Unfortunately, for whatever reason 'brand' is seen as airy-fairy, and not really real - or worse, it's seen as the advertising and promotions budget, or just the emotional bit of what a business does. Here are two more fundamental throughts of what a brand is.
Firstly, a brand is a promise kept - it's simply the promise a business makes to the consumer. However, too often organsisations see brands as the interface between the consumer and the organisation: what the consumer buys. However, perhaps more importantly, in order to deliver on that promise the brand is also the central organising thought. What the entire organisation must work together on to deliver.
Secondly, create a strong central organising throught that the entire company understands and can work towards - then reflect that to the consumer - and you're a long way down the road to business success. It's easy to write about - but very hard to do.