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A Personal Touch

June 2015

By Selcuk Koruturk, Istanbul

We live in an age where our brand choices have become indicators of who we are. To never judge a book by its cover is easier said than done. Society takes guilty pleasure of judging each other by their choice of brands in every aspect of our lives, which makes the reason behind brand loyalty even more important. For me, a personal touch is on the top of my list of reasons for sticking with a brand.

Only until a few years ago traditional Turkish coffee and regular old Nescafe were the only forms of coffee here. Then along came Starbucks and after a few sips of grande lattes, Frappuccino’s and mochas, Turks were hooked. Fast forward to 2015 and Istanbul is now swamped with coffee chains such as Caffè Nero, Caribou Coffee, Lavazza, Mambocino, and even the very first Turkish coffee chain “Kahve Dünyası” which now boast a store close to Piccadilly Circus in London! With the wide range of choices offered here in Istanbul I still stick to one brand: Starbucks. The reason for this is firstly the eye opener coffee they serve that nowadays I really can't start my day without, and second: the customer experience I get there. My coffee choice is simple; filter coffee with a dash of milk but mostly it’s the warm smiles and friendliness of the baristas that seal the deal for me. We’re famous here in Turkey for our hospitality, however it gives me a sense of belonging when I reach the cash register and they put the coffee I want in front of me without me even having to open my mouth. This simple act, a wide grin and some casual banter gives me a sense of a local coffee shop even though I'm getting my coffee from a corporate giant. I'm a little old-school and respect the "retro". And in this day and age, places that stick to old traditions like these is a sure way to make me become a "regular".

Whenever I pass by a stationary store, I inevitably find myself flipping through blank notebooks and notepads. I've always liked to scribble stuff down, whether it's to-do lists, random doodles, or just meandering thoughts. Ever since I found Moleskine a few years ago I haven’t looked back. The quality of the paper, binds and leather case aside, I like the personal touch and warm greeting in the little notes Moleskine put in the their notepads. While everyone else is tapping away on their phones or tablets, I can’t help but feel a sense of "class" when I take out my red notebook from my inner jacket pocket to write something down. In this age where there are tons of digital tools to take down notes, I think the real challenge is trying to keep "old habits" fresh and Moleskine do just that. It’s a sentimental thing for me, I get a wave of excitement each time I pick up a fresh notebook and nowadays I don't really pick up anything else than Moleskine notebooks. They even have notebooks which you can sync up to your Evernote account! Now that's what I call "keeping it fresh!”

Drinking regular old Americano’s from Starbucks and scribbling down notes in a leather bound Moleskine notebook, these are habits that are ingrained in my daily routine and I stick to these brands because they reach out to me. Call me dull or old fashioned but if my brand choices define who I am, then I’d rather you call me retro!

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