The global online forum FORESIGHT FORUM organized by Coral Club will take place on 11-12 July 2020. The forum unites more than 30 countries; for the best experience, the broadcasting will be conducted concurrently in nine languages. The organizers notified about speakers from 15 countries, thousands of gifts, and ten thousand participants. FORESIGHT FORUM is planned to be an annual collective vision of the future and planning every major endeavor to fulfill this prediction. The Coral Club sets ambitious goals and intends to organize an international forum that will go down in history.
On the eve of the online forum on the company’s future, we decided to speak with Ph.D. Wayne Roberts and reveal the success story of the networking business known as Coral Club.
Today, Coral Club is an intercontinental organization that has been on the market for 20 years and is present in 35 countries. Its network encompasses 288 offline stores and product delivery in 175 countries. These are signs of stability and endurance which obviously will lead to further growth of the company. The product range consists of over 170 health, beauty, and household goods in 10 countries, including the US, Canada, Germany, Armenia, Norway, France, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Russia.
When I got introduced to Coral Club 20 years ago, I don’t think people believed that the company would become such a fortune. But I do remember those first managers who were sincerely excited about the idea of the right multilevel networking company with healthy products. I must admit that I was skeptical about the benefits of dietary supplements at that time, but time has put things in their place. The business started with a lucky moment: in 1997, Leonid Lapp was introduced to the product Alka-Mine, which for simplicity, was titled Coral Calcium. Having experience as a distributor of network business, Leonid saw a promising market for this product in Russia and other post-Soviet countries.
There was no Coral Club in 1997, and there were only 16 types of products, partners, a videotape about Sango corals, which was translated and narrated by Leonid himself. If I remember well, there was also a small black-and-white catalog on 20 pages, and the first scientific-practical seminar was held in April 1998.
At that time, it was one of the most challenging periods in the economy of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Liquidation of enterprises, mass layoffs, unemployment, and inflation pushed millions below the poverty line and on the brink of survival. The most dynamic sought a path in this new capitalist world: former engineers, doctors, teachers, and the military went to work in Poland, purchased goods in Turkey, traded in markets, we saw first entrepreneurs appear and everyone just tried to accommodate to the new circumstances.
In December 1998, the International Coral Club fell on this soil and made a win-win bet on the life-giving water niche. I remember my colleague Isher Judge Ahluwalia (Chairman of the Board of the International Food Policy Research Institute of India) commenting on the quality of this company’s life-giving water during a conference in Toronto a few years ago, I believe in 2008. Coral Club was then a water partner of the international conference providing life-giving water to all participants. After the presentation, Isher Judge Ahluwalia, in her distinctive manner, asked a manager about ways of producing water like Coral Club’s life-giving water on an industrial scale for cities in India. As I remember, she said that “… right minerals in water are essential to keep people healthy and to function. The problem of mineralization of water is the second most pressing issue, after making sure that 100% of India’s population has easy access to drinking water.” But this conversation took place only ten years after the company’s foundation. The truth is it never came to anything because Coral Club is, unfortunately, not a product for everyone.
In 1998 Coral Club changed its business model and the form of interaction within the network and offered an unexpected way for lots of Russians to get out of a difficult situation. The business was based on a fabulous idea – change your life and help others. Use healthy products, recommend them to your friends, relatives, and acquaintances, involve other people, and make money.
Besides the revenue growth, Coral Club brought a meaningful idea into people’s lives. It was the idea that people are not victims but masters of their own lives, that anybody can change circumstances and fulfill his dreams. Participation in Coral Club gave people the forgotten respect and support of like-minded people. A life-affirming philosophy, a real opportunity to make money and healthy products fuel the Coral Club commenced in the late 90s.
At that time, I should note that network marketing prompted both negative and positive reactions in Russia. Absolutely anyone could distribute goods. This led to corrupt and unethical people becoming part of the network business. These people learned ways of making money in network marketing and striving to obtain maximum profit they forgot about ethics. They saw the networking business as a significant profit that required little or no effort. This idea mainly attracted people easily influenced by others who joined network marketing en masse in those years.
Most of them didn’t have any practical skills or talents; all their dreams came down to waiting for a miracle – winning the lottery or getting an inheritance. It turned out that there is no miracle in the networking business. You have to work with people, buy and sell products, conduct presentations, and train newcomers. All these things require knowledge and skills or at least a desire to learn. Consequently, many people left the networking business with the feeling that they had been cheated. One of the first consequences of networking business development in the CIS was the separation of people into two groups. The first group was made of those who failed, got hurt or did not understand the essence of the networking business. They willingly spread negative views towards networking. The second group consisted of those who gained experience in doing business independently, performed well and found lots of network marketing possibilities. They immediately realized that they wanted to dedicate themselves to this business and nothing else.
In February 1999, Rolf Eriksson, owner of exclusive rights for Alka-Mine worldwide, came to Russia to introduce the president of Coral Club, Leonid Lapp. Lapp also became the owner of the exclusive rights for Coral-Mine in Eastern Europe. “Coral-Mine, which was produced in Japan and supplied worldwide through Swedish company Ericsson, instantly became an essential product of the new company. In the same year, Erik Mehrabian and “Royal Body Care,” the founder of which is considered to be the father of modern aloe industry, became an official partner of Lapp. Also, Coral Club acquired an exclusive right to represent RBC products in Europe. At this time, the company had only 60 Directors and only one Master.
Not all networking companies of that period performed that well. It is not enough to be a successful network leader in creating a prosperous company. Extremely ambitious projects and companies disappeared one by one without securing an idea of how to work with products, effective marketing, economic calculation, and managerial talent. That’s how various American companies left the market, while the network business starting from the early 90s was progressively becoming one of the elements of the market economy – transparent and productive, where success is no longer ensured by luck but by a qualified strategy as it was the case with the Coral Club.
In November 2000, the Coral Club embarked on global innovation in marketing, allowing for an increase in the speed of growth and endurance of accomplishments. CORAL CLUB has taken the necessary steps towards fulfilling integrated marketing communications. The club heavily relies on its partners and it has made notable efforts to maintain its effectiveness. Integrated marketing communications combines all means of marketing communication – from advertising to packaging – and facilitates communicating coherent, persuasive marketing information to target audiences, contributing to realizing the company’s goals.
The Coral Club greatly owes its marketing success to Professor Don E. Schultz, widely regarded as the father of integrated marketing communications. During lectures at Northwestern University, he explained to students, “…integrated marketing communications is a tool for quickly diagnosing marketing problems in a strategy. Based on the example of Coral Club, we see that using a four-stroke diagnostic method involving internal data collection, data preparation, statistical model selection and the application of analysis to a marketing communication problem forms a tool that allows to immediately detect and fix problems that businesses continually face while entering new markets.”
After implementing integrated marketing strategies, the results of the Coral Club have grown significantly. In 2007 the company already had several thousand Directors and more than 100 people in the team of Masters. Certainly, it is impossible to have such progress using only marketing strategies. The product plays a critical role. Although Coral Mine is still a favorite product, research and developments were conducted in other niches. The main focus areas for research and development were identified as follows: dietary supplements, nutritional supplements, beauty, anti-aging, household products.
Further, regular regional and international conferences became a part of integrated marketing communications. Different scientists and people in business shared their knowledge and experience at the conferences: Clinton Howard (USA), founder of RBC; Albert Zehr (Canada), author of Colo-Vada; Rolf Eriksson (Sweden); Professor Alan Howard (England); Professor V. Kaznacheev. P., Academician RAMS; Donna Bach (USA), Janina Avila (USA), Ilya Kondratyev (USA), Dave Sanduval (USA), Kurt Grange (USA), Gunilla Cedergren (Sweden), Wale Horbrug (USA), Academician Y.N. Borodin (Russia) and others.
Although marketing communications have played and continue to play a vital role in the development of Coral Club, the company’s success would not be possible without an integrated approach to network business. I would like to highlight four primary areas of continuous advancement: the company’s structure, products, business model and interaction between the network partners. When Lapp was composing this company, he already had years of efficient experience with other networking companies. This background helped him form a suitable business model and one of the most effective forms of network development compared to similar companies. Let’s compare the Coral Club with the locomotive; the created MLM structure is the rails, the high-speed train is the marketing and the unique products are the containers on the train without which the movement loses meaning.
I can assuredly state that the expansion of Coral Club, which we have seen over the past 20 years, would not have been possible if the products did not meet the requirements of the market and the needs of millions of customers. As an invited expert, Alan Howard commented on the company’s products at one of the international conferences “Today consumers want magic pills. People want to be healthy but they are too lazy to do anything about it for the most part. That is why health-enhancing nutritional supplements will be relevant for years to come. External threats create demands to take care of human health without changing the lifestyle. People in the market want to be given a product with health benefits, a special story and a nice presentation. In the case of Coral Club products, they get just such a product, with extremely high levels of beneficial active ingredients that give that magic pill effect.”
In the case of Coral Club, everything really came together. Water is the primary source of life, which is becoming more and more demanded in recent years, and regrettably, water quality and ecology are getting worse. It is reasonable to assert that expansion became attainable thanks to the union of an integrated marketing system of continuous production innovations and a perfectly designed MLM structure. I have a prediction related to the area of the Internet. People are massively migrating into the online space, erasing real boundaries. The integration of network business into the online space will remain the number one priority in the next few years.