January 01, 2015
Strategic Synergy: Creating Qivana’s Sustainable Future
by Beth Douglass Silcox
- Founded: 2009
- Headquarters: Provo, Utah
- Founders: Derek Hall, Founder and CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder and Chief Financial Officer; Justin Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer; Craig Johanson, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
- Products: Skincare and health and wellness
In the decade after the millennium, the exploding market for an ever-healthier beverage sent network marketing companies clamoring for exotic, antioxidant rich fruits, most often found in remote island paradises. The most successful companies—marketing a large variety of antioxidant packed juices, health and wellness, and beauty products—invested millions in researchers trudging through remote jungles, in controlled labs, and in scientists who became jacks-of-all-trades and in-house product formulation teams.
It was within this space that a group of men, those who would eventually form Qivana, decided that they would not be in the product development business at all.
It seemed unlikely to this group of network marketing professionals that breakthrough products would emerge from an in-house team focused on a variety of formulations. So they opted for different path—one that has led Qivana to market four cutting-edge product lines, currently consisting of 21 products within the direct selling spaces of health and nutrition, as well as beauty and anti-aging.
Qivana owners (L to R): Justin Banner, Founder & CSO; Craig Johanson, Founder & CMO; Derek Hall, Founder & CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder & CFO
Everyone Doing What They Do Best
Qivana’s product strategy focused on partnerships with published scientists and university researchers with 10, 20, maybe 30 years invested in health and wellness solutions. They reckoned that true breakthrough products were born in these labs and saw no need to put their own scientific “fingerprints” on any product. “Let the scientists and the universities and the researchers do what they do best, which is develop, formulate and research. Then allow us to do what we do best,” says Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Craig Johanson.
Qivana would bring products into the direct selling channel, giving these scientists, researchers and formulators an effective avenue to reach consumers with their breakthrough products. Then, Johanson says, the company would “turn that product over to our field. Then we let them do what they do so well, which is put that product in front of people and share that message.”
Derek Hall, Devin Glazier, Justin Banner and Johanson sat around that planning table in 2008. Hall, once president and CEO for another nutritional company, found synergy with a former director of finance, Glazier, as well as other industry alums Banner and Johanson. Strategy and development was Banner’s forte, while marketing was Johanson’s focus.
By 2009 they had launched a new company they called Qivana.
Built to Last
“We have a really strong corporate team, made up of great leaders in the industry and some of the best athletes in the world,” says Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “We brought on a top-notch scientist as our Chief Science Officer [Dr. Donald Layman] and brought product lines that we believe are some of the best in the world in their categories. We are confident in our products and our team, and we believe it’s a winning combination that plays out perfectly.”
But, perhaps, Qivana’s founders drafted their own success story when they methodically planned for long-term sustainability. Qivana’s focus is not on next month or next year, but rather decision-making to build a sustainable foundation for the long run. “I see that as a big philosophical difference between us and a lot of other companies,” Johanson says.
Banner adds, “We’re attracting a field that wants stability and longevity. We talk about our 25-year business plan, not our six-month plan.” But short-term growth—double-digit, year over year in each of the company’s six years—has not suffered in the least for their long-range business philosophy.
Product Strategy Breakthroughs
Johanson says, “We want to put together a great set of products that allows people to build a consumer base just out of love of the products and that will then transfer into a business opportunity for people.”
And therein lies Qivana’s strategy and a not-so-well-kept secret: Qivana markets scientifically based, breakthrough products utilizing the direct selling model of distribution. Vetting for new products can take as long as two years.
“We do feel that we get the very best of products.” Banner says. “We can go to the University of Illinois or the University of Texas to find breakthrough advancements.”
Case in point: Qivana’s 2014 launch of SkinShift, a DNA-based skincare line. The product line was developed by Dr. Ruthie Harper, a physician of nonsurgical aesthetics, DNA-based skincare solutions, nutritional medicine, and optimal health and wellness, who has more than 10,000 patient consultations at her internationally recognized practice in Austin, Texas.
Harper’s product, SkinShift, eliminates the guesswork in caring for the skin by creating a unique DNA skin profile for customers. It identifies five key skin-condition factors: collagen formation, sun protection, antioxidant protection, inflammation control and glycation protection. Following an at-home cheek swab test, Qivana recommends a base skincare product line, customized products for unique skin strengths and weaknesses, and nutritional supplements aimed at helping the skin from the inside out.
SkinShift was four years in development before Harper took the genetic-based skincare products direct to consumers online and to medical professionals in 2012. “What we wanted to do was to change the way skincare is done and get the message out that these old ways of doing skincare based on generation or skin type were outdated,” Harper says. “We believe that what you really want to do is understand your genetic blueprint and how that plays out in what your skin is going to do in your 20s, 30s, 40s. Essentially, we’re addressing skincare at a deeper level—a genetic level.”
Harper’s breakthrough generated press, as well as public awareness. It also piqued the interest of Qivana. “It was a good match for Qivana because they like scientific breakthroughs, and they like companies that have taken a science and moved it forward, ones that have studied and analyzed and done the scientific research,” Harper says.
Product developers and researchers, Harper says, get to choose how they want to get their products to market. “You can stay in the medical marketplace or you can go direct to consumers. But my goal was to get the science to as many consumers as quickly as possible,” she says. Cultivating a relationship with Qivana, Harper realized, was the fastest, most efficient way to meet her goal to create and impact change in skincare.
Qivana’s third-party product development strategy often generates media attention. When the company launched its MetaboliQ weight loss system, it was recognized through more than 100 reviews and published articles. Now SkinShift may well outpace that success. To date, it’s appeared nationally on The Doctors and Good Morning America, as well as in Prevention, Redbook, Woman’s World and Health magazines.
“The largest, most iconic companies in the industry,” says Johanson, “despite immense backing and resources, would have trouble getting the national media coverage Qivana has received with SkinShift. The reason it was in the national media is because it’s newsworthy. We’re very, very proud of that.”
An Enviable Competitive Advantage
This dynamic, third-party national media coverage, along with the company’s worldwide exclusive rights to the SkinShift product line and its other breakthrough health and wellness products, puts Qivana and its Independent Business Owners in an enviable position.
Of Qivana’s top 15 earners, more than half are new to network marketing, but IBOs like Doug Wead, Regina Noriega, and John Terhune are equally at home at Qivana.
“The mission of the company is to help their customers and their Independent Business Owners gain optimal health throughout their lives by providing the most cutting-edge and validated products that exist in the marketplace,” says John Terhune, master IBO. And the way Qivana does that—from their product development strategy to the use of technology to empower and support their network of IBOs—constitutes what Terhune terms “an unfair competitive advantage.”
“For a person involved in our business today, in a matter of a second they can send a link to somebody and tell the Qivana story as effectively as someone who has done it for five years,” Terhune says.
Understanding that encouragement and personal development are key to the independent representative’s progress, the Qivana’s Success System provides not just the nuts and bolts basics of what every IBO needs to get started building an organization for the first time, but also supplemental audio segments from leaders like Terhune and Wead, who lend their expertise.
“We’ve been able to whittle the business down to a very simple pattern. Our method of operation is really very simple: strike interest, give information, collect a decision,” Terhune says. “If anybody is ever doing anything that the newest person in the room can’t do, then it’s too complicated.”
Wead says frustration can set in even “if you put the instructions in the box along with some tools, because when you build it you are on your own. You’re there on the living room floor with all the screws and the parts and shelves scattered all over. You’ve got to figure out how to build this thing. It’s nice to have someone who has built it before who can warn you, ‘Don’t put that screw in backward. You’ll regret it!’ ”
This servant leadership style resonates at Qivana, and for IBOs it begins with getting to understand a prospect’s vision. “They’re not interested in building a great company, no matter how well intentioned the owners and stockholders and investors may be. They’re interested in what kind of medical care their parents get, what school their children go to, what kind of car they drive, where they live, how they will save for retirement,” Wead says.
“If they’ve got a vision and want it bad enough, I’ve got a vehicle that will help them get it,” he continues. “I can help guide them each step of the way and urge them on, provide them with stories of others who’ve been in the same place and show them what their solutions were.”
|Qivana Cares travels to the Bahamas.||The Qivana team takes time out to enjoy the Bahamas.||Qivana corporate headquarters.|
Qivana’s Synergy for Growth
Expanding into Russia and Kazakhstan has become a primary focus for both Wead and Noriega, who have experience in both the field as distributors and in the corporate offices. Though working as Independent Business Owners for Qivana, they have influence on developing the corporate culture, as well as defining the future of field leadership.
Official openings have yet to be announced in Russia and Kazakhstan, but Qivana’s international operations do currently include Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and Taiwan. A high-level, slow and methodical international expansion strategy allows Qivana to avoid pitfalls of rapid expansion. “We’ve worked at companies where it was a lot more aggressive—to the tune of five or 10 or even 30 new countries a year,” Banner says. “We think one country a year is sustainable for the long run and gives everybody the ability to focus and penetrate it before we move on.”
Domestically, Qivana’s stronghold is the eastern U.S. with less saturation in the West. Banner stresses, “There’s plenty of opportunity in the U.S., but like every company we will extend and move, go after those markets that are high potential with great leadership.”
It’s the synergy within that leadership in the field and Qivana’s corporate headquarters, as well as its IBOs, athletic endorsers the likes of Olympic Gold Medalists Bonnie Blair, Nadia Comăneci, Bart Conner, Mike Eruzione and Dan Jansen, and university scientists that make everything at Qivana click. Johanson says, “We’ve compiled an incredible who’s who list, and our success is not based off one particular personality or even one product. It’s based off of a compilation of what all these people do.”