With more competition than ever to be your patient’s choice for eyewear, creating an optical that inspires your patients to shop is essential to a successful private practice. Bill Gerber has made a name in the profession for his ability to create a truly effective and unique brand experience in the optical – increasing patient loyalty and sales. His OMG! Optical Marketing Group has been successfully bringing independent practices to their full potential in branding and customer experience for over 20 years. More recently, he added Contentlinq to his optical retail offerings – a cloud-based digital asset management system that allows private practices to have customizable digital point of purchase advertising displayed on frame boards or with optical displays to help better tell the brand story of the products in your optical.
With so much expertise in crafting the ultimate customer and patient experience, Bill looks to brands outside of the optical world for inspiration. How did Starbucks create that emotional bond with customers that they wanted to sit and hang out inside their cafes? How did Nordstrom establish itself as the envy of the retail store experience by using it’s own branding and imaging ahead of the luxury brands that it carries? Creating a personal brand story is the essential path to optical success, and that story comes from carefully crafting the logo, look, and language of the office (both written and spoken). It’s something that you won’t likely get in your Intro to Practice Management courses in optometry, but can make the difference between a successful small business and one that looses sales to bulk optical chains and online juggernauts.
What has Bill focused on as the biggest driving trend to upgrading your optical in 2017? Branding eyewear as a complete package – the frame with the lenses instead of the frame and then the lenses – is a big focus. As eyecare professionals we’ve been separating the two for so long, it’s sometimes hard to recognize that another way is possible. But to a patient, a complete pair of glasses needs high quality in comfort, style, clarity, and performance – and that means the frame and the lenses must work together. His advice to practitioners is to focus on lens branding just like they do frame branding; not to forget about the importance of the lens. His clients see digital point of purchase material extolling premium anti-reflective coatings and progressive lens designs with equal focus as the frame brand marketing on display. It’s clear with this approach that the lens has as much importance in the optical process as choosing the frame in the patient’s view – a major change for many opticals around the country (which is what has given rise to online competition extolling frame style without much importance on optical lens quality).
A big thank you to Bill Gerber of OMG! Optical Marketing Group for his generous time on the podcast with us. Listening to this podcast is a master class in optical marketing design! You can contact him directly with questions or requests for his services at firstname.lastname@example.org.