"Brand Simple" by Landor brand thought leader Allen Adamson is an excellent book. It explains one of the key functions of branding, which is to simplify the decision-making process.
People have trouble making decisions. They don't want to be wrong. Wrong feels like trouble - you're a fool, you're out money, you're inferior, it's irrevocable.
Branding is there to reassure you. More than that it takes the place of thinking.
The Staples easy button symbolizes branding used in this way. "That was easy." (If only the store were not confusing!)
There is a saying, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."
There is "analysis paralysis."
I overheard someone say in an elevator that there are way too many brands in this country. It's hard to buy even a bottle of milk. "One percent, two percent...it's a cow!"
But used well a brand connects the skim milk drinker who is allergic to lactose to precisely the right product.
People who succeed at work use branding in this way as well. They make it simple to choose them over somebody else.
Their actions broadcast who they are:
--Want an expert in ---? Choose me.
--Want a good team member? Choose me.
--Want a professional with good judgment? Me again.
But the most important thing they do is broadcast good intentions.
I don't want to work with crooks, liars or creeps - who does?
More important than anything else I look for trustworthiness. If someone consistently demonstrates that, they are a brand I prefer to invite to the table.