A campaign for connection

James Arrow, managing director for Boots Opticians, told OT  about the group’s new campaign and brand platform

In August, Boots Opticians launched a new brand identity, encouraging patients and members of the public to “see what’s possible” with good vision and highlighting the importance of eye health.

James Arrow, managing director of Boots Opticians, gave OT an insight into the new campaign, the reasons for launching an updated brand identity, and what is ahead for the optical group.

Could you tell us what went into the decision to reposition the brand identity of Boots Opticians?

First and foremost, the platform was developed to inspire people to prioritise their eye health. Boots Opticians, as part of the wider Boots brand, has a wealth of trust and care credentials that has only grown throughout the pandemic. We really wanted to lean into our strengths as well as create a new identity that helped us to talk about all the many unique products and services that you get with Boots Opticians and the amazing people that work for us delivering those services. Some of which, people may not know about.

We are moving into a new period of time for the business and now need to switch focus onto longer-term growth. The new brand platform is a key part of that plan.

What has informed the new branding?

We conducted an extensive piece of customer segmentation work at the end of 2021 with agency BoxClever to understand, more than ever before, about our existing and potential customers. Through a many different research stages (both quantitative and qualitative, including immersive customer workshops with the Boots Opticians leadership team) we identified the uniting, as well unique, drivers when choosing an optician.

It revealed some new, interesting insights but moreover, it really helped to clarify our thinking about the customer needs we could best address both now and in the future. Customer and colleague care is at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. This was the jumping off point for our brand platform work and has meant that we have developed something that is truly based on what customers are looking for from us, and how we could position ourselves to address these needs.

First and foremost, the platform was developed to inspire people to prioritise their eye health


What went into the design process for the See What’s Possible campaign?

It took almost eight months from inception to launching See What’s Possible because we wanted to get it right. Our cross-agency WPP team – The Pharm – made up of VMLY&R, Ogilvy PR and Mediacom, supported us with strategic and creative delivery. We chose Nick Jack Davies as our director because he really understood our vision of wanting to depict uplifting but real-life scenes in an emotive way that customers could connect with and also be inspired by. Nick has an amazing roster of films and brands he has worked with and we knew from the moment we saw his proposal that he was the person to work with. We filmed the advert and shot the photography in various parts of the South East, using lots of different and fun techniques to create the first-person perspective effect. This included a car that was driven from the roof.

What has the response been to the new campaign and brand platform so far?

We have had an incredibly positive response to the campaign so far. People just get it. It is early days but we have seen a really strong response from customers both in terms of sentiment and our key performance indicators. What has been incredible is the response from our store colleagues. We launched the new brand platform at the same time as work we’d being doing around our purpose, vision and priorities and this has landed brilliantly.

We also recently signed Davide Sanclimente, winner of this year’s Love Island, to promote the new platform launch – his first paid collaboration since departing the villa. The response to this has been fantastic on social media and in our stores.

How is Boots Opticians seeking to illustrate the important role of optometrists and practice teams?

Optometrists and store teams are critical to our business and central to the experience we give to our customers. They have an important role in helping our customers have clearer vision and our advert demonstrates the importance of the optometrist–patient relationship. They are proud to be a part of this campaign, and have been hugely engaged with the launch – especially when Davide turned up at our store in Manchester!

After the challenges of the pandemic, how is the company recovering and responding to the longer-term effects both as a business and an eye care provider? Does the new brand platform reflect or feed into this work?

The optical industry has faced extreme challenges over the last few years, and we’ve faced these head on at Boots Opticians together as a team, supporting each other and working safely. I am extremely proud of how all the teams pulled together to deliver exceptional care for our customers and each other. Thankfully, we have seen strong customer demand return. Boots is a trusted brand that has grown throughout the pandemic and the See What’s Possible campaign aims to further connect us with our customers and keep them engaged.

What is next on the cards for Boots Opticians in the remainder of the year?

The remainder of the calendar year and next financial year for Boots Opticians sees more to come from the See What’s Possible platform from both a marketing and trading point of view. However, with the cost of living crisis we are working hard to support our customers and colleagues through this challenging time, such as ways to pay and offering value through our products and services that can support them in their eye care and eyewear needs.