Brand positioning

Brand narrative

(Brand & experience definitions)

Product positioning

Go-to-market strategy

Voice & tone

Messaging & communications strategy

Messaging development

Qualitative research & insights


Smart Wearables

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Google confirms it will buy smart glasses maker North in a move that hints at higher ambition in augmented reality tech.

Business Insider - Our focus on helpful devices: Google acquires North (Google)

“Human-centered technology” is neither novel nor original; every other tech company uses the trendy term and claims to be the first to offer it. It’s also an oxymoron, even sometimes a lie — the majority of “human-centered technology” consumes our attention and competes for our time, leaving us distracted and devoid of in-the-moment magic.

So when North, previously Thalmic Labs, came to us with a vision for the future of technology — devices that help us live in the present — and the assertion that their technologies really do, in fact, make people more human, I faced the daunting task of bringing a real “human-centered technology” brand to life, without ever saying such buzzwords, of course.

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Position North as both a technology company and a people company, of equal parts tech trailblazer and friendly partner.

Tell North’s story through the product lens of its first offering, smart eyewear called Focals.

Reframe technology’s role and relationship with humans, in a way that doesn’t require human compromise.


Ambient technology that adapts to us.

Said another way, tech that intentionally gets out of the way to help us be present in new ways.

In contrast to its peers, North puts people first. The lifestyle brand believes technology should feel nearly invisible, seamlessly integrating into our daily lives and adapting to our behaviors, not vice versa. While other brands promote engagement with devices, North encourages natural, unnoticed interaction with its discreet, daily-use technology, which never distracts, and instead heightens the “here and now.”

We knew North’s long-term success would be contingent on people’s acceptance of the idea of ambient technology — its form, functionality and usability — and adoption of it in their daily lives. Something that would take time. So we devised a short-term plan to ensure baby-step wins: North would launch alongside Focals, its flagship product.

Fundamentally, Focals are smart glasses, but we deliberately positioned them in a more approachable, familiar space: the eyewear category. For North to succeed, Focals had to be completely differentiated from its smart eyewear predecessors, who failed to achieve mass adoption. Whereas previous players led only with advanced function and, in doing so, compromised form, Focals took the opposite approach and made form the hero. The result? Fashion-forward, custom-made, invisibly smart eyewear.

Born from North’s mission to equip people with ambient, adapting technology, Focals was a first of its kind — and while I loathe using this term, quite possibly one of the most effective manifestations of “human-centered technology” to-date.

Google agrees: On June 30, 2020, less than two years after its product launch, the international tech giant acquired Focals.

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