Google Business Pages and Google Brand Pages serve two different purposes that are often confused. The main difference between a Google Business page and a Brand page is a physical location.
If a business has a physical location, then that business is eligible for a business page. Equally, if a business has an office location, but physically serves people at their location, then they are eligible for a business page, except they select a “serviced” business location.
The crucial element in both cases, is a physical location.
If a Business operates only online and does not serve people at their location or at the customers location, then they need to use a Brand page.
Business Page vs Brand Page
Google Business pages appear in Google Maps and in Search results for the business name in the knowledge panel.
Google Brand pages, only appear within the Google+ verse, with some snippets appearing in search results, they don’t appear in the knowledge panel.
Can I Have Both a Business & Brand Page?
A business that is eligible for a Google Business Page ( physical location requirement ) can also have a Google Brand page, however a website that is only eligible for a Google Brand page cannot have a Business Page.
A Brand page is useful when a business has multiple physical locations and the Brand Page is used for the Brands voice, being singular and unified, whereas the individual physical stores pages, post localised information and updates.
A singular business would not benefit tremendously from having both a Business page and a Brand page and, it also requires more work to maintain both pages.
Like for Like Page Performance
Performance from a singular business that has both a Business & Brand page. Posts are cross posted on a like for like basis.
The Brand page does not generate traffic to site as the Business page does by naturally appearing in search results.
Personally in this instance I would merge the Brand page into the Business page and just have the one business page to manage.
How Can I Tell The Difference?
Classic Google+ Layout
New Google+ Layout.
This will eventually be the only layout visible as Google is slowly removing Classic View.
The Business page shows the business address, in the case of a serviced business, it will still have the city showing. It also has the larger verified tick next to name of business.
The Brand page, does not show address and a smaller tick next to the connected website, if the website connection to page has been verified.
How Do I Manage My Google Brand or Business Page?
The easiest way to manage your Google Brand & Business Pages is via the Google Dashboard. Please Note that the Google My Business app no longer supports Brand Pages, so it would seem that desktop is the only option until / if Google updates or creates a new app for this.
Business Pages in Dashboard
Brand Pages in Dashboard
For quick edits to your page appearance in Google+, you can use: https://aboutme.google.com/, you must be logged into the account. If you are managing multiple accounts, then add your Brands or Business pages URL to the Query.
https://aboutme.google.com/ Add : /b and /Your Page URL/ https://aboutme.google.com/b/112830747194102377087/
This allows basic edit details such as: Logo change, Cover change, Tag line and Story / Description.
Ultimately for a business that has a physical location I would always recommend a Google Business Page over a Brand Page, for the visibility in search and Maps.