Got Milk?

November 13, 2013

During my first term on the board in 2006, a survey of AOA member and non-member optometrists revealed that both groups felt the No. 1 priority for the AOA should be to tell the world all about “who we are and what we do.”

It is interesting to note that in the year prior to this survey, the AOA engaged the services of Hill and Knowlton to begin, for the first time, a public awareness campaign for the profession. And it has paid dividends, increasing the number of media impressions for optometry to more than a billion last year alone.

But is it enough? While I wish we had the resources to conduct our own “Got Milk” campaign, we simply do not. But there are other ways in which we can tell the world who we are and what we do.

Two years ago, in a well-orchestrated effort among the AOA, Vision Council of America, Essilor and VSP, the “Think About Your Eyes” (TAYE) campaign was born. It consisted of four 15-second commercials that highlighted the importance of eye examinations while also promoting the expertise of doctors of optometry. The campaign was tested in nine targeted markets across the U.S.… and it worked… increasing the frequency of eye exams between 7 percent and 9 percent in the campaign markets.

Back by popular demand, the Vision Council launched Think About Your Eyes again this year, investing $15 million dollars in the project in addition to contributions from more than 5,000 optometrists.

As of July 1, the Think About Your Eyes website received more than 710,000 unique hits with an 83 percent click-through to the doctor locator.

AOA members receive a discount for participating through the end of the year, so visit the Think About Your Eyes website for more information (www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com).

Think About Your Eyes has been very successful in helping promote optometry’s message about “who we are and what we do.” But we should never overlook the fact that each of us has ample opportunity to promote the profession as well.

Optometrists perform an estimated 88 million eye examinations a year and, simply put, that is 88 million opportunities to share our message.

Whether you run streaming videos in your office, post informational pieces about your services, have a Facebook page for your practice, get involved in community service, participate in the InfantSEE® or VISION USA programs, promoting the good news of optometry should begin at the front door and carry forward with each step of the patient’s visit and beyond. So have fun with it.

New magazine

In more good news for optometry, the AOA News is celebrating its 50th year in publication. Just as the AOA updated the website to take advantage of the newest developments, we’re also updating other aspects of the AOA News.

Starting in 2014, watch for a print publication with a new look that offers more background along with the AOA’s unique, insider perspective. It’s a new look and a new approach that aligns with optometry’s leading role as a provider of essential services in today’s new world of health care. Be sure to watch your mailboxes.

Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., AOA president

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