How to Crank Up Your Startup’s Rock Star Cool Factor

You can easily name the brands that have this cool thing down pat right off the tips of your tongues. But what are the common threads they all share? And how do you start applying those elements, right now, to your own startup?

And Just Why The Heck Does Your Startup Need to Be Cool?

“I’ve never been cool and I don’t really care about being cool. It’s just an awful lot of time and hair gel wasted.” – Chris Martin

Why should you even care about your startup being cool?

Let’s get something out of the way real quick: Startup Cool Factor is not just surface. It’s as much of a pillar for your business as funding. Or a guru-level team.
Why? Because it’s a big ol’ arrow in your startup’s quiver – for building customer loyalty, drawing in top-notch talent and attracting investors who’ll eagerly cram their wallets into your hands. They all expect cool.
And just what the hell is cool, anyway?
Let’s break it down:

What Cool Is… and What It Ain’t

It’s partly a you-know-it-when-you-see it sorta thing. It’s the difference between, say, Doctor Who rockin’ a polka-dotted bow tie and your old History professor, well… looking like a bit of a stuffy ol’ fart. Harrumph!
It’s what makes people line up around the block camping out for days, smelling like pee, just to buy the latest Apple product the day it comes out.
So sure. Cool may be your sizzlin’ hot new product design. And all that insane talent on your team. Yeah, it’s your brand voice. And those poofy beanbags in your conference room and the vintage pinball machine in the lobby.

Yep. It’s all those things.
But even if we tally all that up, it isn’t the full story. Can’t help but think of that famous parable of the blind wise men trying to describe an elephant. Each described a part of the pachyderm, but they all missed the whole.
And it’s all about the whole picture, folks.

  1. Authenticity

Good news! Woo! Cool starts with who you already are.

This isn’t touchy-feely crap. Being clear on your unique selling proposition is the starting point for figuring out your genuine identity as a company.
It’s also about the culture that naturally emerges out of you and your team – your collective personality. Those pinball machines and beanbags? They’re a reflection of your collective quirks. You won’t be able to fake that – it’s your startup being itself.

  1. Fearless Originality and Innovation

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – J.K. Rowling
Think about it: it’s pretty darn hard to have a ultra-revolutionary, world-changing, era-defining offering…. and NOT be cool.
Your unique product or service needs to be radically different AND light years ahead of everyone else. So go on – blaze those trails!

  1. Smooth-as-Buttah Customer Experience

Customers don’t buy products anymore. Nope. No siree.
They buy the entire experience. The whole shebang.
That means every single interaction they have with your startup counts for something. Like the helpful and cheerful conversations with your audience across social networks. The friendly, informative copy of your web site. The ruthlessly well-thought out user-friendliness interface of your app. Your always prompt and polite customer support.
It’s all gotta be there.

  1. Quality

It’s not enough to be original or innovative. You need solid, uber well-crafted value that oozes out every pore.
Otherwise, you’re just a black sheep with shades on.
No amount of gloss can make up for a shoddy product or service.
When you care passionately about what your startup brings to the market – it shows. Customers and investors can suss out the obsession for detail that all successful startups share, from miles away.  If you cream the competition with your unquestionable awesomeness you will stand out.
So nail those angles, and your coolness will be unstoppable.

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