An original wellness leader relaunches a renaissance revival.
Founded / 1971
Headquarters / Lehi, UT
Top Executive /
Terrence Moorehead, CEO
Products / Health and Wellness
Back in 1972, the “wellness industry” wasn’t an industry at all. It was a handful of passionate, health-conscious entrepreneurs like Gene and Kristine Hughes, founders of Nature’s Sunshine, who were driven to share how nutritional products could change lives. Today, Nature’s Sunshine is poised to reclaim its place as the leader of the industry it helped create.
Working from their small kitchen table in Provo, Utah, Gene and Kristine Hughes had no way to know that the cayenne pepper capsules they were filling by hand would ultimately launch not only their own wellness company but an entire industry. They were simply finding a more palatable way for Gene to ingest an effective, natural alternative to the many conventional stomach ulcer treatments he’d tried with no relief. Kristine’s brilliant idea to encapsulate a natural substance would inspire health seekers around the world to harness the power of nature.
The family business exploded, fueled by the health and fitness craze of the 1980s and ’90s, establishing the Hughes’ places as leaders in the new health and wellness industry with their lines of vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies. But over time, Nature’s Sunshine would find itself a bit lost in the newly crowded industry it had helped build. Transformational changes were needed.
Terrence Moorehead joined Nature’s Sunshine as Chief Executive Officer in October 2018 and began to lay the groundwork for a full brand relaunch that ultimately went live in September 2020. Guided by an exhaustive market research and analysis of both commercial data and the stories of customers, consultants, distributors and affiliates, Moorehead and his team developed five strategies for Nature’s Sunshine’s renaissance—Brand Power, Field Energy, Digital First, Manufacturing Inc. and The Right Stuff.
“These strategies were born out of our history and our culture,” he explains. “We were trying to find a path to what is going to make Nature’s Sunshine relevant and exciting and motivational in the hearts and minds of consumers. And really trying to get back to what it was that made Nature’s Sunshine this great dynamic, exciting company. When we were founded, we were these adventurous pioneers, industry leaders sharing the healing power of nature with everyone. We were constantly experimenting, testing, trying new things, making sure that we were really pushing the edge.”
Nature’s Sunshine had to find a way to revive the brand in a way that simultaneously attracted new audiences and engaged loyal customers. It was a tall order; keep the heart and soul that has guided the company for nearly fifty years while updating nearly every facet of the brand—from bottles and labeling to packaging and unboxing experiences.
“It’s every single aspect of the brand, end to end, highly considered to meet the consumer’s needs,” Moorehead says. “We started with a ton of research. Who’s the consumer, and who would be interested in a product, and in a company like Nature’s Sunshine? We spent a small fortune and a ton of time, more than a year actually, going out and talking to distributors, talking to thousands and thousands of consumers about the brand and a branding proposition, and then went back to them with an actual new articulation of the brand.”
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Long-time customers felt the new branding not only captured who Nature’s Sunshine is today but who the company has always been. New customers were thrilled with the changes, too.
“There was just this great sense of pride around the articulation of the brand,” Moorehead explains. That was with the existing consumers and existing distributors, and then what we found was that new customers, who would flat out reject the brand before, they loved it.”
Nature’s Sunshine currently offers over 700 wellness and personal care products across six product lines: general health, immune, cardiovascular, digestive, personal care and weight management. The company announced record sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 and net sales of $385.2 million for the year, an increase of 6 percent from 2019.
Reenergizing the Field
The brand relaunch didn’t just change the look and feel of the brand; Moorehead’s five-point strategy changed Nature’s Sunshine from the inside out, including a new ordering process, an updated payment system, Autoship options and more. Nature’s Sunshine consultants, affiliates and distributors had a lot to learn in a short amount of time, not to mention during a global pandemic, but this new way of working infused new life into the field.
“I’m so proud of them,” Moorehead beams. “They’ve handled everything, they’ve kept on going, we haven’t lost a beat in terms of new people coming in, customer acquisition is up, meeting attendance is up. Every kind of key indicator that you’d want to look at are all moving in the right direction. During a pandemic!”
A key aspect of the relaunch was a new social selling strategy. The company continues to offer membership options for regular customers to save on products and shipping, as well as a consultant program for wellness advocates looking to build a business. The latest addition to Nature’s Sunshine’s selling strategy is its affiliate program.
“We’ve introduced a new affiliate program that’s designed to bring in a whole new group of people,” Moorehead says. “They’re not necessarily our hardcore practitioners and retailers, but they really are engaged in nutrition and health and wellness. They love to share, and so they’re sharing like crazy. They’re using their networks to share Nature’s Sunshine in ways that it hasn’t been shared in the past. We’ve built in a whole new set of tools to the website so that customers, affiliates and our consultants can all share much easier, with a click of a button on their social media platforms, much easier than in the past.”
Nature’s Sunshine’s field is sharing like never before, through new consumer-facing URLs, a new personalization program, and being paid like never before as well, through the company’s PayQuicker payment solution that compensates consultants within 30 minutes of a purchase.
“We orchestrated the biggest transformation in the history of the company, maybe within the history of the industry,” Moorehead points out. “We’re seeing the results of our efforts as a majority of our distributors are having more success under the new compensation program. And we did it all this during a pandemic.”
Reorienting for the Horizon
Global pandemic notwithstanding, Moorehead and Nature’s Sunshine have had quite the wild ride in the last twelve to eighteen months. But he insists that the momentum the company has won’t be slowing any time soon. The five driving strategies that launched Nature’s Sunshine into a new era will be guiding Moorehead and his team for the foreseeable future. He sees the five strategies as guides that can be applied in new and different ways as the company achieves its goals.
“As soon as a new horizon presents itself, you start doing different things,” he explains. “You adjust your strategy. You adjust your tactics. You adjust your programs, whatever they are. So really, brand power (or any of the five strategies), it’s not so much an endpoint as it is a direction towards it.”
Nature’s Sunshine launched an entire industry simply by seeing a new way to serve people. In 1972, that looked like pioneering a new way to harness nature’s power. Today, Moorehead and his team are building on that legacy, harnessing nature’s power through new products but also optimizing the power of technology, meeting the incredibly unique needs of consumers and consultants, affiliates and distributor entrepreneurs.
“We’re a company with 50 years of only caring about delivering the best quality products in the world, the best ingredients to the world, sharing the healing power of nature with people all around the world,” Moorehead says. ”We have huge aspirations for our company, for our customers and their health, and for consumers around the world. We want to be that nutrition company—that vitamin company of the future. That really is what we want to be all about.”
From the June 2021 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.