what you need to know about the cool hunter profession – WAU
The cool hunter is a professional always attentive to what happens in his surroundings and in the world. He is responsible for finding creative signs that point to changes in society and setting standards between them. With these clues, companies are able to innovate and remain relevant in the market.
Coolhunting is considered one of the professions of the new millennium, and cool hunter is a career that has everything to grow in the coming years. We are talking about the professional who is attentive to social changes to indicate paths of innovation for companies.
These innovations can be at different stages of the process:
The cool hunter is, above all, a research professional, who collects precious information that will be used in the company’s strategy.
Are you curious to understand more about this profession and how you can apply it in your company? Our article explains everything you need to know to set foot in this world! Good reading!
What is coolhunting?
The first mentions of coolhunting were made in the 1990s. Journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s article for New Yorker magazine entitled “The Coolhunt” is considered to be one of the milestones of this new activity. To understand what this practice is, we need to start at the bottom, clarifying the concept of “cool”.
According to the Dutch researcher Carl Rohde, from Fontys University, “cool is everything that is attractive and inspiring, with potential for future growth”. Rohde is a professor in the International Lifestyle Studies course, and is considered one of the references in the field.
Coolhunting, then, is the practice of going after cool signs. This can be done both when walking through cities and in research with a close eye on the internet. There are even specialized websites on the subject.
What does this practice consist of
This “hunt” for cool signs serves to identify changes in people’s behavior. Therefore, it is closely related to trend research. The goal of cool hunter is to identify these transformations even at the first signs and to interpret them.
In other words, in addition to being able to see what is cool, he needs to understand well what is behind it and establish relationships with other signs – which are often as distant as gastronomy and architecture.
With these analyzes and interpretations, the cool hunter manages to guide the company to promote innovations to always be at the forefront of the market.
Emergence, trivialization and resumption
At the beginning of the activity, at the beginning of the 21st century, the practice was closely associated with fashion. With a camera in their hands and attentive looks, trend hunters took to the streets in search of new styles and appropriations of fashionable objects.
The problem was that, at that time, the practice of coolhunting became trivial. Many people called themselves cool hunters, but were unable to make associations between the signs and provide interesting insights for companies. The activity ended up falling into disrepute.
In the second decade of this century, new theorists and thinkers have resumed the practice, this time, better describing a methodology. This is how coolhunting has again become an important tool in the study of trends.
What does cool hunter do?
Above all, the cool hunter is a research professional. It uses several methods of data collect to start identifying the cool signs. These methods may be more conventional, such as polls and polls.
They can also be more experimental, such as the practice of walking around the city in order to capture the meanings expressed in the various elements of the streets. These methods can even be systematic searches on the internet, on various websites.
The important thing is that these investigations provide cool signals for analysis, which are nothing more than objects or behaviors that indicate changes in the collective unconscious.
They can manifest themselves in the form of products, shopping behavior, new places in the city that, suddenly, enter the hype, habits, among other possibilities. For this reason, you must always have a very attentive eye. The cool can be anywhere.
After collecting the signals, the cool hunter needs interpret them and find patterns between them. The goal is to understand what are the mentalities behind each sign. From this analysis, the professional will be able to provide insights for the company to promote its innovations.
What are the cool hunter’s ways of acting?
Nowadays, cool hunter has conquered space in the market and operates in various segments. We will explore some of them below. Follow!
Marketing is one of the segments that express cool signs first and help spread them to a large number of people. In marketing, the cool hunter works to understand what is the most efficient way to to communicate with people in that geographical and temporal context.
The cool signs are still manifest in food – after all, what we eat is an important part of our culture.
The cool hunter of the food market understands what people’s priorities are in terms of food (practicality, health, sustainability, etc.) to guide business in the industry to have products that are at the top of the list of consumer priorities.
Here, care must be taken not to confuse: in the cosmetics market, the cool hunter is not the professional who dictates the color of lipstick next fall.
Much more than that, he is the specialist who identifies what is important to the consumer at that time. From this information, the company will be able to develop products that fit this niche market.
Technology is one of the great markets for cool hunters, because, at the same time, it is the fruit and generator of social changes.
The professional in this sector is responsible for capture unmet needs and pass it on to technology companies to transform it into a product that offers the solution to this problem.
Fashion was the first domain of cool hunters and remains one of the main fields of activity for these professionals.
Much more than pointing out the fabric of the summer or the color of the winter, the cool fashion hunter tries to understand what people communicate with their clothes, what makes sense to them and what their needs are that fashion is not meeting.
How can your company implement coolhunting?
All over the world, large companies have not only a professional, but a team of coolhunting and trend management to guide their innovation actions. In small companies, this scenario needs to be adapted to the reality of the business.
There are many cases in which the founder puts himself in the cool hunter position. In others, it is the marketing director who takes on this task. Both strategies can generate good results for the company.
However, one aspect cannot be ignored: coolhunting is an activity that demands constant search time. Therefore, it is good to analyze whether your schedule will allow you to devote the necessary effort to obtain relevant information, which will lead to good insights for the company.
Another possibility is hire a trend consultancy, to do this analysis for a specific purpose – like launching a new product line or rebranding.
With the time and the growth of the company, you can start to consider the hiring a professional with exclusive dedication to do coolhunting and your organization’s trend management.
How to become a cool hunter?
At renowned universities in the world, there are courses that enable a professional to have a career as a cool hunter. Depending on your availability, you can choose between lectures and short courses, or more complete training.
At the beginning of the text, we mention the “International Lifestyle Studies” course, from the Dutch Fontys University, in Tilburg. It is a 4-year undergraduate course, which enables students to practice coolhunting, plot and analyze the trends they observe.
At the University of Lisbon, the master’s program in Culture and Communication offers a line of research in Trend and Culture Management. One of the research possibilities is for the student to deepen in the practice of coolhunting.
Another course option in the area is the “Post-Graduation in Coolhunting, Design and Global Trends” by ELISAVA (University School of Barcelona Design and Engineering). The one-year course teaches coolhunting techniques and the principles of trend studies.
In addition to taking long or short courses, you must also prepare to study hard on your own.
To be a good cool hunter, the professional must have a broad general culture, good knowledge of history and geography, and be always up to date on what is happening in the world. – which includes from next door neighbor to Japan.
Did you like to understand more about this fascinating profession and already want to know how you can put it in your CV after you specialize? So, read our post with resume templates to make it beautiful in the next job interview!