FYidoctors Taking Steps to Rebrand and Reposition Quebec Locations Under ‘Visique’ Banner
CALGARY, Alberta—FYidoctors, an optometrist-owned and operated optical and eyecare company based here, is rebranding its 55 locations in Quebec under the “Visique” banner that is central to a repositioning initiative. Company executives told VMail earlier this week that the repositioning is designed to bring in the elements of both fashion and great vision care under the Visique name and to change consumers’ perception of optical retailing.
“It’s a change in mindset,” FYidoctors president and chief executive officer Alan Ulsifer, OD, told VMail in an interview. Ulsifer said the new branding and positioning is “really a reinvention of the Quebec story, and also moving toward a medical-diagnostic model, as well.” Chief marketing officer and FYidoctors board member Arlene Dickinson told VMail a new French tagline is attached to the Visique name, “Voir la vie,” which loosely translates as “See Life Clearly.” She also noted that the new Visique bannering began going up in Quebec about 10 days ago and is almost completed and a new Visique website is launching this week. A mass media ad campaign across Canada is planned to break in mid to late August to support the launch of the new positioning and strategy (the television ads in Quebec will be distinct from the advertising in other parts of Canada). Ulsifer said one of the goals of the new advertising is to “change the thinking around what eyecare and optical are in the eyes of the consumer.” “[We] want to make sure that people understand that we are a retailer of fashion eyewear as well as being all about eyecare,” added Dickinson. “We also want people to understand that we are fashion-forward and we are technology forward.” Other FYidoctors’ locations across Canada will incorporate some elements of the new strategic repositioning program, but a decision on rebranding those 150 additional offices under the Visique name has not been made, Ulsifer said in the interview. FYidoctors, the largest eyecare retailer in Canada, operates 203 corporate-owned locations in Canada and also works with 85 Vision Source franchisees. The 55 offices in Quebec that are being rebranded under the Visique name became part of the parent company, for the most part, through acquisitions and were operating under 21 different banners across Quebec, Ulsifer said. Visique is a “hybrid name,” but one that reflects the company’s effort to reposition itself around the elements of fashion, vision and boutique approach, Dickinson said. “We’re super excited about what this is going to mean,” she added. “Now we are going to basically have one brand in Quebec, which is a very important market for us.” Dickinson, whom Ulsifer calls the “architect of the brand relaunch,” is one of the most respected marketing executives in Canada. She has 30 years of strategic marketing experience and is perhaps best known as one of the venture capitalists on the CBC series Dragons’ Den (a precursor to CNBC’s hit show Shark Tank). She has been a board member for FYidoctors’ since 2015. Dickinson noted that FYidoctors conducted plenty of research, focus-group meetings and other testing while considering “a variety of different names.” She added, “This was the name that resonated across the country. People related to this and they took away a variety of different things, [for example] we are a contemporary place for you to get your eyes taken care of with technology and the credibility of the doctors’ perspective.” The repositioning also includes some new operational elements as well as a few tweaks to FYidoctors’ assortment of frames, Ulsifer said. He noted that the company will “ramp up the brands that we carry [and] go to some more luxury brands.” He said they also want to retain a strong assortment of “value” offerings and emphasize the current fashion-forward product, too. “Frames are getting commoditized and what we wanted to do was to make sure that we are attaching the importance of good eyecare to great eyewear,” he explained. “That connection is what we feel is very important.” FYidoctors also has invested to upgrade its technology platform across the company and is working to create an enhanced “omni-channel” offering for patients that will be in place by the end of the year, Ulsifer said.