Health E-Insights: In what direction do you see the supplement industry moving?
Mr. Hyland: One thing we know is that the industry is continuing to grow. Data from the Nutrition Business Journal shows that dietary supplement sales are steadily increasing each year. Further, CRN’s annual consumer survey on dietary supplements shows usage as well as consumer confidence in our products is strong. With a shift in focus toward well-care, or preventative health, our products sit squarely in the mainstream, with consumers branching out beyond just the multivitamin. In fact, CRN’s 2011 consumer survey found, for the first time, that more than one-third of American adults regularly use a variety of supplements. As our industry matures, there is greater acceptance that there is a need for reasonable regulation. More companies understand the need for checks and balances as a means to gain consumer confidence, and further, more companies, or at least the companies that I speak with, understand the need to invest in science.
Health E-Insights: What is the main CRN message you want the industry to hear?
Mr. Hyland: As an industry, we manufacture and market popular, healthful products that are taken by more than 150 million Americans each year as part of a healthy lifestyle. As such, our industry has a responsibility to develop innovative, science-based, high quality products. We must find a way to have the industry defined by its reputable companies, rather than by companies that produce supplements masquerading as drugs. We must be legitimate in the claims we make to sell our products so our customers can continue to feel confident in our industry. Our industry will continue to face challenges in 2012, but companies can share the burden and fight the challenges by being part of a trade association, like the Council for Responsible Nutrition. CRN fights for reasonable regulation and appropriate legislation, but fights against overreaching attempts to stifle growth for the industry. NutraceuticalsWorld.com readers need to ask themselves: Do you want to sit on the sidelines or ‘do the right thing’ and support consumer and industry rights? Do you want to have a ‘seat at the table’ and be part of the discussion in Washington D.C. that affects your business and potentially your health and your families’ health? If more companies join us, our impact will obviously be bigger and our voice louder. You’d be surprised how fulfilling our member companies find their involvement. If you want to know more, I’m here to answer questions.
Health E-Insights: A news crew from 60 Minutes comes unannounced into the CRN office. How does CRN respond?
Mr. Hyland: Fortunately, CRN has an experienced and dedicated communications team headed by Judy Blatman. And although I’m new at CRN, I already know that when the media calls, we call on our communications team. CRN has an integrative, team-work style approach to communications and to everything we do for our members. That’s one of our strengths. Specifically, with the media, we have both a proactive and a reactive strategy. We’re quick to respond and we also have many proactive initiatives, including the Life…Supplemented consumer wellness education campaign. We’re science-based in how we respond to the study du jour, and our communications department works with our science department, led by Dr. Duffy MacKay in order to respond. The same applies for a legislative issue. We check in with Mike Greene from our government relations department. At CRN, we strive to be the voice of the responsible industry and work hard to make sure that our viewpoints are heard and that our viewpoints are factually-based.
Health E-Insights: What has been CRN’s most effective marketing tactic or technique to attract new members?
Mr. Hyland: Word of mouth is number one. Just ask our member companies. I would also encourage prospective member companies to attend our annual conference, our annual day of science, or one or more of the webinars we produce, all of which are open to potential members as well as current members. In particular, our annual conference is packed with business, regulatory, legislative and scientific insights and on top of all that the conference is a tremendous opportunity for networking. Our next annual conference will take place October 3-6 in Laguna Beach, California and companies won’t want to miss it. While we’re just starting to work on the agenda for 2012, here is a link to previous annual conference agendas so that readers can get a taste of the substance of our event: www.crnusa.org/CRNAC.html. We’ve found that non-members who attend the conference and get a taste for who CRN is and how professional our members are often become members.
Health E-Insights: What book or piece of writing has had the biggest impact on you?
Mr. Hyland: My favorite business book is the ground-breaking 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. They are also authors of the bestselling business classic Positioning. The former begins with two simple questions: Who was the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane? Who was the second? Most people know the first answer. That’s Charles Lindbergh. But almost no one knows the second. I still can’t remember, and I’ve read the book many times. The authors then begin a fascinating exploration of the power of being ‘first in the mind’ of the consumer and other paths to successful variations on that theme. One variation is that many of us know that Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane. So there can be subtly different categories in business, such as women pilots as opposed to pilots in general and Ries and Trout discuss the importance and art of positioning in business and in life. We all have personal images and reputations so the insights are valuable beyond business.
Health E-Insights: If someone handed you $100,000 how would you spend it?
Mr. Hyland: That’s easy. My wife and I would travel back to Italy. She prefers Florence and I prefer Venice, so we’d have to go to both. When we return home we could figure out the rest.
Sheldon Baker wants to interview you. Contact Sheldon at SBaker@BakerDillon.com. Follow him on Twitter @NutraInk and visit his website at www.BakerDIllon.com.