As environments have become more competitive, so the nature of brands has changed. To appreciate this, depth interviews were conducted with twenty leading edge brand consultants. Brands have evolved beyond their earlier role of differentiating and legal devices and a more integrated view emerged, matching manufacturers activities with consumers associations and perceptions. The experts saw a gap between theirs and managers more simple views of brands due to brand managers' lack of consumer orientation and short- termism. For consumers, experts believe brands act as shorthand devices for information and trust, facilitating purchase decision.