer is much savvier and more knowledgeable about when a brand is simply being fake, and you do not want to fall into this trap. If you are seen as simply jumping on the bandwagon and following whatever social cause is the latest to be most talked about, then you will not be taken seriously, and your behavior will disgust people.
You may even find that your company is boycotted as a result. Instead, you should have a clear ethics guide in your marketing and on your company website and let it rule your behavior. This also doesn’t mean you should ignore current topics – for instance, if you believe strongly in shelter for all, that doesn’t mean you should ignore any conversation about the environment or racism.
Think About the Visual Impact
One of the best ways you will be able to signal to the outside world that your brand is cool is to consider the visual impact of your brand closely. This starts with the initial logo and color scheme, but this then needs to extend across everything else in your brand universe. At the same time, you should consider what you are putting into the world. For example, any marketing materials that you can obtain from anthembranding.com need to reflect your brand values and your commitment to coolness.
The best way to do this is through research and talking to professional designers and graphic designers, particularly those close to the demographic you are trying to reach. You can also talk to your potential customers – show them what you currently have/look like and ask what they like and what they don’t, what would make them more likely to purchase from you. The reason to involve professionals here is because any changes or marketing need to be done subtlely.
You don’t want to have one aspect of your products marketed with glaringly bright colors if the rest aren’t, you will merely look like you are trying to sell – rather than start a relationship with a customer. Younger generations nowadays are very aware of how much companies try to sell to them and detest the impression of merely being a walking wallet.
Come Up with a Tone of Voice
While the visual impact of your brand is highly important, you do not want to miss out on how it is coming across from a written standpoint. This means that you should have a clear tone of voice that you can demonstrate across all of your activity – from your website to your social media posts. Ensure it matches what you are selling or attempting to put out into the world.
The more people interact with your brand, the more they will notice your tone of voice. You want to avoid using any terms incorrectly or throwing in a load of slang simply to ‘appeal to the youth’! This is only going to encourage people to ridicule your business and walk away. Again try to use people who are close to your target audience – even if it is to read over marketing materials and provide feedback rather than create the content in the first place.
Having a professional, friendly tone of voice is going to work much better than trying to insert a load of terms from the urban dictionary in an effort to seem, ‘look, we’re mates! Buy my stuff!’
Keep Connected to Your Target Market
The world is moving faster than it ever did in days gone by, and this is certainly true of many businesses. Therefore, you need to keep close connections with your target market as you otherwise may find that you are losing sight of them. In a world that is more packed with data than ever, you must ensure that you are making the most out of this. Use data analysis to find out which marketing campaigns worked and which didn’t.
Remember to always involve your target market in research, feedback and polling – they will tell you what they want, don’t assume that you will be able to guess – the world is changing too quickly for you to know what the lives of the younger generation are like, even if you’re just a few years older.
A company’s brand is its identity and its reputation; it is how a business can bring in new customers with its name alone. There are many reasons why a company might want to make their brand cool, and making your brand cool can feel like a tough ask at times, but if you develop a clear plan and maintain a great sense of consistency in your approach, you will get there in the end.
Get it even slightly wrong, and you’re doomed to be ridiculed by the people you want to impress and the rest of the industry. Once you’ve gained that reputation of being an old company trying to look ‘cool’, it’s very hard to come back from. So take your time to get it right and resist the temptation to jump on something just because its trending – unless you’re very sure you can get it right.