Reframing Eyewear
Marketing for the
Digital Age

#BeingSeen: Reframing Eyewear Marketing for the Digital Age

5 years ago · 5 min read

Here’s a secret about those eyeglasses that you’re about 50 percent likely to be wearing as you read this: They’re the second-most licensed product in the U.S.

Here’s why that’s a big deal from a marketing standpoint. Marketing a licensed product, such as eyewear, which is sold in a retail environment requires a dual-pronged strategy. It requires careful attention to the brand partnership behind the particular line of frames, along with attention to where those glasses are being sold.

So when forward-thinking company Nouveau Eyewear reached out to my company, Zen Media, to market a new line of frames, my team knew that we’d need to establish that brand connection first and foremost.

Nouveau’s challenge was unique in that we weren’t just tasked with marketing a new line of frames by True Religion, a high-end designer known mainly for their denim. We needed to drive foot traffic to Walmart Vision Centers, where the frames, which retail for around a hundred bucks, would ultimately be sold,

High-end luxury brand, meet price-conscious retail outlet.

Energized by the challenge, we drew on our own research, dove deeper into the True Religion brand, and came up with what we were confident was a winning strategy:

Focus on inclusion, diversity, and authentic self-expression, and target millennials and Gen Zers who are both price-conscious…and fashion-forward. 

Here’s how we did it.

Profile of the True Religion consumer

Thanks to our own proprietary research, we knew that connected consumers—and that group includes nearly everyone who is making purchases today, although it especially applies to Millennials and Gen Z—are idealistic, yet discriminating.

In other words, connected consumers place an incredibly high value on authenticity, and are quick to disavow anything that seems disingenuous or “paid for.”

They’re also independent, yet interconnected.

What this means is that they’ll spend a great deal of time and effort researching purchases to make sure they’re making the best possible choice—but they’re also highly likely to depend on reviews and opinions from trusted individuals, including influencers. That’s why we decided to develop an influencer campaign to kickstart eyewear sales.

The theme of the campaign would be #BeingSeen, which tied into both the designer eyewear we were featuring, and the deeper theme we wanted to convey: that “being seen” for who you really are is a powerful thing, and this is what True Religion has always stood for. The brand’s trademark rebel spirit and unique, stylish frames celebrate personal authenticity, unabashed individuality, and diverse representation in the media.

When we combined this insight with the research we’d gathered on True Religion’s existing customers, we were able to create buyer personas that we wanted to target.

Now, it was time to find the right influencers.

The birth of #BeingSeen

We knew that we wanted to partner with influencers from a wide range of ethnicities, interests, genders, and styles, who could all speak to our theme of being true to oneself.

We ended up recruiting eight diverse influencers, asking each to answer the question “What does #BeingSeen mean to you?” on their social media pages, adding a photograph of themselves wearing their True Religion frames.

Influencers linked back to the campaign landing page we created, powerofbeingseen.org, where their followers could instantly locate their nearest Walmart Vision Center and find their own perfect pair of True Religion frames.

This campaign also spoke directly to connected consumers’ idealism and their desire to see brands stand for something they can be proud of. (And make no mistake — connected consumers bring a discriminating eye to whether brands are walking their talk.) Millennials especially want to know their purchase was making a positive difference, so the #BeingSeen campaign included a strong element of social good through True Religion’s partnership with Restoring Vision, a global nonprofit that provides glasses to underserved communities around the world.

The #BeingSeen campaign is still underway, but initial results have defied our optimistic expectations. The highly personal, deeply human theme is resonating not only with existing True Religion customers but also with those who’ve never made a purchase from the brand.

What’s more, the focus on authenticity and individuality fit in seamlessly with True Religion’s existing brand identity. To give their new product line a boost, we chose to showcase the values they already stood for; and once we had consumer attention, the well-designed eyewear did the rest.

Key takeaways from this campaign that may help you with yours? Start with a great product, know what motivates your audience, and amplify existing brand values.