Cool doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s the new “I’m fine.”
Everyone’s fine and everything’s cool.
That’s why your brand needs to get weird.
Last weekend, our creative team had the opportunity to spend some time in Austin to take in as much inspiration as we could over the course of four days.
Some call Austin the coolest city in America. It lives, breathes and breeds cool. When there’s that much creativity, art, nature, live music and amazing food around you, it’s hard not to feel inspired.
But in a constantly connected world, it’s getting easier every day to be “cool.” It takes about five seconds on Pinterest to figure out what people are into. Cool means nothing. Cool has become the clutter.
During the trip, we must’ve seen one certain phrase a hundred times. “Keep Austin Weird.” From airport billboards to every t-shirt in every souvenir shop on 2nd street, everyone and everything in our temporary Texas home recited the city’s mantra. Even though we were only there for four days, its meaning started to soak in.
Weird is tougher than cool. It’s going against what’s cool and doing your thing no matter what. Weird doesn’t always feel like it pays off right away. Weird is me wearing Birkenstocks with socks years before fashion bloggers decided it was trendy.
Cool is easy. It takes exploration to really step forward. So even though what you’re doing is different and scary, if you’re authentic, people will catch on.
That’s why my biggest takeaway from Austin is this – the “coolest,” most interesting thing you can do is what everybody else isn’t.
A ton of stuff about Austin is awesome. Mexican-inspired modern design surrounds you and custom-painted walls literally line the streets. Live music pours out every bar window on Rainey Street. By traditional definitions, it’s a very, very cool place.
But the things that stick out the most are the one-of-a-kind people I met and experiences I gained. In a vegan cosmetic store we met Megan, who had more passion and knowledge about hand-made soap than I thought one human could have about anything. Floating a kayak through the middle of the city on a serene Saturday morning felt like living in a John Mayer song. Little pieces of the trip that showed me the “weird” Austin is known for.
Austin gave me four full days of cool stuff. But the weird stuff is what I’ll remember.