Design is Intelligence Made Visual
Store Rebranding 101

The "Cool" Factor

Selling “cool” can garner a cult following, repeat business, and free social media advertising from your clientele ”if” all the stars are perfectly aligned. So how does a business go about creating the “cool” factor?

Businesses that are genuinely “cool” don’t have to try and those that try to be “cool” generally aren't. So what defines “cool?”

Although there are many examples in the retail are a few that make the cut and a few that don’t.

Adidas VS Skechers, Vans VS Journeys, Milkbar VS 31 Flavors, Target VS Walmart, Instagram VS Facebook and so on. All these businesses offer similar products in the same market space but are viewed very differently.


What can we do to make our businesses “cooler” than the one down the street? There isn’t one tried and true formula to create the “cool factor” for your business (too bad right?) However; there are some best practices to get your business into the “cool” zone. According to a study from the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, there are four characteristics of a cool product which is often also applied to businesses: :
• It's fresh and new
• It's fun
• It provides meaning (i.e., makes you feel happy or fulfilled)
• It is recommended and used by a shared community (i.e., "people like us")

After polling several clients, friends, and family on what they thought was cool…there were definite similarities with the aforementioned study from MIT. There were a couple of additional add ons that I found very telling.

Customer service was very important in creating a “cool” vibe. More importantly the customer wants to feel “inclusive” in this cool venture, product, or store. No matter how many tattoos, piercings, hair colors… clients don’t want to feel they’re being watched for being themselves and also want to feel that they matter to this business.

Offering top notch customer service and making them feel special goes a long way. Years ago when I was in Women’s corporate retail fashion, I would keep a notebook with the clients information and history we had discussed when they were in last. This allowed me to reconnect with them quickly the next time they were in the store. My returning clients immediately felt comfortable and at ease with me and it was much easier selling them a $2500 spring wardrobe because they knew I was familiar with them and had their best interest in mind.

When checking out your clients at the register, remember to revisit a topic that was important to them. Example; “How was your wedding?” “Did you get that job you were excited about?” “Did Bella like her new food?” This makes a client feel that they are not just another “number” and they matter to your business.

What’s the last and most important descriptor in creating a “cool” factor for your store or product? Passion! Yup, that’s what I said, passion! People are naturally attracted to passion! Think about it…when you hear someone speaking passionately about a subject matter (even if you don’t care about it) it’s very intriguing. You are more likely to perk up and pay attention if someone is very excited about a certain product or business.

On the other hand… if you walk into a business and everyone in the store looks like they’d rather be somewhere else… this can be a major turn off! Don’t be shy to share your passion about your business with your clients! I can’t tell you how many clients tell me how much they enjoy seeing the growth of my business through the past 12+ years. This would not be possible without the passion I have for it.

Now it’s your turn… share your passion with your clients and you’ll be well on your way to creating a “cool” factor for you, your staff, and most importantly the people who fund your business… your clients! Until next time… Happy Retailing! XOXO, Leel Michelle


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