Back last November, there was a caseload of stories about the Hostess Company disappearing into bankruptcy, and with it its roster of brands. At the time our brand metrics pointed to the fact that it wasn’t likely that competitors – let alone consumers – were just going to sit there and let Hostess brands’ ‘use-by’ dates expire.

Then, and now, when we say “brand” we don’t mean just something that people know, we mean something that people feel – and emotionally bond to – and feeling that way, go out and buy. Yes, production wherewithal buys space in the category, and competitors are sure to welcome the opportunity to purchase production and distribution facilities at bargain prices. But when it comes to customers, brands matter. That’s why real brands always get a second chance, and when there’s high engagement and loyalty, customers are six times more likely to give them a second chance. And that increases both your brand’s rational and emotional shelf life exponentially. We even recorded it, and invite you to listen the “The Shelf Life of Real Brands.”

So we were not surprised to hear that Flowers Foods – the company that owns the Nature’s Own and Tastykake brands – is looking to add Wonder Bread to its brand list – to the tune of $390 million dollars. That’s for 20 bakeries, 38 shipping depots and, in addition to Wonder, brands like Beefsteak, Home Pride, Nature’s Pride, and Merita. The deal is, as all deals are, subject to higher offers from other companies like Grupo Bimbo. Hostess’ snack food brands, like Twinkies, will be sold separately. With private equity firms already lining up, the final outcome of where the brand roster ends up is complex.

But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to marketers. Both business and brands have gotten more complex. It used to be that you could define a brand as a singular concept you own in your prospects’ minds. Now you have to factor in their hearts. And sometimes, even their stomachs.