Dutch Ophthalmic Research Centre (D.O.R.C), founded by Ger Vijfvinkel, provides ophthalmic surgeons with the instruments and equipment they need to conduct anterior and posterior ophthalmic surgery. Located in the Netherlands, but with operations around the world, I was asked to help launch a new product to market.

The initial phase of work involved deep research into the brand, its products, the mindset of ophthalmic surgeons, customers and competitors. In addition to my own research, meetings were held in both the UK and the Netherlands to cement my knowledge, but also to work through the strategy together. This involved looking at existing products and naming conventions, in contrast to the competition.

As the project unfolded it became clear that the competition were all talking about either peristaltic or Venturi pumps. When I looked into the technology created by DORC, it became clear to me that EVA wasn’t in fact a pump. After delving deep into the technology, reviewing schematic drawings and talking with the scientists and engineers that were designing EVA, I came up with a new concept. The concept was to set EVA apart from the competition and to call it a fluid control system. Over many conversations and meetings, an iterative messaging strategy and naming design process ensued.

Being in control is critical to eye surgeons. The surgeon must feel in absolute control at all times. Due to the lack of control inherent in the more antiquated peristaltic or Venturi pumps, I realized that this was all about reassurance and actual control. Hence, the feeling that I wanted to get across with EVA, and I wanted to exude through all the communications, was this sense of absolute calm, control and precision;

Imagine conducting an eye operation. What would you want to feel? Well, that is what I visualized, that is what I felt from my research and by empathizing with responsibilities and pressures of ophthalmic surgeons, the communication strategy came to life:

‘VacuFlow VTi is a revolutionary fluid control system. No longer do surgeons have to choose between the imperfections inherent in either peristaltic or Venturi pumps. EVA puts the surgeon in absolute control, all of the time, with Vacuflow VTi.’

With various clinical names being used to describe competitor products, I felt it crucial that the tone and style and choice of words used to describe EVA was more human and sensory. This approach was aligned to DORC brand values and in line with the outputs achieved by surgeons; surgeons help people see again, after all, so it’s an intensely personal, human and rewarding experience.

It became clear to me that heart and soul should play a role in the communications. Balanced of course with the technology inherent in the product, the new name for this technology was to be known as EVA with Vacuflow VTi. This appealed to the technically minded surgeon, which alluded to the core USP of the product; it’s ability to supremely control vacuum and flow.

‘At the heart of EVA is a revolutionary fluid control system called Vacuflow VTi. Vacuflow VTi uses Valve Timing intelligence (VTi). The beauty of our Vacuflow VTi technology is that it eliminates the risk of unwanted pulsation or unwanted flow; it just effortlessly delivers the precise flow and fast vacuum required by the surgeon.’

And so, EVA became more human and lifelike and she is now taking on the world. My strategic planning and copywriting helped EVA launch across Europe. EVA went on to win the red dot design award. Since launch, EVA has performed over 250,000 procedures in more than 250 locations in Europe.

What they say
I was delighted to receive a personal comment from the extraordinary, visionary founder of DORC.

A man of very few words;

“I think this is OK.”

Ger Vijfvinkel, Founder of DORC