Industrial Profile 7/12/2016

Checking In With Scott Sorensen of Gunnar Optics

Scott Sorensen brings a full career of experience in the action sports business to Gunnar Optics, a company that specializes in eyewear to protect our eyes from digital eyestrain.  Originally tapped by Gunnar to be the Vice President of Marketing, Scott recently assumed the role of President.  Check out this interview to learn about Gunnar and Scott’s work there.

What is Gunnar’s primary product and target audience?

GUNNAR computer eyewear is made for anyone who looks at a digital device such as computers, cell phones, and tablets for more than a few hours a day. This is especially important for anyone who looks at these devices in the evening. Our patented glasses are specifically designed and formulated to protect you from digital eye strain(also known as Computer Vision Syndrome). According to the latest report from The Vision Council of America, digital eye strain now affects nearly 70% of Americans.

What makes the product unique?

GUNNAR lenses are specifically formulated to prevent digital eye strain. We are the only patented product recommended by doctors that helps prevent all areas of digital eye strain. Our amber lenses block harmful blue light emitted from digital screens, whichcan cause cataracts, macular degeneration, effect hormone production, and disrupt sleep. Our focusing power prevents eye exhaustion associated withlong-term close distance viewing of a digital device that can cause blurry vision and headaches. Our amber lenses also add contrast to ease viewing adigital screen and soothe the eyes. And lastly, the wrap-around shape of our frames helps prevent dry-eyes by capturing the humidity between the eye and the lens, and by blocking room air currents.

Has the company experienced significant growth along with the gaming industry?

Yes, we have. The first real consumers to adopt our products were video game enthusiasts. Although our products were designed for anyone who spends time on a computer, the video game world immediately recognized the benefits because ofthe hours they logged in front of their computers. These people would spend theirworkday on their machines and then again a few hours a night playing games on their computers. Needless to say, they were a group who experienced digital eye strain. The video game industry is a very tech-savvy and engaged group that is looking for ways to improve their lifestyle and performance.

Where is the next growth opportunity?

While there is still growth opportunity in the gaming industry, we see even more with the rest of the digital device users in the world. 9 out of 10 people spend quite a few hours on their devices each day,and 243 million Americans do so up until they go to bed at night. The artificial HEV blue light from digital devices has many ill effects on the body’s metabolism, sleep patterns, and eye health. Not to mention the fatigue from close distance viewing for long periods of time. Personal health and wellbeing is important for a healthy and productive life. People spend billions of dollars on personal health aids, gyms, age creams, vitamin supplements, and health-related digital aidseach year to protect and enhance their bodies. What they don’t know is that their digital screens are having adverse effects on their eyes and bodies as well.

How long have you been with Gunnar now and what is your role with the company?

I have been with GUNNAR for a year and a half, and am now the President. I joined the team to help grow the company to its fullest potential.This is being done by improving product development, product release schedules, operational costs, and expanding our reach through various channels.

How are you able to put your long history of experience in action sports optics to work in Gunnar’s market?

The two markets(gaming and action sports) are not that dissimilar. The key is building a solid team of believers to help plan and execute our mission. Every brand is only as strong as their internal team andwe have built a strong one. My years of action sports experience helps me build value and desire for the GUNNAR brand while increasing product adoption. The big thing for me is to create a message that resonates with consumer lifestyles and forges a solid connection. In this case it’s about educating the consumer and wrapping it in great fashion. Everyone wants to look good.

Is Gunnar’s roster of Visionaries an idea that stems from building professional athlete teams in action sports?

Yes, it is. I have always said that the action sports industry is highly creative and innovative because of their budget limitations. They have to becreative to be competitive. Visionaries, or influencers, have always been a big part of action sports marketing because they work. The same principal applies to most fan based industries. Leaders influence the people and help drive product adoption. Opinion leaders in the gaming industry are very smart and are leaders for a reason. Our Visionaries at GUNNAR are genuine believers in our products, and truly want to spread the word of how well our glasses help.Visionaries who are real believers make it so much easier.

What marketing initiatives are you most excited about for Gunnar in the near-term?

Our big mission for 2016 is educating the masses about digital eye strain and how our products can help. It’s a real problem-and-solution scenario.so we created a completely new marketing campaign designed to help generate awareness about the effects of digital eye strain. The campaign centers around two humorous commercials illustrating digital devices themselves explaining to their victim what digital eye strain is, and what it does to them. Check out our first commercial: