I have never attended a marketing course. So now you’re thinking I am the least credible person to talk about branding.
I am a customer and let me tell you what a customer thinks of a brand. When I visit a website and it made me happy, I tell my wife, my friends and my officemates afterwards.
What we tell others about your website is the brand. The brand is the cumulative experiences we visitors had with your website — quality content, together with useful layout, ease of use, and performance, does more to build the brand than pretty logos, cool design, and hip color choices.
If you worry about attention-grabbing images or Flash video introductions on your home pages, then your focusing on the sizzle instead of the steak. Give us visitors something worth doing (e.g. read, share photos with friends) and make sure the experience is as painless as possible.