The award of the £120,000 contract is to position the college a ‘key player in the NHS’, while also making the public aware that its members do not ‘just dispense glasses and carry out eye tests’.
Ian Humphreys, director of member services and comms, said: ‘We wanted an agency that would help us increase understanding of the role of optometrists among the public, government, national standard setting bodies, commissioning organisations and opinion formers.’
Grayling’s involvement ties in with the college’s three-year strategic plan that ends in 2014, which aims to position the college as an arbiter of professional standards and good practice.
Kathryn Ager, Grayling associate director, who heads the account, reports to Zena Wigram, head of marketing and communications.
Ager said: ‘We want look at campaigns that don’t just generate media coverage but have a wider impact, which are policy, science and research-led.’
Part of her research, she said, was to visit a high street optometrist and find out about the services available.
Ager added: ‘Research shows people value their eyesight more than any other sense, but many take their sight for granted. Optometrists don’t just dispense glasses, they look for conditions such as colour blindness and can identify chronic conditions such as diabetes.’
The college has 9,500 practicing members or fellows, and a ‘critical’ part of the campaign’s strategy is to attract new support, raise membership satisfaction and increase the college’s participation in events.
Grayling will also lead co-ordination of the College’s broader promotional activity including its advertising and digital work.