6 Rules of Cool
Coolness is first and foremost an attitude. But it’s also a seal of approval, a hallmark of ‘good taste’ and a savvy way to elevate your status. It's even wired in our brain.
Both brands as well as consumers are on the hunt for that which is constantly changing, as if it were a Holy Grail. And there's a neuroscientific explanation for it. Steven Quartz and Annette Asp, neuroscience researchers at the California Institute of Technology, ran several fMRI studies on the brains of people looking at items that a distinct group identified as ‘cool’ or ‘uncool.’
Just viewing these objects already activated a distinct part of the subjects’ brains, which is called the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). It’s the part that is involved in social emotions, such as pride and embarrassment, which indicates how we perceive ourselves and how we believe others perceive us. As such, it has strong ties to the brain’s reward and disgust circuits.
Cool is a strange kind of societal value that our brain automatically ties to products, looks and skills that can help enhance our social image. Social approval, reputation, esteem and status play a central role in our motivation and behaviour. In fact, it is the prime currency that drives much of our economy and our consumption.
So cool is about more than wearing the latest fads and cycling through the streets on fancy city bikes. Rather it’s about attitudes and behaviours through which individuals can shape the world around them the way they wish to do so. When it has for instance become cool to share opinions on social media sites, rather than submitting pictures that project a ‘my life is so perfect’ image, more and more people are inclined to tune in on news bulletins. Cool as such can serve as a catalyst of cultural change.
The immense pace with which cultural changes are evolving though, has made it close to impossible for many companies to keep up, let alone create an appealing culture of their own, as marketing and advertising agencies have done for so long. That's why we're here for you. Order your copy of our latest Youth Trend Report Browsing The Margin in our shop, or give us a shout!