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Karl Treacher


is the CEO of Brand Behaviour - one of Australia's leading human communication and employee branding groups. You can contact KarI via

An eye for branding Karl Treacher goes undercover io find out which brand can best satisfy

espite the many warnings


received from my mates as a

hormone-riddled teenager, it appears it has finally happened... I am going blind. Not fully blind mind you, more the kind of blind you go when you are'nearing'40 and you begin having difficulty reading things up

hrs optical needs.

CCI waltzed into Specsavers... The initial sensation I had was 'budget'. I felt like there may be a deal somewhere, but finding it while wrestling the 'Best and Less' fans of society proved

close. The technical term for this is'premature

incipient presbyopia'and has nothing to do with the nocturnal activities that accompany adolescence. As it turns out, presbyopia is a natural symptom of ageing that presents as a result of your lenses becoming less elastic and more stiff, and as a result small things (like rvords) become blurred. Now while younger readers may be thinking'rvho cares?', they will probably want to take note when they learn that they too will most likel,v, if they haven't already, lose their ability to focus on near objects. Optometrists estimate that over 25 percent of all Australians suffer from myopia (shortsightedness) and almost everyone will eventually experience some form of presbyopia (long-sightedness). This means that all of us at some stage will require the aid of glasses to perform work functions and simply to read. This being the case I decided to have a good look into the two largest (by store number) eyewear brands that make up the Australian


prescription eyewear market, and how their marketing comes to life through the customer (in this instance'my') experience. OPSM BACKGROUND OPSM (Optical Prescription Spectacle Makers) is without question the Australian household generic name for prescription eyewear. Operating in Australia since 1932, having sprung from the Australian Ophthalmology Association, and with over 200 stores nationally, this brand has enjoyed an 80-year tenure as the market leader.

typical customer. OPSM's brand tag currently reads'confidence guaranteed', referring to the confidence we can expect from their service and the confidence we can feel from choosing the most flattering and appropriate frames for our personal image. EXPERIENCE OPSM was the first store I walked into and the store I chose to do my free (Medicare) eye test. Why? Because it was the first brand I thought of. The store was an tiber-modern set-up featuring projected images and cool, calming colours that helped me feel less anxious about

what the eye test may find.

EXPECTAIION OPSM is in the fortunate

position of nur-

turing the lion's share of the market's brand equity. Group general manager for marketing Rob McKay uses the expression'eye care and eyewear'to illustrate the brand's focus on

fundamental health and fashion needs of the

The functional elements of the experience were clear in terms of where to go and what to do, and the staff wore a smile and greeted me casually. The wait time for the optometrist

minimal and the impression that she left with me was one of confidence and proficiency. was



After being given confirmation that I am not immune from the effects of ageing I was set loose to browse the shop for a set of frames. N{r' expectations were reinforced through this expelience; however, more could have been done to transfer the trust I had built with the optometrist to my subsequent shopping experience. While the store staff were upbeat and helpful, the transition from eye test to shopping was generally unrelated.

SPECSAVERS BACKGROI.IND Specsavers has over 1,000 stores globally and is huge in the UK with the company estimating one in four people in the UK bought their tlames from one of its stores. In Australia Specsavers is new to the market, Iaunching in early 2008 with one of the most aggressive store opening schedules ever seen in this countr,v. Currently there are around 170 stores in Austr alia.

EXPECTAIION Recently a large advertising campaign was launched to introduce Specsavers to the Australian public. While you could be

lorgiven for initially thinking the ad came from the same place as the Commonwealth Bank ads, the simple appeal to our sense of greater value for money became evident and the expectation for function and fashion was pronounced. Specsavers managing director Peter Larson says, "We entered the market to help Australians understand that they don't need to spend a fortune on functional, fashionable eyewear."

EXPERIENCE I waltzed into Specsavers looking for a terrific deal on some designer specs (as

SO WHERE DID I BUY? You may be thinking that I obviously chose to buy from OPSM. Well, I could have, but I didn't. I chose to buy from the third largest (by store numbers) player in the market, and what I consider to be one of the best retail brands across all categories: Laubman and Pank. If I had another 1,000 words available

advertised). The initial sensation I had was 'budget'. I felt like there may be a deal some-

I would tell you all about it, but for now all I will say is, next time you are out shopping, put your marketing hat on and have a good look at brand positioning and personality at

where, but finding it while wrestling the

its finest. M



'Best and Less' fans of society proved unpleasant. After trying some fingerprint-ridden frames on, while getting no support from the two smiling spectator-like assistants, I decide to leave the Hyrndai of eyewear. My feeling is that the brand landed without enough time to think clearly about how to meet customers' needs in person, not just in price.

An eye for branding  

Brand Behaviour MD Karl Treacher goes undercover to find out which brand can best satisfy his optical needs.