Case Studies: Hugo Higa M.D.

Breaking Out of the Fish Pond

Dr. Hugo Higa of Aesthetic Vision Center is an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in medical and cosmetic issues involving the eyes, eyelids and midface area.

Dr. Higa started his business in 2003, and immediately jumped into the competitive ocean of LASIK surgeons. His first commercial ran on KHON for a year. The commercial pitted him directly against laser surgeons who had had a five-year head start advertising laser vision correction.

After a year of mild success, he began working with Kukui Marketing. Dr. Higa really needed help marketing his dual–specialties, finding the right niche and creating a position in the market.

Kukui advised him to market what he was really good at and what he liked to do: cataract replacement, droopy lid and ptosis surgeries.

Kukui established the position of “Inspired Confidence”. This is based on the thought that people with vision problems may be a little less confident going about their daily lives. It is also likely there are some people who like themselves, but would like to improve how they look a little, or a lot. It is also possible that once people improve their vision, they might want to improve how they look.

Dr. Higa’s marketing position is expressed in the tagline “See How Good You Look!”

Kukui also renamed his business from the generic Eye Associates to Aesthetic Vision Center, a name that spoke to his dual expertise.

Using the marketing position as a guideline, Kukui worked with a creative subcontractor to design a new logo to be used in broadcast, print and collateral.

Media was placed on the local television station where many of his desired target of older Japanese people watched regularly. Dr. Higa was signed up for a value plus annual package that maximized the frequency of his message.

Honolulu newspaper advertising takes advantage of the economic strip positions on the bottom of the Island Life and Hawaii section front pages to give him maximum visibility. The strip ads anchor the marketing message and avoid the possibility of being positioned by his competitors.

In 2005, Dr. Higa began giving his “What to Know About Aging Eyes” and “Strategies for Facial Skin Rejuvenation” seminars at recreation centers, libraries and for clubs and organizations. Kukui also secured quarterly seminars at Pali Momi Medical Center.

Kukui structured and wrote in the second year with Dr. Higa. Kukui secured a KHNL news story which spiked web visits to over 7,000 in the days following the newscast.

The direct–zone tabloids, “What You Need to Know About Aging Eyes” and “Strategies for Facial Skin Rejuvenation” were written and produced by Kukui. To keep costs low, the Honolulu Advertiser was contracted for printing and distribution. The tabloids were distributed in key geographic zones where older people resided and who may be droopy lid or cataract candidates, or who may be interested in approving their appearance.

Over run copies were printed at an economical rate and are passed out at seminars and expositions. Periodically the tabloids are re–inserted in the newspaper zones further amortizing the production cost.

Dr. Higa started with a file box of patients and was a thriving business of over 7,000 clients and growing when Kukui concluded engagement.