Warby Parker’s Return On Investment

At the end of August, it was announced that Warby Parker raised $245,000,000 in funding from D1 Capital Partners, Durable Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, and Baillie Gifford.  Why are these huge investment firms putting their money in Warby Parker?  Obviously they expect to get a significant return on their investment.

0How does Warby Parker differentiate itself in the marketplace to attract this kind of financial support (and by the way, this is just the latest round.  There have been at least 7 other multi-million dollar rounds of investment since 2011 into the company).  Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in its success.

Warby Parker is a marketing company. They compulsively focus on building their brand with consumers. “He who tells the best story wins.”  “The best product doesn’t always win.  The best marketing does.”   These are statements to live by in the marketing world.

Marketing – start with the name.  Not Warby Optical.  Eye Care and Optical aren’t even in the name.  They derived the name from a Charles Dickens character that the founders thought sounded cool.  And it also gave them a platform that could mean whatever they built the brand to mean.  Warby Parker has had a singular focus on turning the name into a great brand by understanding the consumer’s mind and matching their product, and consumer experience, with the consumer. Social Consciousness – Warby Parker was also one of the earlier companies to promote their policy of providing free pairs of glasses to people in need.

Implement ant Tweak – this is one of my favorite sayings.  Warby Parker started as an on-line only marketer, but realized that the online market for eyewear would never be the dominant model.  After a number of years, they went to brick and mortar to build their market share.  Now they have a huge number of stores in many states.

How can we learn from Warby Parker?  The first thing is to build your practice’s brand.  How can you differentiate the patient experience at your practice, and drive that differentiation into your consumers’ minds?  Once you have focused on the differentiated services, you need to market that differentiation at every opportunity.  Whether it is dry eye, myopia reduction, sports vision, best frame selection, best sunglass center, coolest in-office vibe, whatever it may be…put an insane focus on driving your message!  Again, as mentioned above, the best product (or the best professional) doesn’t always win, the best marketing does!

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