Coolhunting: Marketing and innovation to fight the crisis

Price adjustments, commercial battles and very high losses in the annual balances of the most consolidated brands are some of the news that daily flood the media. Is it sounding to us that we are in crisis? But in this usual hostile environment for companies and, therefore, their respective brands, there are ways of differentiating themselves, of getting ahead of competitors and turning crisis into opportunity. There is a strategic key, a profession that is consolidated in our country as the “lifeline” of large companies in the face of the crisis: coolhunting.

” Coolhunting is, in essence, innovation. The crisis works as a filter element and is responsible for cleaning what is not effective or profitable, what is not agile, what is static. In this sense, coolhunting opens new horizons, new opportunities and is undoubtedly a reliable and successful tool in the face of the crisis “, who speaks is Uri Altell, a consolidated coolhunter, founder and president of the first coolhunting agency that arrives, Strike Agency, eleven years ago, with the idea of ​​”creating and innovating, not so much in terms of technology but in business and management models”.

Innovation is undoubtedly the ultimate goal of talent hunters or coolhunters and, in turn, a key asset in the business world, the key to success to differentiate from the competition and thus achieve a powerful competitive advantage. But trends are more than passing fads, observation, intuition and research are the basis of the analysis of these social trends, “coolhunting agencies are nourished by market research,” explains Altell, “we must take into account Just as there are conventional agencies or coolhunting agencies, there are also coolhunting research agencies, which study opinion leaders as a significant sample. It is their projections that serve as inspiring elements for our work, Market studies are the basis of any of our projects. We start from today we are like this to how we are going to be tomorrow “, assures the CEO of Strike Agency.

Coolhunting strategy

Thus, when, for example, a brand of vodka, “a mature market with strong limitations to grow and very atomized in our country”, raises to Strike the challenge of relaunching and repositioning its brand, its team launches a whole exercise of social research that culminates in the definition of an innovative, original and successful strategy, with the ultimate goal of having a positive impact on the consumption, distribution and notoriety indices of the beverage brand. “We base our strategy on a fundamental starting point: work on the correct attribution of the brand to the vodka segment and position it as a premium brand through credible values: the origin (it was the first vodka born in Russia) and the authenticity ( so we make a difference) “. The profile was then an authentic consumer,

Once this starting point has been defined, the Strike team asks the following question, “How can we reach this very authentic target? Through two relevant channels for them: music and fashion “. So far everything is clear, but how to get to them differently from other brands? The team of coolhunters then considers a different approach, because both the stage of music and the fashion are already natural environments of the target they intend to address and the beverage brand must connect with them in a different way to everything that is has done, “must be attributable to our brand and not to another.” And then comes the great idea: “if there are official holidays, our brand proposes Non-Official Parties”. The agency organized several concerts of leading groups from the international music scene,

On the other hand, to merge the initiative with the fashion environment, the Authentic Russian Parties were launched, different thematic parties always related to Russia, to which photographers of the first line or graphic designers were invited, that is, to those that marked the trends in their sector. “After the party, these guest trend generators made their report in the magazines they collaborated with and where they were authentic gurus. Thus, with these two initiatives, it is how we get an important media impact from the opinion leaders, from the most credible … what better way to convey the authenticity of the brand, “explains Uri Alltell, who insists that this initiative of Strike for the Russian vodka brand “has created a trend in the world of events”. Altell has achieved such important and profitable milestones in this area as the creation of the documentary festival In-Edit or the initiative to bring the greatest dance show in the world, Sensation White, to our country. But every strategy has its final exam, what about the results? “The balance of results undoubtedly showed significant increases in our reference values ​​for the brand, surpassing the marketing objectives initially marked: more consumption, more distribution and greater notoriety. However, the most significant of these results was the significant impact on media that the brand had, without any investment in the so-called media plan, taking into account that competing brands use high levels of investment to achieve this coverage “.

A stigmatized profession

Traditionally, coolhunting activity has been associated with fashion and, therefore, a somewhat frivolous, secondary world, associated with the companies and brands of the textile world and detached from the field of marketing and strategic leadership to which it really belongs, which is why there are reservations and objections regarding the strength of this activity. Berta Segura, partner of the cool research agency of market research DMentes, insists on the need to put an end to this appearance of “frivolous and simple, cool, trendy and cool profession. Much damage has been done by the media to the real coolhunters, dismissing them as frivolous and denying any professionalism and difficulty in their work, it is a profession that is constantly reinvented to make brands pioneer. ”

But these reticence does not correspond to the evolution of the market, which is finally absorbing in our country the idea that proactivity is necessary in this field, which is also reflected in the offer of postgraduate programs aimed at the training of coolhunters, and that responds well to the demands of companies and their need to find qualified professionals trained in coolhunting. In this sense, Uri Altell assures that, in his opinion, creativity and the ability to break with the limits of the established are indispensable requisites to become coolhunter, “you have to be very receptive, the stimuli are out there, you just have to be open to them. ”

Some of these postgraduate courses are fully focused on the world of fashion, as a social movement that is, and yet other postgraduate courses such as the Coolhunting Specialty of the DiDesing European Institute (in Madrid and Barcelona) are entirely dedicated to the training of coolhunter professionals in the search for social trends in general, to transform it into a vital tool for those companies that seek to always be ahead of others. This master’s degree in coolhunting thus offers a wide and diverse program, based on an accumulation of disparate disciplines ranging from branding, micro and macro trends in communication and in society or history of cultural movements, to consumer analysis and trends forecasting, among many others, in addition to analyzing more specific trends such as film trends, in food and restaurants or at events. “This master’s degree comes from the call of two of the largest companies in the country, interested in training their employees in coolhunting,” explains Laura Eceiza, director of the IED graduate program.

Advancing

Coolhunting was born in the early nineties in the United States, it was the New Yorker magazine that created the name of coolhunter or catcher in 1997, to describe the work of Dee Dee Gordon, the pioneer in this specialization and founder of the first agency coolhunting of the world “Look-look”. Only one year later, Strike Agency arrives at the hands of Uri Altell, as the first coolhunting agency that operates as a BTL agency, as a strategic brand consultant or as an event promoter, “we put the Strike varnish on each and every one of the projects with which we work, we study social trends to give an innovative and differentiated approach to the rest of the companies “, explains its founder. “In the beginning, coolhunting was projected for the immediate future. Now this profession traces medium and long-term routes. In addition, the client is much more informed about this and this allows greater results. ” As for the comparison between our country and others much more developed in terms of the consolidation of coolhunting and its involvement in business success, such as the United States or Japan, Altell assures that “there is an important distance still in this field and , although great progress has been made, we are in the start up.

In the US, for example, all brands have their own coolhunting program, because more long-term goals are being planned. ”

Brands as diverse as Nokia (telephony), Coca Cola (beverages), Inditex (textile), Ikea (furniture), Motorola (technology), Starbucks (hospitality), Absolut (alcoholic beverages) or ID & T (music festivals), among many others, have resorted to the services of these strategic consultancies that are coolhunting agencies, to get ahead of themselves, present alternatives with a hook, convert social movements, and the trends that may arise from them, in the key to the success of their advertising campaigns, of its products, its stores or its restaurants. The political parties, media and non-governmental institutions have been the last ones to get on the bandwagon of coolhunting, seeking to empathize with the tastes of society in times of economic crisis, but also of information saturation, in the times of “everything is invented”. And it is already said by some wise: renew or die.

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