Shifting visions: How to differentiate yourself

We are living in a new reality. The following article explores how you can shift your vision to strengthen your competitive edge and connect with your patients during turbulent times. Our goal is to set you up for success with tangible tools and examples to use in your own practice, focusing on how to differentiate yourself.

Small businesses form the backbone of many communities. Although we saw a dip in local buying in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, increased time at home and restrictions on travel have focused attention on concern for the locality. This means small businesses must now help their employees brainstorm creative solutions for engaging customers, updating websites and soliciting and incorporating customer feedback.

The result - new opportunities to attract local patients and set yourself up for success in your local community. The key to this will be being present and letting your patients know who you are and what value they will gain from your business.

The value of differentiating

Differentiation is the process of standing out in some way. In the case of the Eye Care Industry this can be around Independence, Expertise, Locality, and Excellent Personal Care. Differentiation sets you apart from others.

Even when you are a small business your competitive edge tells people why you are different from others in your space. It focuses on the value you bring as a company, and the change it will make in someone's life.

Your unique strengths alone are not enough. Customizing your marketing efforts to local audiences needs is what is going to set you up for success. To create effective marketing you must mix what is unique about your business with the needs of your audience. Some patients might come to you for expert advice and the latest lens technologies whilst others want to try on new designer frames. The core of your messaging should always reflect who you are, but you can tailor your messages towards the needs and perceived value of the patient.

Adapting and implementing your vision

- What do you stand for as a business? What sets you apart from others? How do customers talk about you? What are your key strengths and what are you most passionate about? Plan in a session with your team, and discuss what key points are the most important for your business.

- Secondly, segment your customers based on their needs and the value they seek. We see several customer types, varying from Fashion orientated attitudes, Continuous vision Care attitudes, Avoident attitudes, and Seeking Information attitudes. All these groups seek different types of value

- Now is the time to define what you want the service experience for all segments to be based on, based on your refined differentiated positioning. What is the most important aspect about your brand that the audience wants to hear more about? Do you have a one size fits all approach or do you want to treat your audiences differently based on the value they seek? Do they want you to talk about the newest collection of lens designs, or do they seek information on how you provide the best personal care?

- Since tactics should be focussed on activating new and current audiences to interact with you, you should be thinking about an activation strategy. This could include:

  1. Online presence: Do people find you when they google; “Optician near me”, does your online environment mirror your stores’ value proposition? Think about all the touchpoints your customer sees beyond your store that need consideration for optimization
  2. Social Media Drive to store: Social media can help you to tap into new audiences based on location. HOYA has several drive to store campaigns that we can use to help drive engagement. Please reach out if you’d like any support in this area.
  3. Local activities: Take part in local activities that help you tap into new local audiences

- Finally, track your efforts and see what helps you to achieve your goals as a business. Involve your clients in the process and ask for feedback on how to improve their experience.

You will also need to identify where you can build trust and ensure that actions that erode trust are eradicated. This includes tight adherence to social distancing - personal safety will now be demanded across every interaction.

In conclusion, shifting your vision now so you stand out from the crowd will give new and existing patients the best vision possible, now and into the future.


KPMG International (2020, June) Consumers and the new reality. Retrieved from:
Almquist, E. Senior, J. Bloch, N (2016, September) The Elements of Value. Retrieved from
Fylan PhD, F. A Grunfeld PhD, E. Turvey PhD, A. Desallais MA, J. (2004, October) Four different types of client attitudes towards purchasing spectacles in optometric practice. Retrieved from