USANA Health Sciences was established in 1992 by Myron Wentz. In the founder’s message, Wentz says he was inspired to start the company because of the premature deaths of his parents. He believes that his parents’ deaths could have been prevented had they taken better care of their bodies. Because of this, he is highly invested in providing health supplements for the general public, particularly nutritional supplements.
We now know that optimal nutrition is key to long-term good health. Unfortunately, the high level of nutrition that is necessary to maintain good health is difficult to receive from the typical modern diet. And, the nutritional supplement industry was filled with incomplete, unbalanced products. This discovery led me to found USANA Health Sciences in 1992 in order to develop advanced nutritional formulations and manufacture premier nutritional supplements. Today, I believe that with the USANA Health Sciences products, people can live healthier lives, and I’m excited about sharing this good news with others.
MARKETING & USABILITY
The products are expensive, but users swear by them. There are very few reviews regarding the supplements themselves that are negative. They are overwhelmingly glowing reviews. It can be purchased online from many different sources ranging USANA itself to Amazon and other smaller nutritional shops. Acting as a mystery shopper, I found no issues with this. The products are expensive, sure. But nearly everyone who has tried each product believes in it. Those who had less than desirable results admitted to not following the strict diet regimen as suggested. There are clear descriptions as to what the product does and plenty of reviewers to get a good idea. I have also read blog posts praising the quality of the supplements. Overall, I was impressed with how well people responded to the product.
However, overall, consumers seem wary of USANA because of the way it is marketed. It began as a multi-level marketing company. There are individual representatives who recruit others to sell the product. In order to sell the products, the individual must first buy an expensive package. Those who have been involved in the recruitment have described it as a “cult-like” experience. All have mentioned an odd occurrence at recruitment meetings wherein USANA representatives will intermittently yell positive words like “Yes!” and “Oh yeah!” and “Uh huh!”
Indeed, this type of sales technique can scare away consumers. However, as I found out as a mystery shopper, this system can be avoided. The products can be purchased directly from the USANA website and shipped to your door. No representatives involved. If the consumer purchases through Amazon, there is even less risk of being contacted by the company for recruitment. The fact is, sales are sales and USANA does not limit itself to multi-level marketing to get the product out there. Those worried about this tactic can avoid it.
Additionally, there have been questions raised about the honesty of the financial projections and annual reports of USANA. In fact, one individual has dedicated an entire blog http://usanawatchdog.blogspot.com/ to uncovering what they believe to be lies and misgivings told by USANA. The blog is updated regularly and makes compelling arguments. The existence of this blog indicates a general feeling of mistrust towards the company’s management.
MARKETING & LANGUAGE AUDIT
In reviewing USANA’s past identities, it appears they have really only carried two different logos in the company’s 20-year life. The most recent one is better than the previous but I still feel that it does not tell the consumer enough about what USANA does. Tagline’s include “Health is Wealth,” and “Nutrionals you can trust.” They also stress the point that the products were made for each unique consumer, saying versions of “Discover how you and USANA were made for each other.” The overall tone of the language is always positive if not encouraging. It really does feel like USANA cares.
The top competitors of USANA Health Sciences are Avon Products, Inc., Mannatech, Inc., and Amway International. All three are multi-level marketing businesses selling self-improvement products. Avon strikes me as the most fierce competitor. They are well established and their identity is well-designed. There is a recognized with the Avon brand that none of these other companies have. However, Avon is a bit more focused on beauty than health.
Mannatech is more similar to USANA in that it has a more health oriented product line. Viewing the website, Mannatech feels more natural and organic than USANA. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing but a consumer may feel more inclined toward Mannatech products given that seems natural. Comparing this to USANA, the name USANA Health Sciences itself leads the consumer to believe these are manmade products and therefore less safe.
Mannatech’s website design is much less cluttered than USANA’s. It’s green and white. It feels clean and spa-like, unlike the sterile medical feel of USANA. However, the Mannatech logo seems outdated so it has that going against it.