Branding is dead?
Anyways, I find arguments of branding is dead are often really about semantics. That be some specific definition the mere traditional methods of 'branding' no longer apply. Ho hum.
I don't care what you call it.
What it all boils down to is establishing a level of trust between you and the consumer (customer, client, person, whatever).
The avenues to build that trust relationship have simply increased. Whether it be door-to-door sales, radio, newspaper, television, banner ads, or blogging, it really doesn't matter. All avenues merely establish communication between you and the consumer.
As Hugh says, it's all conversational now. Although, I'd say it always has been. People just have different ways of talking back. They have faster ways of talking back.
Branding isn't dead. Not by any means.
Update: It seems others share my argument on semantics.