What makes things cool? how autonomy influences perceived coolness

Caleb Warren, Margaret C. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite assertions that coolness sells products, little is known about what leads consumers to perceive brands as cool. This research uses an experimental approach to examine the empirical relationship between consumers' inferences of autonomy and perceived coolness. Six studies find that behaviors expressing autonomy increase perceived coolness, but only when the autonomy seems appropriate. Autonomy seems appropriate, and hence increases perceptions of coolness, when a behavior diverges from a norm considered unnecessary or illegitimate, when the autonomy is bounded (i.e., deviations are small or occasional rather than large or perpetual), and when the consumer views social norms as being overly repressive. A final experiment further supports the connection between autonomy and coolness and illustrates that coolness is distinct from liking by showing that whether a consumer has a goal to express autonomy moderates preference for cool brands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-563
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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