Pearle Vision, the eyeglasses retailer, has embraced a more premium positioning as it seeks to engage with consumers in new and compelling ways.

Doug Zarkin, VP/CMO at Pearle Vision, discussed the brand’s core proposition – namely, “Genuine Eye Care from Your Neighborhood Doctor” – at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data and Measurement Conference.

“Every word in that brand positioning statement means something. You’ll notice that there is no ‘and’ in that statement. You’ll notice that there is nothing about frames in that statement. It is about eye care,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Pearle Vision moved from low-cost to high-touch consumer engagement.)

“And it’s that ‘is’ proposition that has allowed us to dial up the experience so that we could eventually get off the discount [positioning] and become the premium brand that we wanted to be.”

This positioning is inspirational rather than aspirational, too. “Aspiration is like a Victoria Secret model. You’re never going to look like that. Inspiration is something that you can inspire to, that you can be inspired to become,” Zarkin said.

On Pearle Vision’s part, it’s inspiration is to become a brand that does not have to rely on special offers, but which instead is regarded as desirable for more compelling reasons.

“Value equals experience divided by price,” Zarkin said. “We believed that we could be a premium brand, because we’re selling premium frames and premium lenses. But, damn it, our numerator had to be bigger. The experience had to be bigger.”

Reaching a small number of influential consumers was another goal. “We wanted that community influencer. She is the one that’s making the decisions not only for herself, but for her family, kids, husband, parents,” said Zarkin.

In-depth research found that various consumer subgroups – split out by, say, age, ethnicity, health insurance status, and so on – also shared a common characteristic. “What we had was universality,” Zarkin said.

And the most important criterion was “an eye exam by a doctor that checks for overall eye health beyond vision correction … was genuine eye care,” he reported.

One ad turning this principle into action featured tennis icon Billie Jean King, and “flips the script and reinforces why it is about trust; it’s not about [being] the cheapest. But it is about the best”.

Sourced from WARC