CainIV - 1:04 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)
The essence is to recognise brand, not by the number of links you have with the same anchor text, or the exact match domain [ EDM ], or the number of times a phrase is repeated, but by ever increasing improvements to the "quality detection".
And lets face it, its easy for Google to measure brand signals at a rudimentary level, flag websites that do not convey those strong signals, and THEN consider filtering based on the SEO signals they receive. This might explain why brands that still build a considerable number of exact match anchors end up relatively fine long term - they simply don't fall under specific thresholds.
As you mentioned, its all a way to leave links as a primary metric for "quality detection".
Brands acquire links. Generic sites build them.