Click here to order the November 2015 issue in which this article appeared.
Young Living is a company that has mastered the art of continuous growth. Since its founding in 1993, the company has steadily built a loyal following of customers and distributors across the globe.
It employs a proprietary “seed to seal” manufacturing process at its advanced essential oil distillery in Utah, and it owns farms around the world. Chief Operating Officer Travis Ogden says
Young Living operates under a commitment to quality, and that promise is reflected in everything the company does.
As of mid-September, Young Living counted 31,700 followers on Twitter and 488,859 on Facebook.
Ogden, who joined the company four years ago, recently talked with Direct Selling News writer Andrea Tortora about what contributes to Young Living’s success. Excerpts follow.
DSN: What strengths are responsible for Young Living’s consistent growth?
OGDEN: The focus on quality products. We are a product-focused firm, not an opportunity-focused firm. All we do is to provide the highest-quality products possible to help our members live healthier and happier lives. Our products are free of synthetic chemicals, and they deliver unmatched purity.
Product innovation and quality are our core strengths. We are always thinking about what we believe people will need today and in the future. We have launched things recently that no one else was doing because we saw it as a need and a better alternative.
DSN: How are you using technology and social media in new ways—and to your advantage?
OGDEN: On the technology front, we leverage a variety of cutting-edge tools to help us manage and communicate with social media audiences. We use these platforms to help us more easily engage with our communities. We are always trying to enhance those technology tools internally as well as provide them to members.
On the social media front, if you search #youngliving you will see how active we are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. We love social media, and we embrace it. I think that by embracing social media we attract a younger demographic. In the past we had an older demographic, and in more recent years it is a younger, more social media-savvy consumer. Social media has helped us spread our message.
We really try to leverage social media to tell the story that Young Living is not just a product, it is also a lifestyle. Our corporate team puts out pieces on social media, and people share those messages and repost them.
DSN: In what ways do you make and maintain customer relationships that lead to sustained growth?
OGDEN: We have Essential Rewards. By signing up, you are treated more on a VIP status level. It includes discounted shipping, priority processing in the warehouse and even products that might go out of stock; we reserve those for our Essential Rewards customers. There are also exclusive bonuses given to Essential Rewards customers.
People are incentivized to stay in Essential Rewards for longer periods of time because they get more benefits. They get points that act like frequent flyer miles that can be redeemed for product purchases. It not only encourages retention of our customers, but it also helps emphasize our focus on products.
What usually happens is people join to buy, and at some point in time—sometimes it is years and sometimes it is months—they stumble into the business opportunity and start sharing it with family and friends and start getting some income from us. They fall into it, but many of them move up the ranks of distributors and become big leaders.
DSN: How key are vendor relationships to this success?
OGDEN: Vendors are key to any business success. What we focus on is selecting vendors that share a common mindset with ours. We look for quality, and we do routine audits to ensure the quality is there.
We also look for vendors who see the world in the way we do. We want them to not be satisfied with the status quo, to grow and expand with us. They are partners, and we want them to be as successful as we are so they need to be able to grow with us and not be complacent.
DSN: What else makes Young Living such a strong entity?
OGDEN: One of the biggest things is our culture. It has built up over the years. We are product-focused, and coupled with that is a company that is not focused on profits. We are focused on helping people live healthier and happier lives.
That is a message everyone can buy into and is a part of. We all want to help people live better lives, and our products and messages help people do that.
That culture has been in place since day one. Our owners started this company to give these products to people who need them—not to get rich. We exist to live happier and healthier lives, by continuing to look at the world we live in and creating products that will help and change over time.
Our products come from looking at people in general and what their needs are. Gary Young, our founder says, “I’ve never developed a product to sell the product, only to fill a human need.”
That speaks a lot about who we are and what our culture is, and it is a big reason behind our success the past 21 years.