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Luxury brands regain ‘cool’ but techs lose ‘wow’ factor

Arjun Kharpal, special to
Image source: Aston Martin

Luxury brands have regained their cool factor as signs of a healthier economy have boosted their appeal, but technology companies are losing their shine, according to a new brand survey.

The annual CoolBrands survey of the top 20 coolest brands, showed a swing in favor of luxury good companies with the likes of Rolex and Prada joining the list after an absence last year.

Apple topped the list for the second year running as die-hard fans queued outside stores across Europe and Asia for the new iPhone models, despite criticism the devices lacked a "wow" factor.

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"The big trend has been the shift from everyday brands to luxury brands. That might be to do with the fact that the economy is getting a little bit healthier or indeed because those brands, like Prada have had a better year," Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands Council told CNBC.

Luxury car maker Aston Martin came second, while Rolex and Nike took the third and fourth spot respectively in the U.K.-based survey. Music festival Glastonbury came fifth.

Despite a strong showing from technology companies, many have slipped down the rankings. YouTube slid four places to sixth from last year while Twitter dropped from fourth to eighth.

(Read more: Burberry confident in China despite luxury crackdown)

"While the technology brands are all innovating and delivering, potentially we are getting a bit used to them. They are not so new and shiny anymore," Cheliotis said.

The survey lists winners in specific categories such as beer and chocolate, as well as a shortlist of around 1,150 of the coolest brands. The companies are judged by a panel of 37 experts which includes rap music duo Rizzle Kicks and Homeland actor David Harewood. Around 3,000 members of the public also vote via an online survey.

Brands are judged on style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness.

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Cheliotis told CNBC that there are always some "surprising brands" that make the shortlist and the Saucy Fish Co. was one that caught his eye.

The food products company was founded in the British seaside town of Grimsby in 2009 with the aim of encouraging people to eat more fish. They are known for colorful packaging and readymade sauces.

"The Saucy Fish Company is a good example of where, regardless of sector, what we are looking at in terms of being cool, is style and authenticity," Cheliotis told CNBC. "This is a brand that wouldn't be the obvious one to jump to mind, but it is genuinely cool and is being recognized so by the experts and consumers."

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal