In Asia, one can see the influence of Brand Hedge Funds like Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestle. They buy local brands that they think they can scale up in the region and elsewhere. In an increasingly globalized world, this business model seems to work quite well.
Additionally, their marketing purchasing reach allows them to trial ads for new brands in regions not yet served by a brand to test the market for uptake. Couple that with their knowledge of scaling production operations, and I wonder how many "indie" regional brands are left.
The lifetimes of brands can be astounding; even when the company behind them has died, they continue on. You can still buy Pan Am logo'd bags today, not to mention the tv show. Diametrically opposed, you only have to mention "FrontPage" to someone who worked an internet job back in the late 90's to get them to involuntarily wince.
Will the Xerox or Kodak brands end up on the chopping block? Do obsolescent tech companies's brands still have value?
Are brands capable of becoming something even more forceful? Apple seems to almost have the power of a group identity. Perhaps it's not too much of a leap to view the markup on Apple products as tax or a tithe.