Branding is absolutely necessary for any business regardless of what it's selling. Most people seem to understand its importance, but they struggle when asked to define it.
Some might say it's the image, how people perceive the business relative to the competition. Others explain that it's the history, everything from the start up to where the company now stands. The truth is that it is both of these things, and so much more.
Branding encompasses your logo, website, history, price, availability, consumer perceptions and more. To keep things simple, think of branding as the effort put forth that attempts to control your brand's "personality."
It often helps to think of your brand as a person. Should it be the sexy and exclusive model that so many fashion companies strive for, or should it be the sturdy and reliable friend, like some of the less expensive car companies try to be.
Whichever personality trait you choose to ascribe to your brand, and their are far more than the two examples we chose to provide, it's important that you are proactive in making that vision a reality. After all, if you don't decide your brand's personality, someone else will.