Your brand doesn't belong to you. It lives in the mind of your customers as a memory.

There’s a lot of talk out there about what marketing means these days. Four Ps, Three Cs, marketing mix modeling, inter-agency teams, office politics, procurement strategies, approval hierarchies. Blah.

For some reason you have to be everywhere all the time, so you put your hashtag at the end of your TV commercial to encourage people to “continue the conversation” about whatever cheeseburger you’re selling. The whole practice of marketing has become disperse, impressively complicated, and frankly wasteful. There’s no truth anymore, and we feel like we’re doing things just because we have to.

But there’s one place where marketing is remarkably simple: the mind of the consumer. Yes, times and technology have changed, but people haven’t. Our brains are still wired the same way as always. And when we reach a moment of truth, the decision point of spending a dollar somewhere or elsewhere, that hashtag suddenly seems a distant memory.

Let’s remember that marketing is all about talking to humans. And in human psychology, less is more. It’s pretty important that 1) the product/service you’re selling is remembered for something and 2) the offering is uniquely valuable.

A brand is not a thing: it is a memory, a ghost, an association that a decision-maker consciously or unconsciously makes about the prospect of using your product or service. And for that reason, experience and brand cannot be decoupled. It’s not just the experience of seeing an ad: it’s the experience of picking the packaging off the shelf, using it, recommending it to friends, sharing memes about it, and throwing it in the garbage when you’re done.


Here at Theory we seek an understanding brands to their fullest extent, which by now you might suspect goes far beyond their message. Our research uncovers the history, unconscious associations, complete user experience, and competitive frame today in order to springboard where we go tomorrow. Only then can we plan the future.

Let’s remember that the practice of marketing is deeply human. Let’s take a fundamentals-driven approach to winning that dollar. Let’s figure this thing out together, partner.