“I love SoHo more each time we come back,” Maarten says. “The buzz, the brownstones, the great restaurants.”
“And don’t forget the shopping potential,” I say with a smile.
We are heading onto Spring Street where I take a pic of the typical fire escapes before taking a right turn onto Greene Street. We’re meeting Mark Sherwood from Saatchi & Saatchi at the Burberry store.
“Meet me at the Burberry store on Spring Street, we should start our brand tour there,” he told me over the phone when we set our meeting.
“Maarten… Anouk?” we hear behind us. We look over our shoulder and recognise Mark from his profile pic on Facebook. “Nice meeting you guys,” he says. “I’ve been following your trip Around the World in 80 Brands on Facebook. I really love the story of the jaguar hunt in Brazil.”
“Mark, nice to meet you finally,” I say. “We wanted to hear your story about Lovemarks.”
“That’s why I wanted us to meet here,” Mark says. “In the temple of one of my biggest Lovemarks as an Englishman in New York: Burberry. The brand was founded in 1856 and has since survived many changes in the world. They are still on top of the game, now thanks to creative director Christopher Bailey and his uber-cool design team.
“Let’s take a walk,” Mark says.
We exit the store and walk along Greene Street in the opposite direction.
“A Lovemark is a brand that inspires Loyalty Beyond Reason,” Mark continues. “A few years back at Saatchi, we bundled our experience and came up with a definition of our take on modern communications and brands. And we believe it’s about Lovemarks. Certain brands attract people because they speak to people’s hearts and inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason.”
“For me that would be Harley-Davidson,” Maarten says. “We’re doing part of Route 66 by bike in the next weeks and I am really looking forward to meeting up with some other bikers.”
“Harley-Davidson is a great example of community branding,” Mark says. “At Saatchi we’ve moved from ‘selling by yelling to selling by involving’. And we help brands understand that they need to get people involved with their hearts. You could sort of call us the Lovemarks Company.”
We cross the street at Prince Street and turn left.
“Another great example of a Lovemark,” Mark says, pointing at The Body Shop on the other side of the street.
“That is one of my favourite brands,” I say. “With her focus on corporate social responsibility, Anita Roddick reinforced the idea and the belief that a better world is possible. So for me, it’s The Body Shop or nothing.”
“That’s what it’s all about. People love and protect their Lovemarks, are loyal beyond reason and don’t quite know what to do when they’re taken away.”
We are now heading towards Broadway, cross the street and are almost hit by a yellow cab.
“Yellow cab is a brand, all right, but far from being a Lovemark,” Mark jokes.
“And another one,” Mark says, pointing at a shop front decorated entirely in Hello Kitty stuff. “It’s amazing how kids LOVE this brand. It is often the third word they learn; mum, dad, Hello Kitty.”
“So Mark, what is your Lovemark?” Maarten asks. “Amazon?”
“No,” I say, “I think you are more a Facebook kind of guy.”
“Or maybe Lexus?” Maarten says.
“All great brands, but my favourite Lovemark is right here,” Mark says, pointing at a store right next to him. “Welcome to Dean & Deluca.”
We enter the store and the waitress walks towards us. “I am so sorry, but we are fully booked.”
“Maybe you should change your Lovemark into Starbucks,” I joke.
“Never, a Lovemark can disappoint you, but you accept and you forgive. That’s one of the main features of a Lovemark.”
As we’re heading towards the exit, the waitress says, “One second, we can manage to get three chairs together in a corner. It is not particularly comfortable, but we will offer you a coffee to make up for it.”
Mark turns towards us and winks. “That’s what I call a Lovemark.”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
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