Jon Udell makes and interesting statement on his weblog:
Here's the best take-away from the talk. Now that we have largely replaced human touchpoints (sales clerks, travel agents, etc.) with software, it is the behavior of software, not human employees, that projects the corporate brand. So every business is now in the software business, and the quality of the software's behavior is a crucial success factor. Amen to that. However we get there, high-quality software behavior is a goal on which we can all agree.
This is an intriguing idea. There's a relatively famous case study (from Harvard, I think) about Sears during one of their turn arounds. As part of the changes they made, they made a concerted effort to change the attitude and vision of the sales clerks on the floor since that was the only interaction most customers had with the company. I know Wal-Mart makes significant efforts here as well (my Dad is a door greater!).
For many companies, the software comment is very true and not just for Amazon and eBay either. While citizens will certainly have many different interactions with the State of Utah, we touch thousands of them every day at www.utah.gov. The quality of that interaction is our brand.