Does b2b branding matter anymore?

Over on his blog, Todd Miechiels wrote an interesting post questioning whether b2b branding is relevant anymore. He says that micro-brands and one-to-one communication make brands unimportant. The idea is that b2b communications can be so wel targeted that you don't need to rely on the brand to make purchase decisions. You can rely on the merits of the message. To the contrary, I think that the situation described means that brands matter *more* now. The overwhelming nature of micro-communication and hyper-targeting content make it increasingly difficult to evaluate messages on their own merit. Shorthand communications like brands are essential to filtering and examining the content. In this way, brands can stand in for whole conversations....conversations that don't have to had anymore. Why re-communication your brand promise with every communication? Isn't it easier to have your brand do that for you? It sure is easy for the purchaser. They don't have the time or attention to constantly re-learn who you are. Shorter, more direct communication is always better, and good branding makes that possible.