Multipure: Turning the Tide

by Jeremy Gregg

Click here to order the September 2013 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Multipure

MULTIPURE

Company Profile

  • Founded: 1970
  • Headquarters: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Executives: H. Allen Rice, CEO and Founder, Alvin Rice, COO and Founder, Zachary Rice, President, Jennifer Rice, Executive Vice President; Regina M. Noriega, Vice President of Network Marketing; Kenton Jones, Assistant Vice President of Marketing
  • Products: High-quality drinking water systems

When some people think about water, the first image that comes to their minds is a tall glass of crystal-clear liquid. For others, it is waves lapping against a beach or maybe the sun shining down on a sparkling pool.

Not so for brothers H. Allen and Alvin Rice, the founders of Multipure. For them, the purest image of water is anchored in a block of solid carbon.

The First Drop: Company Origins

After seeing how dirty the tap water was at his Southern California home, H. Allen Rice began using bottled water in 1970. He quickly found it to be expensive and inconvenient, yet there were few alternatives. The water filter market was virtually undeveloped, and he immediately saw this problem as a business opportunity.

H. Allen went to his younger brother, Alvin, who had worked for him in his previous business. Together, they created a company to market in-home drinking water filters under the name “Multi-Pure.”

Initially, the brothers selected the best filter available in the market. The company that was making the product had been in business since 1948 and was using a carbon-impregnated filter-pad technology superior to the loose granular carbon filters used by competitors. Unfortunately, when the originator retired, he closed the company.

Others might have seen the loss of a major supplier as a significant challenge; for the Rice brothers, it presented just another business opportunity.

The Next Wave: Differentiation by Design

They set out to develop their own filter, one that would capitalize on the public’s emerging awareness of water pollution. This led to the development of the solid carbon block filter, a new technology that achieved superior performance over any other filter on the market. The effort gained much public attention, and in 1974 Multipure began selling the world’s first carbon-based system that could remove lead from water.


In 1974 Multipure began selling the world’s first carbon-based system that could remove lead from water.


However, despite this breakthrough, the company struggled due to the lack of public understanding of home water filtration. But then Alvin, COO, suggested they more directly compete with the bottled water companies by offering a drinking water service.

“In essence, offering an in-home free trial of the filter system and then offering a monthly rental,” says H. Allen, CEO. “This concept gave the customer more water, more conveniently, in greater quantity and at greater quality. This was the start of a real change in the company.”

Jennifer RiceJennifer Rice

Growth was slow in the late ’70s, since the industry was unregulated and it was a case of “buyer beware.” But once consumer protection services began to build strength in the 1980s, this all changed.

California was the first state to require performance verification and certification for water filters that made claims to remove contaminants of health concern. An independent organization, NSF International, developed standards and a testing protocol that companies could use to certify performance claims. This drove out the companies that were using fraudulent marketing practices and making undocumented performance claims, eliminating much of Multipure’s competition. Today, Multipure maintains extensive certifications through both NSF International and the Water Quality Association.

“In today’s market, with consumers wary of being hoodwinked, these certifications are an invaluable tool,” says Jennifer Rice, Executive Vice President. “I believe our Lifetime Warranty, coupled with our extensive certifications, gives us a distinct edge in the field.”


Multipure AquadomeMultipure Aquadome Multipure AquaversaMultipure Aquaversa Multipure wriggle™Multipure wriggle™

Multipure’s Philanthropy

To solidify the company’s commitment to philanthropy, Multipure’s Executive Vice President Jennifer Rice established the Pure Foundation in 2012. Its mission is to “identify and assist organizations and groups that strive to provide the basic necessities and work to promote healthier lives for less-fortunate children.” In addition to financial support, the foundation seeks to educate people on the importance of clean drinking water and to promote environmental consciousness.

The Pure Foundation initially focused on local initiatives in Multipure’s home state of Nevada, including trips to educate schoolchildren on drinking water issues and water filtration technology. However, Jennifer recently led efforts to expand the Foundation’s impact outside of Nevada. “It is not an easy task for our fledgling foundation to provide direct aid away from our home, but my father taught me that the things that you work hardest for in life are the things you are often most proud of.”

This resulted in the Pure Foundation installing drinking water systems throughout the 40-acre MeadowLand Ranch of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, a foster and recovery center for abused and neglected children in San Antonio, Texas. Multipure’s Pure Foundation has also provided aid to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and is a contributor to the Wishing Well International Foundation.

The Swelling Sea: Multipure Adopts Direct Selling Model

Multipure’s ship really began to make headway in 1982, when the company launched its first direct selling program under the moniker “Stream of Success.”

“Network marketing provides the best method of spreading the word about a superior product,” says H. Allen. “When somebody has a product they’re happy with, they’re not hesitant to talk to others about that product. Then the power of multiplication kicks in!”

Regina M. NoriegaRegina M. Noriega

Multipure’s long history is one of its strongest assets, says Regina M. Noriega, Vice President of Network Marketing for Multipure: “Being in the business for over 31 years with third-party endorsements, we’ve been able to attract a truly special individual who recognizes that integrity is our foremost priority.”

Regina describes Multipure’s consultants as “a very educated and multicultural group with people who come from all kinds of professional backgrounds. One characteristic all of our distributors share is that they are very knowledgeable about water and are willing to put in the time and effort to be educated about the science behind our product.”

Jennifer believes that Multipure is a particularly strong fit for the industry because “direct selling offers consumers a more personalized buying and service experience when selecting a product, which I ultimately think results in a more bonded relationship with our company. You have the chance to become a ‘trusted partner’ in their life versus just a convenience.”

With prior work experience in Fortune 500 companies and a Big Four accounting firm, Jennifer appreciates that Multipure’s business is “about so much more than just the bottom line. When we make a decision, we consider human capital, our distributors’ feelings, our social responsibility, and most importantly, whether it’s in line with our vision and values.”

Now headquartered in Las Vegas, Multipure’s team of over 200 employees includes some who have been with the company for over 30 years. Together with a nationwide network of distributors, they are committed to being an eco-friendly company that provides the people of the world with the best quality drinking water at an affordable price.

Change at the Helm

Zachary RiceZachary Rice

“Multipure was founded as a family business, and in 2012 after 40 years that trend continued as my son, Zachary, was appointed President,” says Alvin. “Zachary grew up in Multipure, working in both manufacturing and sales. Zachary has the same passion that my brother and I have for offering a product with superior quality and performance.”

Zachary shares that he grew up watching his father and uncle “inspire and encourage people to be successful.” Experiencing such a nurturing environment at a very young age, it was only natural that he would step into a leadership role one day. But in the beginning, his role was somewhat more… “superficial.”

“My first involvement with the company was modeling for the cover of a company brochure at the age of 4,” he says with a laugh. “But I was quickly replaced and my modeling career ended.”

Thankfully, though, his relationship with the company endured. He recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in international business and is applying his life experiences and education to leading Multipure through the “dynamic and constantly changing” industry in which it operates.

“I try to be a leader who guides in such a way that everyone can benefit and gain value. Fortunately, my father and uncle have been very supportive of my growth in the company—growth which transpired very gradually and naturally over a long period of time. This prevented any shock or stress for the organization. What was most critical was the continual support I received, not only from my family, but from Multipure’s employees and distributors as well. Over the years, the company’s owners, employees and distributors have all invested in me as a leader by providing me with broad experiences and responsibilities in all facets of the organization.”

Making Waves

One of Zachary’s early initiatives was adding a new marketing team and rebranding the company for a new era. As he states, “Our new generation of leaders is building upon the solid foundation established over 40 years ago by our founders. They are providing a burst of ideas and energy to take this company to the next level and beyond.”

As the one guiding the rebranding, Regina Noriega is particularly grateful for the support she receives, starting from the top of the company. “The founders were very committed to changing with the times and really understood the importance of revitalizing the brand.”

Regina has led development of a strategy that focuses new distributors on three things: “product, opportunity and personal development… or POP! These foundational principles are now evident throughout all our regional events, weekly conference calls and even our opportunity meetings.

“It was important that we develop new tools that would be actionable and duplicable,” Regina continues. “It’s one thing to create a brochure that explains how the compensation works, but the real treat is hearing it live. That is why we offer one-on-one and group training by conference call, allowing distributors to invite new recruits and prospects to get trained directly by corporate staff.”

Training is accessible through both live and recorded conference calls with field leaders and corporate staff offering recruiting strategies, leadership advice and product training. When asked about the recruiting efforts, Zachary simply states: “If you agree that water is essential to life, and you care about the health of yourself and your family, then Multipure could be a good fit for you.”

In fact, Regina states that a “water presentation,” done either in the home or at the office, is the most powerful selling and recruiting tool the company has. Once customers and prospects see the difference between what’s in their water and what’s removed after filtering, it’s easy to get them talking! “It’s only natural,” says Regina, “to tell everyone when something instantly changes your life for the better.”

Navigating New Waters

RebrandingZachary’s leadership has injected new energy into a company that has seen continued success for decades. His goal is to “reclaim our energy and ambition.”

One strong example of this spirit has been the development of the Multipure wriggle™, a portable filtered water bottle. Mutlipure has positioned the wriggle as the “next generation reusable water bottle.” It provides many of the benefits of Multipure’s industry-leading water filter, in a sleek, portable container that can use water from any municipal water source. To help with the product’s launch among environmentally conscious consumers who care about their health, the wriggle was featured as a gift at the 2012 Academy Awards, the 2012 MTV Movie Awards and the 2012 Teen Choice Awards.

The company has also recently debuted other new products, including the Multipure Aquasource and Aquamini drinking water systems. Zachary feels that these new products “fulfill the need for better water for the entire home and better water away from home.”

Regina is particularly proud of how the company has significantly enhanced its online presence in recent years, including a robust section of the Multipure.com website called Purelysocial. As Regina describes, “Purelysocial is a place where the new history of Multipure is being written and recorded. It is a social media entertainment hub where you can access the big four social media sites, corporate press releases, leader video testimonials, videos, blogs and our event calendar. Distributors are now sharing our short videos instead of relying on direct mail and brochures. This makes their recruiting process easier because it’s more immediate.”

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Having merged a strong legacy with this newfound energy and rebranding, Zachary is optimistic about the future for his company.

“It is important to have a great product and marketing program, but the real strength comes from the passion and deep commitment that our distributors have toward the health benefits provided by quality drinking water. We are a global brand with distribution in 42 countries and websites in six languages. We hope to see continued growth globally, but I feel we are still underrepresented at home in the USA.”


“In a time when people are inundated with the proliferation of information on the Internet… and sick of feeling like a number in an automated system, belly-to-belly sales are unique and attractive.”
—Zachary Rice, President


He also sees continued opportunity for direct selling as a whole: “I think today’s marketplace represents a wonderful opportunity for the direct selling industry. In a time when people are inundated with the proliferation of information on the Internet, overwhelmed with advertisements and sick of feeling like a number in an automated system, belly-to-belly sales are unique and attractive.”

Multipure’s leadership remains heavily focused on continuing to modernize, furthering its brand enhancements and bringing new products to market. When asked for further details, Zachary laughs. “To tell you more about those initiatives, you would have to marry into the family.”

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About Direct Selling News
Direct Selling News Magazine has been serving direct selling and network marketing executives since 2004. Each issue of Direct Selling News offers content on topics that shape the dynamics of our industry.

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