Tom Brady and TB12 co-founder Alex Guerrero. Photo credit: Kevin Mazur | Getty Images
Tom Brady’s Wellness Company TB12 has a new executive – and while his background has little to do with health or sports, his appointment speaks to the company’s broader ambitions.
Grant Shriver was appointed CEO of the company. Previously, he was vice president of private label, product development and global operations at Lowe’s Home Improvement and before that he led the national operations of the Kohl’s and JCPenney teams.
Shriver was introduced to Brady through a mutual acquaintance who thought they shared similar missions. “There was a connection,” says Shriver, “between the way I think about the business and what Tom wanted to do with TB12 — the vision that he needed to take this brand to a stronger national presence.”
Brady founded TB12 in 2013 with his longtime body coach Alex Guerrero. The brand promises to help users improve their health and “live pain-free,” and says its products and services reflect the methodology Guerrero uses to coach Brady during his record-breaking NFL career. This includes offering nutritional supplements, fitness equipment, clothing and personal body coaching.
The brand’s products have been sold primarily online and direct to consumers, and their physical workouts are currently only available at select facilities along the East Coast. Shriver says he intends to grow both sides of the business — bringing TB12’s products to retailers nationwide and expanding access to the company’s in-person coaching.
Shriver replaces former CEO John Burns. In a conversation Tuesday, a day before Shriver was announced as CEO, he described the opportunities he saw in the future — and why branding and storytelling will be at the core of TB12’s success.
Above: Grant Shriver. Image courtesy of TB12.
They have extensive brand building experience at Lowe’s and other large companies. How does this experience translate to TB12?
It’s that tenacity and relentlessness in delivering brand clarity. It’s something that’s really prominent in the roles I come from. When I look at TB12 I am so amazed by the DNA behind it. I feel my most important role is to make more people aware of what’s happening with this brand.
It starts with that background in brand clarity. How do you build awareness and what is the right language? How do we stay consistent across all touchpoints? Once that foundation is fully in place, it’s time to really scale aggressively, knowing the message is well timed.
It’s interesting to hear you talk about brand clarity because I was wondering what story TB12 tells. There’s an obvious connection to Tom Brady, but it’s one thing product Company? A service Company?
Yes. We use the term Method. It’s the TB12 method. And it really includes all of those things. That is our value proposition. I mean you can go to other competitors. But finding a fitness company you like doesn’t mean you won’t feel pain anymore, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to other sources to find the right supplements. That’s why we try to be really thoughtful when it comes to offering products that fulfill the mission of recovery and freedom from pain, and it’s a different mission than most.
Let’s talk expansion. You spoke of “nationwide presence” – is the goal to expand the coaching nationwide?
Well we have three dedicated locations between Foxborough, Boston and Tampa. Then we also have partnerships that take us to locations in Florida and Philadelphia. And we’re working on a partnership with Equinox gyms in the New York area, so there’s currently a small handful of gyms where we have body coaches stationed to help gym members manage their pain.
What’s the idea of expanding this?
We are still in what I would call a pilot phase of this effort. We make sure it makes sense, make sure we nail the approach perfectly. This is a new company so TBD how far this is going.
You would probably look at my background and guess that it would make sense for me to move faster on the product side of the equation. I see many ways to do that and we will. But I think there are equal opportunities on both sides. You can look at each one – the products and the coaching service – as a tool to seed markets, right? As we expand more TB12 centers in cities, it’s a way to bring the brand to market to build trust in what we do, which will naturally build trust in the products we offer. And vice versa. Perhaps a brick-and-mortar retailer could help build brand awareness and make that transition to a future TB12 hub in a city.
How do you feel about Tom’s role in reaching out to consumers? His athletic achievements are undeniable, but like any athlete, he’s not exactly popular in every sports market.
I’m sure a lot of fans have opinions about the teams he’s beaten in the Super Bowls. But the timing is amazing. The next cycle of this company is in step with the story that Tom is out there demonstrating.
When the brand started, it was based in Boston, and Tom has a deep, deep connection to the Boston area. So much success was built on that. But people see what Tom has done differently now. He went to a second team and had the most success you could have and I think that changed the narrative. What I’m most excited about representing this brand is that he’s entering his 23rd season and turning 45 this fall. This brings a lot more attention to Tom Brady’s longevity and I think more and more people are appreciating and recognizing that this man is doing this at the highest possible level at this age.
This narrative is beginning to permeate far beyond football fans. You’re starting to think of Tom as probably the best example of longevity, and how does he do it? It’s the TB12 method. This is the core.