The First Law of Post-Branding
"...Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, will spend $120 million a year on an advertising campaign to fight its image as "a huge American company."
Link. The First Law of Branding in the post-network economy: don't lie
Yesterday, you could get away with lying (TV dinners are good for you - SUVs are safe - diamonds are forever - etc) because consumers had little market power. Brand strategists, sowing the seeds of their own long-term destruction, exploited this ruthlessly.
Now, the information asymmetry that dominated consumer industries - that marketers knew more about their products than isolated, atomized consumers - hasn't just vaporized, it's been reversed: consumers often know a lot more about many the real-world performance of products than the firms that make them do.
This is what's driving so much of the growing consumer "resistance" across industries. Calling it "resistance" is to fundamentally misunderstand the dynamics of the situation, and tells us most marketers are very much out of sync - I call it anticonsumption, to reflect the fact that consumers can share info about what not
New modes of branding leverage the reversal of this asymmetry - they don't fight it. The weak forms are already emerging - like word-of-mouth/viral/buzz marketing. These are naive examples of strategies which partially leverage the deeper knowledge of consumers, by engaging consumers themselves (as "evangelists", etc) - in econ terms, shifting consumers from peer marketers or micromarketers.
Given these microeconomics, lying is a trivially, totally
dominated dominated strategy. Microsoft is a marketing retarded company; probably the most marketing retarded company in the world. But this is a colossal error, even for them.