The great brands of our time are not about what they are. They are about what they represent.
Apple, Sarah Palin, Harley Davidson, Tom's Shoes... In each case, the reality of the product means far less than what the brand represents.
The facts of iPod battery life, knowledge of world affairs, gas mileage and foot comfort are almost irrelevant. What matters is the Jungian rush these brands connote, their ability to allow us to identify ourselves and fellow tribe members, the sense of belonging and labeling and the journey we're on (or not, our choice).
Great brands represent something bigger than themselves. You can create this accidentally if you're lucky, but you can create it on purpose if you try.