Totally agree- too often branding and UX are separated. I was fortunate to work on a Start-Up for one of the big banks here in Australia and was in the position of designing the UI and branding at the same time. It was great being in a position of honing the branding elements whilst working on UX. For example, we were able to alter the brand and UI colours for improved accessibility and test different fonts and font weights. Sounds simple, but if two different teams were working on those things, it could have been cause for disagreement that could have affected the timeline.