I recently gave a presentation on branding and marketing as part of Career Day at my son’s school. Having to tailor my presentation to make sense for kids ages 5 to 12, I decided to open with a game of identifying logos. I held up a card with a logo printed on it, and the kids were told to shout them out. “Lego! Disney! Starbucks!” they cried in unison, as I presented the cards in quick succession. Some of the cards, specifically the McDonalds and Nike logos, were in black and white and had no words. Of course, the students got them just as quickly.
“Isn’t it amazing,” I asked, “that when I held up these cards, you all said ‘Nike’ and ‘McDonalds’ instead of ‘check mark’ and ‘M’? And when you see them, you can probably picture their sneakers or imagine French fries, right?” They all nodded enthusiastically. I went on to explain why companies try to create iconic brands — and how a good logo can become the shorthand for everything a brand is and does.