Re-branding the idea of a brand

Traditional media companies cling to their brands at their peril: Rory O'Connor on how the very definition of brands is undergoing a change in this age of friends and followers.
“People like Eric Schmidt, they’re clinging to brand power as the solution,” O’Connor told me. “That the Internet is a cesspool of information is so wrongheaded as to be laughable. To say the Internet is a cesspool of information is like saying you can’t trust the telephone system because people tell lies over it. It’s just the medium. The people who are legacy media who are clinging to this idea that brands are how you sort out this cesspool, as Eric Schmidt put it, are exhibiting all of the foresight of an ostrich.”  
Schmidt’s not alone. O’Connor says he got a similarly brand-oriented response when he interviewed Paul Slavin, former senior vice president of the digital operation at ABC News. “Paul Slavin, I asked him, I thought, a very point-blank question: ‘Why should people trust ABC News?’” O’Connor said. “He was flabbergasted. He was almost speechless. He took it as some pejorative attack. After he stopped sputtering he said, ‘Because we’re ABC News.’”