Do you like my new shoes? I love my new shoes. Mrs P was initially dubious about my new shoes. Aren’t they awfully orange? I pointed to the pair I was wearing at the time, the ones that were to be replaced. They were bright pink. A bit of orange wasn’t going to deter me. My new shoes are a pair of Clarks, an old and well respected English firm that is headquarted in Somerset, one county along from me. It’ll not be long till their 200th birthday celebrations.
I now have five pairs of Clarks shoes. They have turned me into a bit of woman now, when it comes to shoe shopping. I have something for every occasion. And I don’t just love my new shoes. I love Clarks shoes, full stop. It’s not just me. Gangsters, rappers, mods, celebrities and army types around the world have sworn by Clarks for decades. Walter White wore nothing else in Breaking Bad. With my latest acquisition, the only time I will not wear a pair of Clarks is when I’m out for a run. I would hate to get them muddy.
There are a few other companies that have won me over. Where my purchases are affected by Brand Loyalty. Waitrose, the grocers. Mazda, the car maker. Flickr, the photo host. First Direct, the bank. John Lewis, Auntie Beeb, Prezzo and The Guardian newspaper. I trust them, I feel valued by them, I take pride in being their customer, I love the products. I have an image in my own mind of workers lovingly crafting my new stuff, taking care to package them just right, having pride in what they do, the things they make and the heritage of the company.
And isn’t that just the magic of Brand Loyalty? Did I create that image in my mind, or did they? Regardless, they have managed to forment a bond, a relationship between us. A personal and emotional relationship. Like I would have with another human. But with a faceless logo and fancy typeset instead. It’s truly magical stuff that no amount of sleazy marketing money, flashing neon signs and fancy television adverts can ever buy. Bravo Clarks et al, bravo. Just don’t ever cheat on me. Now that you’ve turned me into woman shoe shopper, you do not want to see the consequences of my being scorned.