Rebranding OSA to OPTICA

In 2021, we completed a two-year global rebrand campaign for the premier society serving the optics and photonics community, known for many years as OSA, the Optical Society. The Matter PR team helped reposition OSA as ‘Optica’, the society advancing optics and photonics worldwide.

The two-year campaign saw us work collaboratively with Optica, developing an integrated communications and PR campaign that included clear objectives, audiences, messages, phasing and tactics, and supporting Optica to deliver it.

The initial stages of the rebrand began in January 2021, with a ‘pre-launch campaign’ of podcasts, blogs and media stories nine months ahead of the official September 2021 launch date. This pre-launch campaign reflected and conveyed the organisation’s brand principles of championing the optics and photonics field, being inclusively global, operating at the forefront of technological change and delivering unsurpassed quality.

The internal team within Optica worked around the clock to transform their website overnight to launch the new brand and communicate to the hundreds of thousands around their network. This, combined with the media relations outreach, social media activity and preparedness and enthusiasm of the trained leaders, resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response from staff, members and partners who love the new name, the modern and inclusive brand and the direction of the organisation. Optica is now truly a society for today and tomorrow and has delivered against its aim to be the leading forum in light science and technology.

Sensitive to the Society’s vast membership that had understandably grown attached to the identity and brand of the 105-year institution, we approached VIPs, past presidents and key influencers within the community to deliver a detailed ‘case for change’ presentation.  Matter PR condensed the society’s reasons for the rebrand into a presentation video featuring leaders and influencers from around the organisation to educate and inform key stakeholders of the changes ahead of launch.

Matter PR created and delivered communications training for more than 100 of those key stakeholders to explain the change and upskill trainees in the art of having conversations about the rebrand. We created communications materials, including a launch video, press release, key messages and FAQs, using them across a range of outlets including the organisation’s website, internal communications packs and with the media. Engaging, clear and consistent messaging was critical.

Global Media Campaign

The team ran a media relations campaign to mark the launch on September 20, 2021 resulting in 126 articles, reaching a global audience of 823 million unique monthly readers and an estimated readership 14.9 million people.  Using its network across Asia, the Matter PR team delivered this media outreach across key optics and photonics markets and general science and news outlets that were critical to Optica, including many based in Taiwan, Japan, and China, as well as the US, UK, Europe.

The Matter PR team secured personalised interviews with former and current presidents of the professional society with the leading light science publications, including Electro Optics, and Photonics Spectra. PIC Magazine used the launch story for the front cover of the October edition and recently filmed and edited a roundtable interview with past Optica presidents, Ian Walmsley and Stephen Fantone.

News outlets in Japan were interested in the news angle of Satoshi Kawata as incumbent president and the first to represent their region. The story resonated with many tier-1 publications in Japan and resulted in substantial media outlets giving coverage. The notable publications in this region included the Asahi Shimbun – one of the four most prominent newspapers in Japan and Asia and dating back to 1879 – and Toyo Keizai – a Tokyo-based book and magazine publisher specializing in politics, economics and business.

Both the healthy representation of China in the Faces of Optica campaign and the strong presence of China in optical science and technology were factors for drawing interest from Chinese publications. After reaching a selection of national publications, the story generated a high volume of coverage in news, science and technology publications. Those outlets with the largest audiences included the Hong Kong-based NetEase Interactive Entertainment and Baidu Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by the community of its users with over 100-million users per month

In tandem with the media outreach programme, we ran a social media campaign, complete with messaging and imagery and placement of paid advertising was delivered to the client for use across four key platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The ‘belt and braces’ approach ensured the delivering of key launch messages, video vignettes of people from around the society and the introduction of a creative campaign developed by Matter PR called ‘Faces of Optica’ across the channels.

Faces of Optica

To support the rebrand, Matter PR devised and delivered a creative concept called Faces of Optica, an extraordinary campaign celebrating what it means to be a member of the optics and photonics community and what makes it so unique. Illustrating who OSA members are through a series of portraits Matter PR showcased Optica’s incredible diversity and geographical reach.

The portraits and videos were captured by multi-award-winning photographer Sam Barker, a regular contributor to Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, commissioned for high-profile campaigns for Hugo Boss, BBC, Glenfiddich, and Land Rover. Sam has shot subjects as diverse as David Hasselhoff, Sir Lewis Hamilton, and the world’s most successful CEOs to tribal chiefs in Africa. He has captured images of Sir David Attenborough to commemorate his 90th Birthday and UK astronaut Tim Peake to celebrate his first mission into space.

The Faces of Optica campaign supported our post-launch activity and drove messaging and awareness of the global and diverse nature of Optica, and featured portraits of 70 sitters from around the world. Against the challenging backdrop of Covid and travel restrictions, Sam and the Matter PR team were still able to shoot in locations around the UK, Europe and the US. With a solutions-focused approach and a determination to complete the project successfully, the team were also able to bring in partner photographers in Japan and China and through the use of the latest technology, Sam was still able to oversee every aspect of those shoots in order to deliver his distinct and precise style of imagery. The result was also captured as an engaging video which we translated into six languages that represent key communities within Optica’s global remit.