28 Jul Book Review: Good Is The New Cool by Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones
Hello all – it’s Dr. H here back with our latest book review. ‘Good Is The New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn’ falls into our business category and is good for anyone looking to better understand how marketing, branding, messaging, and finding success in the evolving market all fit together. Dr. Donnelly and I are not in marketing and have very little experience with it, but this book was accessible, easy to read, and quick to get through.
After introducing themselves, Aziz and Jones start with their thesis that to truly make a difference and make money in the new marketing world you have to “Make money and do good by harnessing the power of cool.” Though it sounds corny, their main thrust is that the idea of what ‘cool’ is has shifted. It’s not enough anymore to simply create a flashy ad campaign – especially since so many of us find our entertainment through streaming or are able to avoid ads online. The authors model for achieving their thesis is based on the combination of commerce (brands), conscience (nonprofits), and culture (artists).
It’s a fascinating but important perspective to consider the ways in which social influencers – like Lady Gaga, Common, and organizations like Omaze, have shifted the way corporations market to their audience. Aziz and Jones argue that the 3 key factors in driving the cultural shift are: “the new expectations of Millennials and Generation Z, the crisis of meaningfulness in marketing and advertising, and the disruptive opportunities afforded by technology.”
They start with a focus on the Millennial and Gen Z generations – which Dr. Donnelly and I spend a lot of time talking about in our work at Abbey Research. Some basic stats they use include the fact that there are 80 million Millennials in the US with a spending power of $200 billion and by 2025 Millennials will be 75% of the US workforce and 50% of the global workforce. Not only to brands have to learn how Millennials and Gen Z see the world, they have to adapt to the way these buyers are changing the market.
The authors identify 7 areas to how you can “make money and do good by harnessing the power of cool.” Mostly I find these books to be a bit cheesy for my tastes, but honestly, several of their areas are super important to remember. Their 7 points are: know your purpose, find your allies, think citizens, not consumers, lead with the cool, don’t advertise, solve problems, people are the new media, and back up the promise with the proof. Basically, they are advocating for considering the whole human (citizen, not consumer) you are marketing to – they will be your biggest marketer, but only if you solve problems, know your audience, and show them that you mean what you say.
All of this boils down to the facts that these generations value meaning and authenticity. These are the key factors to understanding how your purpose can solve problems, help people, and make a difference. In the book they support each area with 3 case studies – with loads of famous people and brands we know – breaking down what we can learn from each.
If you’re looking to rethink your marketing strategy and you’re not sure what steps to take, this book is a solid place to start.