Jorge Vergara
President and CEO
Omnilife
/
View from the Top

Results-Oriented Supplements to Change Bad Habits

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 14:35

Q: What are the distribution advantages that you have at Omnilife?

A: We work directly with our distributors who in addition to using the product have the advantage of directly approaching the consumers, which gives us a personalized treatment. We offer courses related to human development, business administration, finance and the basic business tools to be successful as an Omnilife distributor. We also have direct telephone lines for different questions that our distributors and consumers may have about our products or business. Our top-selling products in Mexico include Omniplus, Power Maker, Magnus, Optimus, Thermogen coffee and tea, Chiva Cola, Aloe Beta and Dolce Vita.

Q: What is the difference between Omnilife and similar competitors?

A: The only thing we have in common is that we do supplements. We make powders and liquids and our competitors mostly do tablets. We also focus on the special needs of the population, in this case Mexico and we are chasing results instead of money. We make sure to cover all our customers needs before they spend all their money on goods that are not necessary for them. We have many differences in what we teach, how we teach and of course, in our products. Another important thing is we respect the culture and flavors of the country we are working in.

Q: What are the strategies for recruiting distributors from ages 18-25?

A: Our group, NFuerza, was created when we saw there were many young family members of distributors that also wanted to become independent distributors. Young people have realized that we appreciate their talent and that they can start their own business through this company. Today we have about 300,000 young distributors in different countries, and we expect this number to double by the end of this year.

Q: What strategies do you use to retain this talent?

A: First, we use their language. We make a yearly trip where we take about 4,000-5,000 of the biggest sellers on a cruise. The young people also organize their own trips, like one they did recently to a music festival in Brazil. We also seek to take some advantage of the technological era through bonuses and incentives in which distributors can win a tablet or smart phone to help their business to grow faster. We have a close relationship with them and this helps retention rates.

Q: What are the regulations implemented by COFEPRIS that affect your business?

A: We have a good working relationship with COFEPRIS because when we started the company there were no other supplement companies in the market in Mexico. Since then we have had a close relationship with the authorities. Omnilife has been closely involved in the regulation of the dietary supplements industry, a situation that has influenced countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica and others in which Omnilife is present. We continue working and promoting the improvement of the regulatory framework for our category, which allows technological progress in the development of new products.

Q: How is Omnilife trying to help with Mexico’s problem of chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity?

A: Our philosophy is that rather than changing bad habits drastically, we could orient them to nutrition by consuming our products. There are habits that are part of the Mexican culture such as traditional foods, which tend to have a high caloric and fat content with a low nutritional contribution, that could be harmful to people. People are more receptive to us when we show them results that habit changes can provide when they supplement their diet with our products, which is why we are convinced that the best way to motivate people is by showing results rather than just preaching to them.

When I started the company, I was fat and sick and I wanted to lose those habits that were harming me. I believe that people start learning through results. Education is very important but it is not enough. For example, the educational campaigns against smoking have not really accomplished much. The people also need to witness the results for themselves before they make any long-term, real changes in their habits and lifestyle and this spreads to other people.

Q: Omnilife is already present in many Latin American countries. To which other countries would you like to expand?

A: We will expand to Russia by September of this year, India and Nigeria by next year and Australia by the beginning of 2018. These are countries that I take a personal liking to and I feel comfortable approaching them and attending to each culture.

In five years, we expect to be in at least 10-12 more countries, especially in Asia and other countries that we feel a connection to. it is also important to keep in mind that we will manufacture the products near the country they are being distributed in, since it is more expensive to transport than manufacture in some cases. Right now, we manufacture in Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. We plan to manufacture products in Russia and India, especially since the flavors and products will be tailored for those cultures.

Q: What is the program Reto 90?

A: Reto 90 is a program to help people change their eating habits, having consequently some weight loss. It is a 90- day challenge that aims to ingrain the habits change. The winner gets a monetary prize. It is a whole package, including dietary practices and recommended exercises. It is also used to help teach people better habits so they can continue the positive changes.

Q: What are the new products you are planning to launch?

A: I cannot tell you! twenty-five years ago, we revolutionized the industry with liquid vitamins and we plan to do something similar in a couple of months. We spend a lot of research and development to produce original products that cover the specific needs of that country