Why brands need a Google+ Page
Logged in to Google, if you search on brand terms using google.com, the Google+ Page appears on the right hand side of the search listings (see the search results for Expedia below). The Page appears regardless of whether you follow the Page or not and lists as high in the results as PPC advertising in the sidebar. Since this placement (based around searches for brand terms) is free, easy to set up and quick to implement (brands only need add a Google+ button to their website to get this listing) it is highly advantageous and gives a quick data capture/ community element to natural search listings.
One of the key aspects for brands to consider is that Google has prevented competitors from being able to occupy this space with advertising, giving emphasis to brands with a connected Google+ Page instead (see a natural search for “Expedia” using Google.com below):