Friday, several Putman editors were treated to a daylong briefing in the Clock Tower in Milwaukee. Much of this week, I will be reporting here on the things we learned, and the questions we asked. Brands are funny things. Rockwell found this out, as they were swallowed by Allen-Bradley to become Rockwell Automation in the past few years. During the tumult, Rockwell allowed its and Allen-Bradley's positive brand values to be abused. This doesn't appear bad at first, but brand image lags performance, sometimes by years. I attended the CSIA meeting several years ago, when Chris Vaidean from Rockwell stood up and introduced himself, to a loud chorus of boos. Rockwell's reaction to this was to significantly change the way they do business, worldwide, both with system integrators and end-users, and this year, RA received an award from CSIA. Big Change. But many people still think of the Old Rockwell. Brand image does not change as fast as the company itself can. Great lesson. Rockwell learned it. Now they are ready to re-make their brand image. Rockwell's new tag line, and corporate marketing campaign is Listen, Think, Solve. And comparing this tag line to what Rockwell is actually doing, I find it completely congruent with Rockwell's positive brand values. In other words, they are talking the talk that they are already walking. I keep saying this, and it is true: This is a great time to be an end-user. All the major vendors, and most of the second tier vendors are back with a vengeance, funded, aimed, directed, and pumping out new products and services (especially services) to benefit the end-user. I have to say that the days of One Big Automation Vendor Left Standing are gone.