Brand is the Holy Grail that marketers and agencies alike profess they are sole custodians of. Some times discussions and presentations take the brand to some metaphysical realm causing severe hallucinations to the participants. It would be funny if the people involved did not take it seriously (or is it funny because they take it seriously?).
Here is a wonderful interview by Gaping Void (Hugh Macleod) with Mark Earls, who had in his book 'Welcome to the Creative Age' questioned our conventional notions on brand and marketing.
Brands, I guess, will always be alive in spite of the best efforts of marketers and agencies to build it.