In traditional marketing and brand management you set out the position you want to take, the message you want to get through and then you put it out there. You feel in control because you've lined up your one-way communications and in a vacuum everything appears to line up.

Combine this with your brand tracking research, which abstracts the consumer response, and you create a feedback loop where your marketing activities and your market research self-reinforce the illusion. And yet under these circumstances you have, and have always had, precisely zero control over what people think and how they will respond to you.

The reality is that great branding has always been about influence and not control - influencing consumer choices and desires in a manner conducive to your goals and their satisfaction.

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