I hope my subject line wasn't more misleading than illuminating.
Independents trade as much on their "individuality" for their appeal to potential buyers as "brands" do on their "brands" - thus, I will base my PERSONAL buying decision on the INDIVIDUAL actions of independents, as much as I might let my PERSONAL buying decisions of a brand be influenced by the qualities - prestige, history, consistency, etc - of a brand.
That said, the INDIVIDUALS of a company have as much influence on my feelings on this matter as the so-called actions of a company (afterall, what is a company but the aggregated actions of individuals?)
Easier to assess for a one or five man operation, much harder for a multi-thousand person "company."
This is not a simple subject, cris, at least, not for me, and certainly not something that can be meaningfully discussed, without gross risk of misunderstanding or erroneous conclusions by others, in a few short posts or even multiple threads.