Corporate Eye

Sorry Apple – Aston Martin is the Coolest Brand

Each year, CoolBrands ranks the coolest brands in the UK as determined by thousands of consumers’ votes and an Expert Council which includes marketers, fashion designers, artists, musicians, publishers, and more.

For the second year in a row, Aston Martin took the top spot with Apple holding on as the second coolest brand in the UK.

Both consumers and experts were instructed to evaluate brands based on six factors: style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability, and uniqueness.

The top 20 coolest brands in the UK of 2011 are:

  1. Aston Martin
  2. Apple
  3. Harley-Davidson
  4. Rolex
  5. Bang & Olufsen
  6. BlackBerry
  7. Google
  8. Ferrari
  9. Nike
  10. YouTube
  11. Alexander McQueen
  12. Dom Perignon
  13. PlayStation
  14. Ray-Ban
  15. Chanel
  16. Nintendo
  17. Vivienne Westwood
  18. Agent Provocateur
  19. Tate Modern
  20. Maserati

What surprises me most about this top 20 list of the coolest brands is how many are automotive, technology, and fashion brands. It’s interesting to see those are the industries that people gravitate toward when they define cool brands. Remember, brands depend on consumer perceptions, and clearly, cars, technology, and fashion are considered cool by a lot of people — at least it would certainly seem that way based on the results of the CoolBrands 2011 list.

The CoolBrands yearly ranking has been done since 2001, and I’d love to see a trend graph by industry to see if certain industries have lost their cool or gained it. Typically, people associate “cool” with things they like, talk about, have or want to have. Will inclusion on the list of the coolest brands in the UK drive sales to most of these brands? I wouldn’t expect any big sales jumps, but it does add another layer of interest in the brand for consumers who respond to the “cool” message. And why shouldn’t they? It’s a highly emotional message, and the most powerful brands are ones that consumers are highly emotionally invested in.

What do you think is the coolest brand? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the CoolBrands list. Did they get it right?

Image: kowaleski

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

These are not really cool, but they are definitely aspirational. I think I saw a lot of them in coverage of the recent riots.

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