IT IS THE MENTALITY BEHIND, STUPID - :) by Carl Rohde
Yes, I have seriously proposed when we opened this renewed website to put a virtual sticker at the right top, proclaiming NOT FOR GADGETS. BUT FOR THE MENTALITY BEHIND. Because there are plenty good sites which show an impressive selection of the latest gadgets, designs and other manifestations-of-the-new. It all is very cool there and it all deserve their raisons to exist but we do not want to be in their league. Actually, we want to delve deeper.
We want to delve deeper. We want to trace and interpret the mentality BEHIND the sparkling surfaces of cool. Yes, we collect and select many cool gear at http://www.scienceofthetime.com . It is send to us by our cool hunters (1), about 500 in many cities of this world. And (2) by the students from the network of 40 universities we have a connection with via our own university positions, students who participate in our worldwide research projects. And (3) by a growing amount of volunteers, several of them aspiring to become official science-of-the-time cool hunters themselves. And (4), last but not least, by the fine de fleur of the best trend watchers, academic researchers and branch experts. A substantial portion of them really have gained worldwide fame or are what we call Continental Heroes. Together with them we make every six weeks the Top 15 of the Coolest Worldwide, a hit parade that every month attract more visitors worldwide.
All these participants of our www.scienceofthetime.com community have three things in common. First, wherever they are located on this planet, they have a solid connection to the world of cool. Second, they understand, appreciate and respect our definition of “cool”: “attractive and inspiring with future growth potential”. And third, they always give us the reasons WHY their examples of cool, the manifestations of the new that they send us, are “attractive and inspiring with future growth potential.” What is the mentality behind? This is crucial.
Because if you do not delve deeper you get blinded by the ever changing surface of cool. It is a fascinatingly glittering world but does not give you sufficient and solid clues of what is really important behind it all. You want an example? Here is one. It is an old one – because our clients do not like when we share with the world what we research for them on a cool mentality level -J. Yet, it is a telling one.
Berlin is one of Europe’s most exciting cities. It connects the West with the East. It is a relatively poor city, attractive for that reason for many aspiring yet still poor artists. It has one of the most creative underground culture of Europe. So I asked Angelika, one of our leading cool hunters there back then, what are the coolest new places in town. “Um die Ecke Elf” (around the corner at eleven) she answered. I asked her whether she had taken pictures of the place, because these pictures might be relevant to some of the brands we were working for. She said no, because they wanted to keep the place one of Berlin’s finest secrets. (That is what you get in the city with one of the most creative underground cultures of Europe -J) I asked her to give me then the full address of the place – around the corner at eleven does not really tell it all. So gently refused again. The place should be one of Berlin’s best kept secret.
So far (not) so good.
Back in Amsterdam, reading all the new city reports by our cool hunters, we discovered that also Stockholm, Antwerp, Paris, Madrid and Rome had their own “Um die Ecke Elf”. We asked our cool hunter what exactly is so cool about these places? What is the cool mentality behind? They unanimously answered that they need a fine but secret place for themselves within the usual city landscape open to all. We digested this and summarized it in a new Cool Mentality Trend: “Secrecy, please”.
We presented “Secrecy, please” to Foot Locker Europe, one of our clients back then and still. Together we translated this new Cool Mentality Trend “Secrecy, please” to Foot Locker’s branding and retail business with a intensifying emphasize on limited editions and exclusive pairs of sneakers. By now, it is an old trick. But then it was hugely successful - and we are proud to be part of that success. It sheds, if you ask us, a light on two things. First, on the importance of cool hunting with focus and methodological depth. Second, on the importance to delve deep, to go beyond the glittering surface, on the importance to search for the Cool Mentality Behind. That is where sneaker retail can learn a lucrative lot from a cool underground place in Berlin!
In the end we decided not to put that virtual sticker “NOT FOR GADGETS. BUT FOR THE MENTALITY BEHIND” at the right top. People who flock to the site and do not appreciate the methodological depth, the academic thoroughness of what we are doing here, well, wish them happiness and luck. Maybe they come back by the time they want to understand more. But many others who visit us will get grabbed by our approach – after all we are practicing here the Science of Cool and we are unique in that. That is what we hope and expect. If you are one of these many others, please, subscribe and if you have done so: let us know what you think of what we are doing. We hope this will become as much your site as ours.
PS Interested in more articles about the importance of The Mentality Behind? Subscribe here. We have a Coca Cola case and a Levi’s one.