Geek is the new chic, say brand experts

Only three of the UK’s top 10 coolest brands are not facing the technology, gaming or communication industries, suggesting geek is the new chic.

Despite the influx of gadgets and their makers into what experts and consumers now see as the most stylish identities, car manufacturer Aston Martin is still the UK’s most adored brand.

The luxury vehicle maker beat off stiff competition from iPod (2nd), YouTube (3rd) and Bang and Olufsen (4th) to take first place in a Coolbrands poll, published by Superbrands yesterday.

A closer look beyond the top 10 brands, which includes Google (5th), PlayStation (6th), Apple (7th) and Nintendo (9th), reveals a divergence between aspiration and practicality.

On the one hand, consumers and brand experts look up to brands that are prevalent in their lives or even ubiquitous – like Google, iTunes (19th) and (20th).

On the other hand, long-standing brands that for many are unobtainable are also highly regarded – like Ferrari, (11th) Rolex (14th) and fashion giant Prada (16th).

Interestingly for marketers, the coolest brands are all known to shun or, at the least, shy away from aggressive or explicit advertising, marketing or promotions, suggesting cool can’t be bought.

And at a time when nations increasingly want to improve their brand identity, the poll reveals that European cities are losing out, says the research based on 2,000 consumers and 26 brand gurus.

Italy is the only European country to make the top 100 – ranking in a hard-to-boast about 65th place, with the new ‘cool’ destinations reserved for Japan, Australia and Brazil.

But London still appeals: its Tate Modern is the only brand in the top 20 that people can visit; suggesting its innovative exhibitions and trove of contemporary art strongly resonates with consumers.

Organisers of the poll said today’s top twenty coolest brands reflect consumers’ changing needs, wants and interests.

The judging panel of experts, who whittled down consumers top brands, included leading brand consultants, journalists, designers, TV presenters, playwrights and creative directors.


13th September 2007

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