Search Insider - The Inside Line On Search Marketing has an excellent article this week titled, Houston, We Have A Problem by Robert Murphy which discusses the direct link and correlation between search engine results and branding.
I could not have said it better myself.
Here's just one kicker from Search Insider:
"Does your company really need to pay attention to your brand's reputation in search results? Is it that important? Well, given that 400 million searches are conducted in Google alone everyday, you might want to consider it. What's more, according to Jupiter Research, over 80 percent of Internet users turn to search engines to find information. EIGHTY PERCENT. So should you worry if a Web site or two that have negative things to say about you start popping up in the search results when prospects and customers search for your brand or your products? You do the math."
Although you have to register at MediaPost to have access to this article, it is well worth it.
The article can be read here: Search Insider - Houston, We Have A Problem.