About Signal Theory and Resonance Branding Strategic Framework

Every Living
Thing Signals.

Birds do it. Bees do it. Humans do it too.

Sometimes it’s conscious. More often it’s unconscious. Either way, it’s called signaling. The most ancient and instinctive kind of communication there is. While human signaling is more subtle and complex than, say, a peacock’s tail, it remains a powerful indicator of intent, belief, identity and engagement.

We help people and brands connect in deeper, more meaningful ways by decoding, tuning and amplifying the signals that each sends to the other. This cuts through the noise to create a value exchange that resonates and builds trust for both. We do this through a strategic framework called Resonance Branding. It combines cultural systems analysis with data science, methods and principles from the social and behavioral sciences and the principles of human-centered design.


Through the lenses of culture, the social sciences and data, we understand how people think, behave and make decisions more completely. Through the principles of design, we act more meaningfully.

Our methodology is specifically designed to interpret not just the conscious but also the unconscious signals people send about their wants and needs, our methodology results in powerful solutions that resonate with connection, meaning and trust.



  • Cultural immersion
  • Context setting
  • Market structure
  • Signal gathering


  • User analysis
  • Needs identification
  • Empathy development
  • Signal relevance


  • Explore ideas
  • Prototype solutions
  • Test resonance and iterate


  • Activate/Launch
  • Measure
  • Optimize/Adjust

Why resonance is so important now.

Trust is plummeting in America, in government, in institutions, even in each other. In this environment, real value exchanges in communication are more important than ever. Every signal counts. The brands that will win in the next decade will be focused on building social capital by creating trustworthy relationships and meaningful experiences. We are happy to assist.

Source: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. Trust Volatility Measure. The net year-over-year (2017-2018) percentage point change across the four institutions (TRU_INS). General population, 28-market global total. For more details on how the Trust Volatility Measure was calculated, please refer to the Technical Appendix.

Overall change in trust of United States’ Government, Businesses, Media and NGOs from 2017 to 2018

Source: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. Trust Volatility Measure. The net year-over-year (2017-2018) percentage point change across the four institutions (TRU_INS). General population, 28-market global total. For more details on how the Trust Volatility Measure was calculated, please refer to the Technical Appendix.

This is who you’re dealing with.

We believe the best business relationships are built on trust, respect, accountability and a captivating amount of je ne sais quoi. Signal Theory is best with clients and co-workers who take the craft (but not themselves) particularly seriously.

Ali Mahaffy
John January
Jim Vranicar
Lathi DeSilva
Scott Flemming
Tony Robinson

Ali Mahaffy


Ali has worked at some great agencies. But her career has also taken her to the client side, which gives her a great perspective on the pressures and challenges our clients face and how the agency should be positioned to help. Ali plays a key role in fostering the unique professional and personal relationships we build with clients. She also ensures that the agency has all the resources it needs to be a lean, mean and highly effective machine. As the “Yin” of Signal Theory, Ali keeps all of us grounded, balanced and happy.

John January


John helped Signal Theory establish its national reputation for creative excellence. A sought-after speaker and industry thought leader, John helps our clients see not just what’s coming down the road but also what’s around the next corner. As the “Yang” of Signal Theory, John leads the charge to reach higher, push boundaries and discover what’s next.

Jim Vranicar

Chief Operating Officer

In his youth, Jim spent a great deal of time laboring in the fields of northeast Nebraska. Those summers walking bean fields and detasseling corn helped to shape Jim’s strong work ethic, one we enjoy seeing on display every day at Signal Theory. After spending his first 10 years leading our media planning efforts, Jim was promoted in 2017 to Chief Operating Officer. He now directs all operational and HR initiatives across recruiting, employee experience, benefits and workflow processes to ensure that Signal Theory remains a great place to work.

Lathi De Silva, APR

Managing Director, Wichita

If you have a story to tell, you want Lathi on your side. This accredited public relations practitioner has been helping uncover, package and amplify brand stories in the public and private sectors for going on 18 years. She’s guided clients through crises and issues, directed product launches and stood at the helm of statewide and regional coalitions to garner public support on health issues. From award-winning PR campaigns for Southwest Airlines, Cargill and Cessna to passing a special sales tax to build a 15,000-seat arena, she knows what it takes to build consensus, win minds and make stuff happen.

P. Scott Flemming

Managing Director, Wichita
Executive Creative Director

During his 17 years of directing strategic creative for Signal Theory clients, Scott has crafted campaigns for admired consumer and business-to-business brands such as Coleman, Cessna, Beechcraft and Cargill. He’s piloted so many successful brand identity updates that his ability to guide a large team to a win is practically instinctual. The writers get edgy when he goes nonverbal and starts sketching, but he deftly brings art and copy together to win them over as easily as he does the target audience.

Tony Robinson

Chief Financial Officer

Signal Theory is known for our fun-loving culture and just-quirky-enough-to-work ideas. But while that is quite fun, it isn’t possible without a strong leader crunching numbers behind the scenes. That’s where Tony comes in. He brings nearly 20 years of financial acumen to Signal Theory and leads the agency’s financial operations, including accounting, forecasting and regulatory compliance. He’s also up there in pureness of heart, serving on the board of directors of the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which supports families experiencing pediatric cancer.