By Linda Conlin, Pro to Pro Managing Editor

Last month, Deborah Kotob, 20/20 Magazine Director of Education, attended the Opticians Association of America State Leadership Conference in Memphis. There, Deb announced Jobson Pro to Pro as the OAA media partner. For more than 90 years, the OAA has been dedicated to the advancement of the American optician. From their Mission Statement, “the OAA is the collective voice of the opticianry industry. The ongoing mission of the OAA is to work with members, partners and other professionals—both inside and outside of our industry—to assure that opticians receive the recognition, respect, opportunity and protection you deserve. Likewise, we work tirelessly to further a positive and informed brand image for opticianry, in both local and national markets.” We at Pro to Pro, dedicated to education for opticians, find this media partnership to be an exciting union!

Now, let’s think about that phrase “brand image for opticianry.” According to Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia, branding is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.” Couldn’t we all use some of that? The OAA ‘s website features insider interviews, videos and tips from branding and marketing expert Erik Tyler, who is working with the OAA on marketing and branding for our profession. Here are some tips you can explore:

  1. “For all intents and purposes, YOU ARE A BRAND. Consumers are sizing you up, making judgements, forming opinions and sharing them… They’re deciding whether to engage with you or to steer clear.” You can develop your positive personal brand by discovering and nurturing the core identity for which you want to be known.
  2.  Does your personal brand match your brand image? Brand image is how others perceive you. Is it the same way you see yourself?
  3. Erik Tyler: “There hasn't been a clear brand image among the public as far as what an optician is exactly or why anyone would need one. I think the public sort of knows that an optician has "something to do with eyes," but I don't think there's been an awareness that would help anyone distinguish between an eyewear salesperson or counter worker and an optician. So I'd love to see the field of opticianry gain some clarity and, I'd even say, status in the eyes of consumers.”
The OAA has developed campaigns such as What’s an Optician, That’s What We Do, and Opticians: We Help You See, to educate consumers and develop our professional brand image. You can get more information on the OAA website, (What you see there might just make you want to become a member!) From there, we need to step up with education, enthusiasm and professionalism in what we do. You can learn about the type of service that keeps patients coming back and implementing a service-oriented approach to patient care that can become your brand with our CE, Engineering an Experience, at