AOA member magazine earns prestigious Gold Circle Award

April 14, 2020
Award-winning redesign in 2019 enhances reader experience and accommodates busy AOA members.

The AOA's member-exclusive publication was recently honored by industry leaders for creativity, innovation and efforts to move optometry forward.

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) announced April 9 that AOA Focus is the 2020 Gold Circle Award winner in the member print magazine redesign category. With 189 entries across 15 categories, the Gold Circle Awards competition recognizes the premier marketing, membership and communications programs among associations and nonprofits.

"We are very honored to receive a 2020 Gold Circle award for our association magazine redesign," says AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D. " AOA Focus is an extremely valuable member benefit for doctors of optometry and optometry's students. From AOA leadership to our writers, publisher and our volunteer Content Review Board, many people contribute to the success of the magazine. AOA Focus is a key part of member communication."

"This award, like all that the AOA achieves, reflects the essential, high-quality care our doctors of optometry deliver every day in communities across America," says AOA Executive Director Jon Hymes. "Thanks to AOA doctor and student members, and through the visionary efforts of the Board of Trustees, hundreds of volunteers, affiliates and a 94-person-strong staff, we maintain a laser-like focus on serving our members and their patients while supporting the continued advancement of the practice and profession of optometry. Although our members know us as a leader, an innovator and a relentlessly effective force in health care, it is a high honor to gain this level of recognition from the nation's top peer professional associations." 

Striving to deliver the content members need, the publication underwent a complete redesign in fall 2019. The goals of the redesign were to:

  • Enhance the human connection with imagery and stories of real people in action.
  • Build authenticity by shining a spotlight on members.
  • Evolve the reading experience, with added entry points and varied story types.
  • Modernize the magazine to increase the appeal for members of the future.
  • Make takeaways and calls to action clear and easily accessible.

Building on a 50-year track record of success established by the AOA News, AOA Focus delivers high-impact and engaging updates, in-depth analyses, and personal insights from AOA members. AOA Focus is one of many membership benefits for AOA doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric staff. Unlike other industry publications, AOA Focus offers fuller, deeper exploration into key issues affecting AOA members, with an emphasis on the AOA's niche of insider coverage of advocacy and regulatory issues for a legislated profession. Published bimonthly, AOA Focus engages AOA members, delivering the latest news in optometry research, eye care advances, legislative and regulatory updates, practice management, and other relevant issues.

In 2013, the AOA embarked on a complete communications paradigm shift. Along with introducing a new website with a page devoted to daily news updates, the creation of AOA Focus was a core element in both shifting from a print-to-web approach to a web-to-print model, and adopting an integrated, multi-platform content management strategy.

According to the 2019 AOA Member Engagement Survey, 87% of members—a 3% increase from 2018—view AOA Focus as a valuable member benefit. The survey was completed after the redesign was implemented and member feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

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