Dymero - 4:55 pm on Jun 21, 2013 (gmt 0)
Seems like there's two discussions going on here. Some people are advocating brand building to be independent of google whereas others recommend it as a way to prosper in Google.
They go hand-in-hand, but you have to be willing to diversify your efforts. Promote your site/product to people in other ways. They hear about it from you and if they like it, they share and mention it. Then more people share it and mention it, and some of those people also link to it.
At some point you're now ranking better in Google than before. But if the bottom drops out, it won't be as devastating as if you focus solely on ranking in Google with SEO tactics, because you'll have other sources of traffic.
I also agree with muzza64 to focus on building a real business by providing a good product or service, and also on getting word out about it. Even informational sites and forums can focus on being the best resource for their "customer."
Do that, and get the word out about it, and you have a chance to do well outside of Google, and perhaps inside it as well.