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College of Optometrists hires Grayling for new PR push

The College of Optometrists has handed its PR contract to Grayling following an intensive pitch process. Grayling’s brief is to boost the profile of the College and the expertise of its members to consumers and public health partners.

Ian Humphreys, director of member services and communications, said the College had decided to re-pitch its PR in line with its new three-year strategic plan.

“We have achieved fantastic coverage in the consumer media in the last five years, but now the College is widening its PR brief to support all areas of our work, particularly around healthcare policy. Building on the excellent work carried out by 3 Monkeys we wanted an agency who would help us increase understanding of the role of optometrists among the public, government, national standard setting bodies, commissioning organisations and opinion formers,” he said. 

“We were impressed by the quality of all the submissions we received, but Grayling showed an in-depth understanding of the issues faced by optometrists within the changing healthcare landscape, and an appreciation of the importance we place on member engagement and satisfaction.”

Kathryn Ager, Grayling associate director, who will lead the account said: “We are really excited to be working with the College.  Research shows people value their eyesight more than any other sense, but many take their sight for granted and have limited understanding of the expertise optometrists provide. This expertise ranges from examining children to identifying more complex eye problems or chronic illnesses such as diabetes. 

“The campaigns we develop will be designed not just to generate media coverage but to have a wider impact on the behaviour of consumers and commissioners. We want to ensure that both the public and commissioners understand the key role optometrists play at the heart of the NHS,” she said.

The two-year deal will also see Grayling lead coordination of the College’s broader promotional activity including its advertising and digital work.

Grayling starts work this month and campaigns will be delivered by its Public Sector, Health and Skills team. The team, which recently topped PR Week’s annual public sector league table, also works for clients including the NHS and Lloydspharmacy.