Invigorating to watch optical sort itself out with the complex issues of branding as it relates to messaging, retailing and generational loyalties. The all-important layer of vision care and the constantly evolving health insurance factor adds distinct complexity to every action and reaction from medical professionals, patients and consumers. And the inter-communication between all of these players filters through a very unique corridor of messages to the point where information overload can become intense.

If you are looking to not only stabilize but progress, you must be mindful of a most important point of view in all of this: YOUR self and YOUR brand.

It feels like I’m doing that second by second these days for myself as a writer, editor and communicator, as well as for this brand I’m proudly allied to by choice… 20/20.

More than a few years ago, my then publisher and always friend Jim Vitkus dubbed me a “brand warrior,” and that has been my mantra. Since then this brand has grown beyond what I would have ever considered as potential back when Jim knighted me with the task of keeping it ever fresh and ever onward. There’s the whole layer (in all of its facets) of social media. There’s the website now in its FIFTH design since instituted years ago. There’s the powerful women’s armada of editorial and art team players writing, editing, designing, covering events and keeping a high profile at every face-to-face instance with readers, vendors and all levels of optical professionals. There are the support sustainers of publishing, marketing, research, sales, production and circulation behind every word and visual. There’s the strongest link of continuing education ever in optical trade publishing.

And backdropping ALL, there’s this print magazine of 20/20 you are holding in your hands and hopefully paging through as you build even further on this connection between you and me… the 20/20 brand warrior.

I note this at a time where magazines in print are asserting a new stance of importance especially with Millennials looking to best allocate their time in a super saturated communications scenario. Books have taken a powerful digital hit. Social media is increasingly becoming the realm of festering fake news. Internet websites are struggling with the balance of valid edit supported by at times intrusive and manipulative advertising. But PRINT magazines are in fact thriving and growing so long as they stay on point, well designed and curated via great writing and cautious editing. I can live with that and ask you to join me in this brand… this community house called 20/20.

James J. Spina