Decoding Cool in Indian Context: Meaning, Value, and Brands

Decoding Cool in Indian Context: Meaning, Value, and Brands

Harsh V. Verma (University of Delhi, India) and Ekta Duggal (Motilal Nehru College, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0357-7.ch003
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The term cool is both nebulous and valuable. It contains some magical property which transforms perceived value of anything to which it is added as prefix. Therefore, marketers want to make their brands cool for superior outcomes. But the challenge lies in apprehending what cool actually stands for and how to use it in brand building. This paper explores meaning of cool by tracing its genesis in theological texts and popular culture. Cool has connections with theological discourses of religions like Hinduism, Stoicism, and Buddhism. Buddhism's fundamental tenet is cultivation of equanimity. Hinduism's sacred text Bhagavat Gita exhorts development of control over senses. Stoicism's core principle is ‘Ataraxia' or indifference. Cool in popular culture originated from the sites of slavery by people who cultivated an attitude to calmness as means to survive in punishing conditions. This study assumed cool as a signifying system and sought to uncover the hidden meaning for which it stands. It found that cool stands for four human facets: composure, paradox, good, and cheeky.
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‘Cool’ is irresistible property for a brand to have. Brands gain value if they are added with ‘cool’ property. But it is not easy to achieve because ‘cool’ is nebulous and hard to apprehend. This is the reason why phenomena of ‘cool’ merits attention.

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