cool website design and brandingWhat is it with brands trying to manufacture cool these days? You couldn’t exactly do it in 5th grade, why do you think you can do it now?

Recently, Pizza Hut has tried it with sort-of changing their name to “The Hut”, Radioshack did the same move by sort-of rebranding to “The Shack” (I say sort-of because officially both companies denied a full name change), and Microsoft’s leaked retail concept is heavily Apple store inspired.

What do all of these examples have in common? They are trying to manufacture cool. After all, when did you ever think of these brands as cool? Pizza Hut dining experience cool? Please.

We’ve been seeing that most of the feedback from these examples has been negative. It’s easy to say they are mistakes, because its clear that the brand is trying too hard. The advertising spin and copycat models that try to cover up real problems are so transparent it hurts. Relax. You don’t have to be a cutting edge company to be cool. Look at office supply company W.B. Mason. How can you do it?

1. Have Genuine Passion

No one likes a company that does something half-assed. Be passionate about what you do, even if its selling paper-clips, and do it fanatically well. Chances are, your community is just as passionate as you are.

2. Know Your Brand

Passion usually doesn’t show up in companies that don’t have a solid knowledge of who they are, what they do, and how they fit in to the marketplace. Pizza Hut and Radioshack both come to mind. Know exactly who you are, what you do, and own your spot with meaningful value.

3. Have Fun

I always love brands that poke a little fun at themselves, and aren’t afraid to lighten up. Being cool is being relaxed and not trying too hard.

In short: Be genuine, have passion, know your brand, and don’t be afraid to have fun.

PS. Have you seen the very cool offer from Metropolis to help keep your brand coolness in check? Click here.