I am conscious that I have not completed my answer to the question from David Koopmans.
Adriana Lukas has answered the question succintly in her Musings on meaning of brand.
Not sure I can top that but here are some thoughts from small business land. Before reading on please remember that:
1. Severn Delta lives in a FMCG manufacturing world and
2. I am an old washing powder man and whilst you can take the boy away from the OMO you cannot ever completely take the OMO away from the boy!
Brand in my land starts with the name on the box. The logo stamped onto the bar of soap. Back in the history of my history the Brand was seared into the surface of a bright yellow lemony cake of soap as a mnemonic of quality. As a promise of satisfaction. A reassuing signal that "we will not let you down". "This bright yellow cake will do exactly what you expect and when it does and you need some more you will look for my name again".
122 years on this holds true.
It makes no difference whether it is the name over the door of the hotel, the bright orange tail fin on the aircraft, or the name of that hot off the press photo blog package that has knock you off your feet features (and that your seven year old daughter is now addicted to!).
Seth Godin tells us this isn't enough anymore and that the experience needs to be Remarkable. Remarkable inspires evangalists. I buy that.
But I am also very very aware that once we send our Brands out into the world. They stand on their own and what they are and who they meet and hook up with out on the footpath will in time define them as much any intention of mine...