I’ve been working with technology since my family got our first computer: a Smith-Corona Acer PC. Like most teenagers, I enjoyed computer games. My favorites were LHX Attack Chopper, KGB and Nibbles.

Nibbles is a simple version of snake. The interesting part about it is that the source code for the game was included on the computer.

So what did I do? I dug into the code and found out how to make it possible to go right through the walls or start at a very high level. Basically I learned to cheat.

From there I took my one and only programming class: Pascal. Our final project in the class was the user interface for a Star Trek inspired transporter systems. We used Einstein's famous equation to determine the amount of power necessary to transport a specific mass over specific distances.

It was a partner project. I worked with my friend Amit. I wrote all the math and internal workings. He wrote the user interface. The problem with this approach is that I handed the brand of our transporter program to Amit. That was a mistake.

What Does Brand Have To Do With Technology?

Why would a technologist care about brand? I'm glad you asked.

First let's define the term brand. I don't want you to think I'm only talking about a “logo” or even “visual identity." I prefer Zee Frank’s definition of brand as “the emotional aftertaste of an experience.” Understood that way, your technology significantly impacts your brand.

Why do we advise nonprofits to move away from PayPal as a donation processor when it's cheap, easy to setup, and strong on data security? Simple. The emotional associations with PayPal aren’t encouraging to donors. PayPal reminds them of that time they bought that knock-off pair of shoes on Ebay. This isn't they type of association nonprofits want donors to have with their donation process.

Look at the launch of Healthcare.gov. It reinforced the negative brand impression that government programs are confusing, poorly administered, and broken.

How have Lyft and Uber grown so rapidly? The technology creates a better experience. You don’t have to wrestle your wallet or purse out at the end of the ride. There's no haggling over paying with a credit card over cash. You don't have to worry about how much to tip. You just get out.

Your technology and your content define your brand experience. At A Brave New we understand that. We never relegate technology as a final “production” step, but as a full and equal player in the creative process to produce the positive brand experiences that will set you apart.

Written by: Jacob Smith
Category: Branding, Technology
January 3, 2015
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