Ever noticed how big brands fail miserably when they fail to meet their customer’s expectations, but the mediocre ones always stay around despite their below-par quality standards? Why does a star-rated restaurant receive lot of flak if it fails to stand up to its name & fame, while a modest road-side eatery continues to gather swelling crowds in spite of probable lack of quality?
The answer lies in what the customer carries along while going to each these places. In case of a high-order restaurant, one goes with a heavy baggage of “expectations” that is a direct product of the brand’s personality and hence an indicator of what a customer perceives to come his way.
Technically speaking, a brand is the intersection of customers' expectation and their experience. When a customer is introduced to a brand, he meets the brand’s personality, and leaves with a distinct impression about that personality.
The American Marketing Association (and this is echoed by Wikipedia too!) defines brand as "A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."
On the other hand, a brand is a feeling—an attribute your customers and users can easily relate to. It may be anything—their level of satisfaction with a unique experience, expectation of service, assurance of trust and quality. It’s the satisfaction and unique experience of customers that they find in you or in your product distinctively and not with other manufacturers.
A Brand is an impression you create on your customers. In the conflict of self and personality, as per social psychology, self is the idea or the understanding about your-‘self’, whereas personality is your brand and how people see, perceive or know you.
Now your approach and understanding towards your-‘self’ (i.e. your identity) is nothing but branding. It’s nothing but presenting what and who you are. To put it in simple words, branding is the representation of your personality i.e. your brand.
Sometimes you are right in that approach and sometimes not. And that is exactly what happens when your branding personality is not in sync with the brand identity in the market. The personality of a star-rated hotel is "high-class" or "upmarket" which is in sync with the brand identity of "sophisticated dining experience".
And in order to stay in business, one needs to deliver or exceed customers' expectations by striking a balance between the inherent brand identity and its branding exercise (perceived personality).