I've been following Ms. Millman for sometime and highly recommend her podcast: Design Matters. I'm quite deliberate about making time as soon as I see the update come through on my iPhone. This week she interviews Noah Brier. I remember messing around with his project Brand Tags some time back, though after the interview I see an deeper power to the site that I really hadn't considered before.
The most important takeaway: that we need to abandon the idea of controlling a brand's image and identity. We, as professionals, can clearly influence and effect perception, but "control"; no. He points out that, really, it's the fans, the public that really control, really own a brand. The interactions with customers, fans and critics all play a part in the identity. Reminds me of several discussions over the years where I say "we can't please everyone. We need to identify who our audience is, focus on them, accept that there will be some un-detractable critics, and move forward." Not everyone can become a superfan. The more popular a brand, or anything, becomes, the more critics rise. It's the way of things.