Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lovemarks Effect in Germany

A couple of weeks ago I was in Frankfurt launching the German edition of The Lovemarks Effect. Saatchi & Saatchi people put their hearts on their sleeves and gave a terrific welcome to the book. There was a billboard the full height of their office building featuring the dramatic new cover created for the German edition, a launch party at the über cool Ich Weiss where Stephen Galloway (who has worked with The Rolling Stones) introduced the book, and full-on engagement. From my own experience, books still have an incredible power to spread ideas. People value and respect books. Since it was first published in 2004, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands has now been released in 17 editions and 14 languages (including German of course) while the German edition of The Lovemarks Effect makes it four editions and four languages.

I still love books and I’m always fascinated by the way the digital world has been shaped by the idea of the book. We scroll, we read Web pages and some sites even display virtual pages that ‘turn’, just like a book. Check out the British library’s online gallery Turning the Pages for a fantastic example where you can leaf through the Library’s treasures like Baybars’ Qur’an or sketches by Leonardo.

People often adapt to the new by connecting it with the familiar. Why else would early automobiles be called horseless carriages and steam trains be called iron horses? We may have finally grown out of that naming phase though. The ‘horse’ link of the 19th century feels heavy-handed in this ‘i-” family world where we shift from Pod to Touch in months. A word of caution. Many years ago I recall a statement by Alvin Tofler, author of the landmark book Future Shock. Tofler said, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who can’t learn, unlearn and relearn". Now that puts reading in its place. Who’s going to write the book about it?