I'm a firm believer and supporter of modern science. But scientists trying to tell me that the bottle on the right is cooler than the normal water bottle on the left? GTFOH, science. I used that acronym because scientists likes acronyms. For real though, that "bottle" looks like a fucking vuvuzela, bro.
My personal predilections aside, the point of this Fast Company piece is to highlight the steps behavioral scientists have made in attempting to understand "coolness." According to the piece, scientists have delineated four traits underlying the social phenomena known as "being cool." I'm not gonna tell you what the 4 traits are because, just like Reading Rainbow, you can't just take my word for it. But I will tell you it sounds exactly what a bunch of scientists would say when asked to describe why one alphet is cooler than the other.
The article cites another study, concluding that of four fictional fashion brands, the brand considered coolest by participants was only moderately unconventional. The key then, for all you struggle brands, is to be just different enough, while not alienating people by being too weird. Which is exactly like going to a liberal arts college. I really want to be a brand consultant now, so I can cite studies like this and say things like, "If you really want Jolt Cola to take off, you need to make the packaging different, but not too different." HEY DON DRAPER, I GET IT NOW.