Do you practice purchase with purpose?
Is it better to give than to receive? Sure. But it’s best to do both. The nobility and karma you experience when you’re on the right side of charitable acts and social responsibility are certainly rewards in and of themselves. It is not crass, however, to see the potential for profit in pure acts. Again, when you give properly you tend to receive in kind.
Call it Social Good Marketing, Cause Marketing or Purchasing with Purpose. They’re all different names for the same concept – aligning your practice or optical’s public message with a good cause, socially responsible initiative or charitable organization. When this is done correctly and with finesse you actually help the underserved and reap the rightful benefits of your benevolence.
Many optical retailers have yet to adopt a Social Good Marketing strategy. That should change, as those who do have a plan in place are helping both their communities and their bottom line.
Who doesn’t like an initiative where everybody wins?
In the Can
Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
Picture your kitchen pantry. We’re guessing you have enough canned goods to spare. Perhaps that’s why canned food drives are so ubiquitous. It’s not sexy. But it works.
“We had a canned food drive in December to align with our nine-year anniversary. If you brought in a can of food it was 40 percent off prescription eyewear. We had so many people excited about donating!” said Bethany Cassar. She’s now sending thank-yous and sharing the donation total with clients. They’ll remember it and Complete Eye Health.
Not with a Bang but a Whisper
EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis, OH
There’s no end to the self-promotion tactics available when doing a good deed. But, the quiet approach has its merits and profitable benefits.
“We do a lot to support our community, especially our local schools,” says Dr. Cynthia Sayers.
“I find the success not so much in marketing this (which we do, but on a lesser level), but in the word of mouth from patients. We have acquired many new patients based on the fact that they loved that we support the local little league or placed ads in their children’s yearbooks.”
O’Fallon Family Eyecare, O’Fallon, MO
Joe Hegyi of O’Fallon Family Eyecare found a brilliant way to do some good in the community and draw attention to the business while employing good taste and restraint. One of his programs provides eyecare and glasses for people in need. You can read more about that in The Big Story on page 42. Another program, however, sort of touts itself in a brilliant and effective way.
“It’s a monthly donation to local schools chosen based upon Facebook Likes. That’s successful for drawing attention,” he says.
Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
Social good marketing is the norm at Precision Vision, and it changes with the seasons. In August, they donate a portion of proceeds to UR Special, a clothes “store” for at risk kids.
“In September, first responders get free eye exams so that we remember their service during the 9/11 attacks,” says Dr. Selina McGee.
“In October, we give away a Vera Bradley breast cancer frame and anyone with a history of breast cancer gets their Optos exam free.”
December is food drive time. Those who donate get a discount on blue light products.
Pet (Rescue) Project
look + see eyecare, minneapolis, mn
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with animal charities. Most people love dogs and cats and everyone feels good about themselves when they feel like they’ve rescued something cute from a dark fate. (Except comedian Bill Burr. Check out his hilarious bit about dog rescues on YouTube.) Look+See Eye Care combines people’s love of animals and the appeal of free food and booze in a partnership with a local restaurant and shelter.
Keep it Simple
Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
“I feel that by being conscious of the needs in your community you can build your respect,” says Jennifer Leuzzi.
And you don’t have to invent new ways to give back. Stick with the classics like clothing drives and donation jars.
“We do a coat and clothing drive in November for being thankful for all you have. We put in time ringing the Salvation Army bell in December. Every month we have a charity of the month jar for handicap camp, the local animal shelter, kids school supplies, and the town’s Fourth of July fireworks display.”
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of INVISION.