For Joy Hawkins, she had a unique experience a number of months ago that helped to confirm that Google weighted local ranking factors differently for branded search terms than they do for non-branded ones.
But something that has to be explained first before we can continue is that, according to Joy’s experience, the ranking factors for these are different.
The branded 3-pack is generally what you get when you search things like “sears dallas” or starbucks ” or “state farm chicago.” (However, I frequently see Google showing branded 3-packs for non-branded queries. I’ve always concluded this means that Google somehow “thinks” the query is a branded search when it’s really not.)
If you search your basic, generic categories, such as “shopping mall chicago,” or “auto insurance Baltimore,” you’ll get a non-branded 3-pack.