That's Not Cool

Your brand has left the list of must-haves and is headed toward the list of things people wouldn't be caught dead with. How do you turn it around?

It's every entrepreneur's dream: You're in the right place at the right time, and your product, service or brand takes off unexpectedly. You're the coolest thing going.

Then just as suddenly, you're not. Your cool has almost run its course, and you run the risk of becoming a cautionary tale in some business textbook. So what will you do when you start losing your cool? It's an important question to ask yourself if you want to be more than just a fad.

The minute you're on the 'in' list, you're preparing to be on the 'out' list," says Nina Kaminer, president of Nike Communications Inc., a New York City luxury-product marketing firm with clients that include Montblanc and Jaguar. If you want more than your 15 minutes, you'll have to find a new way to leverage what you have to offer.

"Brands lose their cool when they lack the will to change, and they abandon what made them cool," says Roger Baxter, who heads the account planning group at The Richards Group, a Dallas advertising agency. Here are the stories of three companies finding a way to be cool all over again.

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Chris Penttila is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist who covers workplace issues on her blog,

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This article was originally published in the June 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: That's Not Cool.

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