So, what is branding?

Is it a logo, is it a colour, is it a rumour, is it a plane? The word branding is loosely thrown into conversation like people speak with false familiarity about having 'done' France by touristing through Paris for 24 hours. Paris, delightfully is much more than can be fitted into a passing glance, just like a brand is more than its first impression. But if your wallet got stolen in Paris or some beautiful stranger gave you a rose, you would have a different perception...