How Design Can Help You Succeed in Difficult Times

Date: September, 24, 2009 / Author: Jennifer Anderson
Categories: Do's and Don'ts, Ask The Expert, Growth and Profit Tips, Office Design FAQ, Opening First Practice, Productivity Tips, Selecting Colors, Trends

The Editor's Note column in Vision Monday this week stopped me in my tracks:

"Those eyecare practices and optical retailers with distinct and consistent positioning in their markets, to their patients and in all dimensions ”the exam lane, the dispensary, the physical presentation of the office, store and windows, advertising campaigns and positioning on the Internet ”are the ones who will not just tread water but gain ground in this tough climate.

Marge Axelrad, Vision Monday Editorial Director

When I see Marge at Vision Expo I'd like to give her a high five and say "Right on, sister!" This is exactly what we have been saying and doing for our clients for years. 

All the visual elements of your practice need to send the same message to the world. To do that they all need to be consistent in color, style and feeling across the board.

But how do most OD's do it? Piecemeal, which is absolutely the worst way possible. You get the office design done by one company, the logo by another and neither of them ever sees (or cares) what the other is doing. Then you hire another outfit to do your website and they do it THEIR way and just plunk your logo into the header.

You end up with three different designs and three different color schemes. This isn't positioning. This is a mess! It looks like a do-it-yourself hodge-podge and the message it sends is: "We're just another eye doctor" or worse, "We're bargain-basement."

It always puzzles me how so many OD's profess concern about being perceived as professional when their visual marketing elements (office design, logo, website, advertising, etc.) are anything but.

Older OD's may never understand the value of positioning their practice with a consistent visual presentation, but our younger clients are a different story. They give me a lot of hope for the next generation.

They don't want a cookie-cutter look for their practice. They see that branding their practice with a unique look and feel right from the start is critical for their future success. They know that starting on a shoe-string and looking like everyone else could relegate them to a shoe-string income.

One of our startup clients (photo on left) doubled her projected revenue in her first year in business. That was about three years ago. She recently called me with the news that  she will be needing our services again because she's putting up a whole new building next year.

Why did she succeed so well and so quickly? Location was certainly key; she went into a brand new shopping center in a high-income area where the surrounding competition was asleep at the wheel. Her brand-new office positioned her at the top in that area from the moment she opened because, in vivid contrast to the rest, her office had the look and appeal of a high-fashion boutique. 

Her logo, sign and website share the same look, feel and color scheme as the office. She presented a totally professional face to the world from day one and it paid off. This strategy works when you apply it steadily and consistently throughout your entire practice.

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