Jim Huether, CEO, Hyperice
Hyperice, a global high-performance wellness brand, entered the Indian market a few months ago with Indian cricketer Virat Kohli as an athlete-investor and brand ambassador. Kohli joined an unmatched list of the company’s elite global athlete-investors, including global football superstar Erling Haaland, 4-time tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and NBA Star Ja Morant.
Interestingly, when Hyperice was founded in 2010 by Anthony Katz, he worked closely with numerous professional athletes and teams to kickstart a movement around performance recovery technology. And today, as people are taking health and wellness more seriously than ever before, it has become a brand to reckon with.
In an exclusive conversation with Storyboard18, Jim Huether, CEO, Hyperice, talks about the strategy of roping in the athletes as investors, how the brand is educating both elites and everyday athletes about the science of recovery and its global big-ticket sporting associations.
Q. Over the past two years, globally, everyone has started taking fitness and wellness seriously. What has been the impact of the pandemic on a company like Hyperice?
The pandemic accelerated people’s understanding and importance of health and wellness in general. People are thinking more about their bodies, thinking more around their general health. It has positioned us well to deliver our technology in a meaningful way and for the consumer market to understand taking care of the body for doing things to live and to do things 'that help me move effectively' is important.
Q. You entered the Indian market a few months ago. What are the current potential and the contribution of the Indian market?
The Indian market is one of the most interesting markets that we are focused on as a company. It is one of our top three growth markets. There is unlimited opportunity in this market. We are focused on retail expansion, fitness expansion, and of course, our big announcement with Virat Kohli
has been tremendous from a media perspective.
Consumers are now looking for new technology, modalities to help people improve their health and wellness. For us, partnering with big retailers like Croma, Amazon.in and others has allowed us to create those experiences so that people in India can touch and feel those devices and understand the benefits physiologically.
Q. You have world-renowned athletes as your investors, including Naomi Osaka, Alex Toussaint, Ja Morant and Erling Haaland. How involved are they in the company and product development?
I have been working in the fitness industry for 15 years and I have never seen this type of involvement with athletes as they have with Hyperice. The big names Naomi Osaka, Alex Toussaint, Ja Morant, Fernando Tatis Jr—these athletes not only want to join the brand to help educate the consumer on health and wellness, but a lot of them also want to help with product development. They understand the importance of what these products can do physiologically, not just for athletes but for everyday people and how they can improve the way that they feel and the way that they live. And they want to be a part of it. A lot of them, Virat included, have actually invested their own dollars into the company because they believe in what we are doing. The mission to move and live better powerfully resonates with them.
Q. These are products that many people have not seen before, not heard about. How much of your strategy, when you enter a new market, involves education?
It is a big part and it is the most important part. If you think of it, as you learn more about what the products do to your body, as you learn this is what the science is, then the products have more utility and value to the end consumer. So the more we can teach and educate and more people learn about the science behind the technology, the more consumer demand. We have partnerships with NASM and a bunch of education groups
to educate the Indian market, the physios, trainers and everyday gym-goers, and so on.
Q. Hyperice has been aggressively broadening its sports sponsorship portfolio with NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and the most recent Ironman events. How has it helped the brand so far and will we see more of it in the coming days?
When we look at these significant sports properties across the world, we have technology that can be used on the field, on the pitch, on the court, that helps athletes do the things that they love and helps athletes advance performance. So, we created partnerships with these leagues and teams where the products are available on the sidelines, in real-time.
We not only take advantage of the great media opportunity where people are watching TV and seeing the world’s greatest athletes using our devices, but we have also been able to leverage the reach of these sports organisations. We tell the NFL fan or the NBA fan or Lakers’ fans, that these are not only great products for our athletes to improve their performance but they are great for the everyday consumer back home watching.
Q. You revamped your brand identity to “Do What You Love. More” with a renewed focus on both elite and everyday athletes. How is this shaping and encouraging your upcoming launches and innovation?
A big part of the brand campaign “Do What You Love. More” was to become more relatable and to take this leap as a brand from being a company that had worked closely with the world’s best athletes and now transition into a high-performance wellness brand that is relatable for everyday consumers. If you are a dad and wish to play with your kid and you have continual lower back pain, then our technologies can help you do better and live better. So I think this transition for us was to broaden our impact as a company. We want to be a global leader in movement technology, a global leader in health and wellness. That goes out of our domestic market in the US. That is also one of the reasons why we are investing so many resources in India. We want to be that type of transformational company that changes the way people move and live. That was a big part of the brand campaign “Do What You Love. More” which was very successful.
Q. ‘Recovery’ as a science is slowly becoming mainstream only recently. And Hyperice is already a decade old company. What are the factors that will drive growth for a company like yours?
Consistent focus on innovation
. Technology is evolving. People’s understanding of health and wellness is evolving. We have always been good at seeing around the corner and using our athletes and partners to find innovations and improve their longevity, the way that they feel. So for us, our biggest challenge in the future is to stay committed to innovation.