Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s wellness company TB12 has a new leader — and while his background has little to do with health or sports, his appointment speaks to the company’s larger ambitions.
Grant Shriver has been named the company’s CEO. He was previously the vice president of private brands, product development, and global operations at Lowe’s Home Improvement, and before that oversaw national operations among teams at Kohl’s and JCPenney.
Shriver was introduced to Brady through a mutual acquaintance who thought they’d share similar missions. “There was a connection,” Shriver says, “between the way I think about business and what Tom was looking to do at TB12 — the vision that he had to take this brand to more of a national presence.”
Brady cofounded TB12 with Guerrero, his longtime body coach, in 2013. The brand promises to help users improve their health and “live pain-free,” and says its products and services mirror the methodology that Guerrero uses to train Brady during his record-breaking NFL career. That includes offering nutritional supplements, fitness equipment, apparel, and in-person body coaching.
The brand’s products have been primarily sold online and direct to consumer, and its body coaching is currently only available at select facilities along the East Coast. Shriver says he intends to increase 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 on Tuesday, the day before Shriver’s appointment as CEO was announced, he described the opportunities he saw ahead — and why branding and storytelling will be core to TB12’s success.
Above: Grant Shriver. Image courtesy of TB12.
You have a lot of experience building brands at Lowe’s and other large companies. How does that experience translate at TB12?
It’s that tenacity and relentlessness on providing brand clarity. It’s something that is really top of mind in the roles that I’m coming from. When I look at TB12, I’m so excited by the DNA behind it. I feel like my number one role is just to make more people aware of what’s happening with this brand.
It starts with that background in brand clarity. How do you build the awareness and what’s the right language to use? How do we stay consistent across all touch points? Then as soon as that foundation is fully in place, it’s time to really scale aggressively because we know that the message is finely tuned.
It’s interesting to hear you talk about brand clarity, because I’ve wondered about the story TB12 tells. There’s obviously the connection to Tom Brady, but is this a product company? A service company?
Yeah. We use the term method. It’s the TB12 Method. And it really encompasses all those things. That’s our value proposition. I mean, you can go to other competitors. But if you find a fitness company that you like, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be out of pain, and that doesn’t mean you won’t have to go to other sources to find the appropriate supplements. So we try to be really thoughtful about bringing products that drive to the mission of recovery and pain-free, and it’s a different mission than most.
Let’s talk about expansion. You used the phrase “national presence” — is the goal to expand the coaching nationwide?
Well, we have three owned locations between Foxborough, Boston and Tampa. Then we also have partnerships that bring us to a location in Florida and Philadelphia. And we’re working on a partnership with Equinox gyms in the New York area, so there are currently a small handful of gyms where we have body coaches stationed to help gym members get out of pain.
What’s the thinking on expanding that?
We’re still in what I would call a pilot phase of that effort. We’re making sure that it makes sense, making sure that we have the approach perfectly down. This is a new venture, so TBD on how far that goes.
You’d probably look at my background and guess that it would make sense for me to push on the product side of the equation faster. I can see a lot of opportunities to do that, and we’re going to. But I think there’s equal opportunity on both sides. You can look at each one — the products and coaching service — as being a tool to seed markets, right? As we expand more TB12 centers in cities, that’s a way to bring the brand into the market to build confidence in what we do, which will obviously build confidence in the products that we offer. And vice versa. Maybe a brick-and-mortar retailer could help build brand awareness and make that transition to a future TB12 center in a city.
How do you think of Tom’s role in appealing to consumers? His athletic accomplishments are undeniable, but like any athlete, he’s not exactly beloved in every sports market.
I’m sure a lot of fans have opinions about the teams he’s crushed in Super Bowls. But the timing is amazing. This company’s next cycle is in lockstep with the story that Tom is demonstrating out there.
To your point, when the brand started, it was based in Boston and Tom has a deep, deep connection to the Boston area. So a lot of success was built around that. But people look at what Tom has done differently now. He’s moved to a second team and had the highest level of success that you could have, and I think that changed the narrative. What I’m most excited about, in representing this brand, is he’s about to go out there for his 23rd season, and he’s going to turn 45 years old this fall. So that brings a lot more attention to the longevity side of Tom Brady, and I think more and more people are appreciating and recognizing that this man is doing this at the highest level possible, at that age.
That narrative starts to permeate well beyond even football fans. You start to look at Tom as probably the best example we have of longevity, and how is he doing that? It is the TB12 Method. That’s at the heart of it.