Ask any number of people the difference between a brand a logo and you'll get a myriad of definitions. Often when a Graphic Impact client refers to "their brand" they're actually talking about their logo. In fact, even a quite a few designers and agencies sell what they call "branding" but in reality they're actually alluding to logo design. So no wonder you may be a bit confused.
Overly simplified, a logo is merely a graphic element, stylized text, or a combination of the two. An organization's brand however, sums up the relationship between their company and their audience. Branding is about the experience people have when they come in contact with you or your business. A quality brand is something that's earned— it's a company's reputation and becomes the foundation for an organization's value in today's marketplace. It takes time to build, but if nurtured properly, its the perk from all of your hard work of delivering a good experience or product to your customers and that's what should set you apart from your competition. The strength leveraged from a logo on the other hand, is to evoke a memory of that interaction and trigger a positive emotional reaction. Your logo is the recognizable representation of your organization's brand— everything you want it to stand for; excellent customer service, reliable products, and a leader in your industry.
Keep in mind that creating your brand and logo shouldn't be treated as a stand-alone process. A strong brand and compelling logo need to be intertwined with a powerful marketing strategy. It will become the "master plan" to project your brand across all appropriate mediums for your target audience. You may think it's enough to pop a beautiful logo on every touch point such as business cards, sponsorships, website, etc. But to get the desired effect, branding and marketing should be working hand-in-hand. The message the marketing broadcasts needs to be unified, consistent and recognizable. That translates to using consistent brand elements; voice, colors, typeface, and design.
So to sum up, it's not brand vs. logo. Your logo is actually the outcome of the branding process. Make sure you recruit a designer or agency who considers all aspects of what makes up your brand. Beware of cutting corners here. Although tempting, a cheap, free, logo may be an excellent bargain but will look cheap and brand you as a start-up. Be willing to invest time and money here. A true branding professional will explore your organization's vision, value proposition, customer experiences and perceptions. It takes skill and training to properly integrate these crucial insights into the design process and develop an effective marketing strategy that communicates your company's unique message and properly position it to drive growth.