Recently we took a walk in a place we hadn’t been before with our toddler.

We turned a corner and suddenly a little voice said ‘look, Sainsbury’s’. He recognised the bright orange logo despite having only been in one Sainsbury’s store before. 

The things is, he can’t read yet. He recognised it, he didn’t read it. To him it was just an image, a picture.

But we shouldn’t be surprised, we are programmed to communicate in pictures more than words. Roadsigns are deciphered faster than words and our earliest forms of communication were cave drawings, way before language had even evolved.

Yet despite this, so many businesses consider their names in isolation and then add branding to the name. The two things should be considered together. The two are linked.

Our son is only a little over 3, so at present he has not attachment to the image he recognises as ‘Sainsbury’s’. It’s just a symbol to him, like a butterfly in the picture book. Over time an emotional attachment based on the experiences associated with that picture will form. This may be good or bad depending on those experiences. Sometimes clients expect a name, a logo, an identity to do too much. In essence, outside of first impressions, they are just flags, just something to say ‘this is what I’m called, remember me’.

This applies to any business, large or small.

If you think it’s important that your business is recognisable, and you should, perhaps the ultimate test isn’t to ask your friends, family or customers.

Perhaps it’s better to ask a 3 year old.

Then treasure them, nurture them and ensure the relationship they have with you is a good one.

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