Business Week is offering a lesson in branding, and it is using Apple as one example of a company that has got it right.

Starting with the question "Are brands back?" Business Week says: "Well, yes and no. It's not that the doomsayers were all wrong. Media are becoming infinitely more complex. And every year surveys show consumers becoming more cynical about advertising. No wonder so many brands have faltered."

So what have those brands that remain popular done differently? "The savviest brand managers have adapted, creating a new paradigm in which innovation is king, marketing is diffuse and personal, and size can be an advantage," explains the report.

It is for "Thinking Broadly" that Apple is mentioned. Pointing to the success of the iPod, which was achieved despite Apple not being first to market, Business Week writes: "Apple gained the lead nevertheless with a combination of great product design and marketing brains."

But, the report goes on to ask: "Why were consumers willing to accept a computer maker as a consumer-electronics company?" It concludes that it was "because Apple made its brand stand not for desktop computing but for imagination and fun."