Opticians need to do emotional linking.
It is rare for opticians to feature in studies of high-street retailers that consumers love. Customers do not feel the connection with opticians that they do with John Lewis, M&S, Apple Stores and Boots.
When you consider the vital work opticians do to give us accurate prescriptions, diagnose hidden diseases, keep drivers safe, help kids to read in class and help adults manage their fading eyes, it should be an intimate relationship.
Fickle, however, we are. We take an eye-exam with one retailer (on which the optician loses money) then buy specs from a rival. We buy on price and online, and challenge the value of premium lenses. Few aspire to own a collection of specs.
Lobbying agency APCO has looked at the emotions different brands inspire in people to find out if they provoke curiosity, pride, admiration and empowerment; whether they were deemed accessible, whether people would be “proud to be associated with them" or "reflected who you are".
Disney was the top brand, a 92 year old company where the consumer knows exactly what it stands for: fantasy, fairy tales, the heart of family fun. Disney are masters of emotional linking.
We should know what a top-notch optician stands for too, protecting and nurturing the eyes that let us enjoy the world, while offering us a range of great products that make us feel good - innovative new lenses, face-flattering frames fitted to our cheek-bones or lop-sided ears with the intimacy and skill of a tailor.
Opticians could develop their emotional linking if they did just two things better. One, invent any excuse for consumers to 'drop in'. Most Brits neglect their two-yearly eye exams, and opticians need footfall. Even if it's just for minor adjustments, the equivalent of a 'fringe-trim' in a top-notch hair salon, the customer could leave transformed by their 5-minute visit.
Secondly - and a great footfall trick - is to show-case the amazing breakthroughs eye-wear offers the consumer, twinned with these "tailoring" skills. Gravitas PR runs the press office for 100% Optical, the trade show at London Excel, where designers launch remarkable inventions and the newest product designs.
Opticians who tap the energy of this show and plug it back into the high street can show the 61% of Brits who wear specs and lenses that a half-hour with them will refresh them more than the priciest caffè latte.