Onnit's New Marketing Partnerships are a Foray into the Chinese Market

For startups, the key to success is often identifying key trends and associated marketing opportunities and branching out into growing markets.

Breaking into the world of nutritional supplements is no mean feat. With many household name retailers out there such as Holland and Barrett, Boots, and Superdrug, as well as huge online stores such as Amazon, it can be difficult for a smaller brand to find its niche. However, Onnit has achieved just that thanks to its great plant-based products - veganism being a massive trend right now - and intelligent marketing decisions.

These decisions include a podcast partnership with comedian, radio host, and UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, as well as some unique marketing and branding partnerships.


Onnit began making intelligent partnerships when it decided to jump on the rapidly-expanding superhero bandwagon and released a range of official exercise equipment based on characters from the hugely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. The range includes a kettlebell styled after Iron Man's helmet, barbell weights which look like Captain America's shield, and a battle rope in the iconic red and blue of Spider-Man.

The company also launched a selection of products inspired by Star Wars, including a yoga mat featuring Han Solo frozen in carbonite, a Death Star slam ball, and Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett kettlebells.

However, the latest pop culture phenomenon to join forces with Onnit is the iconic arcade game Street Fighter, which forms the focus for a brand new range of workout clothing.

"Known for using the likes of Star Wars and Marvel as its muse for high-spec workout gear, the new line uses Japanese arcade game franchise Street Fighter as the inspiration behind a new line of gym apparel," reports HighSnobiety. "Using characters from the Street Fighter universe as design motifs for t-shirts geared towards different fitness disciplines and general mixed martial arts, the line is comprised of twelve t-shirts. For instance, Ryu is used to depict strength training, while levitating martial artist Dhalsim is pictured on a tee alongside the Hindi word for yoga."

The clothing and exercise equipment help support Onnit's core business of vitamin supplements and reinforces the brand across its customers' whole fitness routine. Making partnerships with pop culture icons only serves to make this an easier sell.


Another way Onnit is expanding is by moving into new markets, beginning with economic powerhouse on the rise, China.

Onnit is partnering with China's second largest ecommerce platform JD Worldwide to facilitate this move. By partnering with JD, Onnit instantly gives itself access to a lucrative market with disposable income to spend. China is a booming economy; western brands would do well to try and strike while the iron is hot.

"Onnit's mission of inspiring peak human performance through unique, science-backed products has improved the lives of millions around the world," said CEO and Founder of Onnit, Aubrey Marcus. "Bringing Onnit to JD Worldwide allows us to reach a potential audience of over 300 million active buyers, creating a tremendous opportunity. Partnering with Export Now in launching the Onnit JD Worldwide Flagship Store enables us to begin selling in a matter of months as opposed to years."

Partnering with platforms such as JD Worldwide is a smart move. Penetrating a new market can be difficult enough, but when it's as wildly different from your own as China's is to the US, you need all the help you can get. With an ecommerce platform partnership, you can leverage the power of an existing infrastructure, marketing, and customer base, access local knowledge, and get assistance with issues such as translation.

"China's rapidly growing middle class, combined with a shift toward more active, healthy lifestyles, opens up enormous possibilities for Onnit," said Export Now (the company which designed and launched the JD Worldwide platform) Chairman, Frank Lavin. "Chinese consumers demand trustworthy, premium experiences, and Onnit has been delivering on these fronts since its founding. We are thrilled to partner with Aubrey in bringing the Onnit lifestyle and mission to China."

Final Thoughts

One of the factors which has helped Onnit become so successful is its intelligent partnerships. Whether those partnerships have taken the form of celebrity promoters, pop culture branding, or international ecommerce platforms, it's these kinds of decisions which shape a company into something truly successful.

You can hear Onnit's Vice President of Brand, Michael Aaron, speak at Digital Food and Beverage 2019, taking place in July at the Hyatt Regency Austin, TX.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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