Following is an elaboration on some of the practices identifed a previous post.
People will know you for what you tell them you do
Managing your brand is more than just coming up with a name, a logo and a tag line. It is about constant communication to your customer base and prospect base. I was always amazed in the dotcom world at how effective some companies were at marketing themselves. I saw a lot of traditional "bricks and mortar" companies who spent a lot of money to rebrand themselves as an eCommerce company. For example a company presented themselves as an indirect goods eCommerce company. In reality they sold staplers, paper clips, etc. The message sounded a lot more strategic and exciting. Though many companies went so far it bordered on deceptive, there were lesson to be learned. A company should brand itself in the direction it is going, not where it is. There needs to be a balance or you will loose credibility. If 95% of your business is reprographics, but the part of your business that is most interesting and has the potential for growth, why not brand yourself as a document management company (that also does reprographics). The more you emphasise and communicate the document management services the more customers will associate your brand with document management.
If you don't brand yourself the market will brand you
If you do not communicate effectively and consistently your brand and value proposition the market will brand you. This may not be the way you want to be branded. This could range from a shortened brand as illustrated in my previous post, or the market may put you into a category you don't want to be in. We were contacted recently by Wide Format Imaging who was doing a story on RIPs (Raster Image Processing). They wanted to know if we wanted to be included. Although PLP's background is with RIPs, our solution has evolved to a more extensive workflow solution. We did not want to be branded as a RIP.
Consider making your company brand the same as your primary product and service
If you are striving to keep your branding simple you should consider having your company name the same as your primary product or service. This is particuly true of you are trying to make strides into a new market. People only have so much room in their brain to file your brand. Customers can confuse your product names with your company. I can't tell me how many people refer to their PlotWorks software as their "PLP System". PLP is not the name of the product. It is our company. I have also seen this with Informative Graphics Corporation. They have a viewer product called Myriad. Myriad was a strong brand, but very few people knew that is was made by Informative Graphics Corporation. They then created a web based product called Brava. I was in a meeting where a company was trying to decide if they should stop using Myriad and switch to Brava as if they were switching to a competitor. They did not realize it was developed by the same company. A company that did a great job with this strategy is Agile Software Corporation. They grew their company very fast and developed a very strong brand. The brand is simple, easy to remember, and extraordinary. The name of the company is Agile, and the name of their product was Agile. They put "all of the wood behing the arrow" to market and brand themselves. It worked.