Despite my own best efforts and those of my colleagues in the branding trade to persuade you otherwise, there’s no magic to branding. The “magic” we observe when branding is done well relies on basic principles most of us mastered in the games of our childhood. Branding is just another type of memory game.

Imagine you and I shuffle a deck of ten cards consisting of five unique pairs of matching pictures. We spread all the cards facedown on a table. Then we take turns flipping over two cards at a time. If the two cards you flip over match, you get to add the pair to your stack. But if the cards don’t match, you have to turn them back over and it’s my turn to play. We continue playing this way until all the cards ...

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