Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Founders Peter Rahal and Jared Smith of RxBar took their old, regular protein bars and created a recognizable brand that caused retailers to line up at their doors.
There's idea and there's execution. Anyone can come up with an idea, but not everyone can
execute that idea perfectly. This happened to Jared Smith and Peter Rahal, the founders of RxBar when they decided to start a protein bar company in their basement. They didn't really have the experience to do anything like this, but proceeded to do it anyways. In the beginning, they even created their first packaging using powerpoint.
A picture from the RxBar website showing off their original HQ and powerpoint packaging
It was an idea that these guys were committed to pursuing. They didn't have the tools to build a company like this. But, they quit their jobs, and invested money into starting a business. From there, it was pure hustle. The business was able to find a target market in the fitness industry with their bars providing energy and protein. Their business was doing well, but Smith and Rahal knew that the potential for this company had been untapped. Because, in the end, they were just like any other protein bar company
After a few fitness partnerships, it was time for RxBar to go through a crucial change. They started to establish a brand that reflected who the company was, and who their customer was. A brand that people would want to buy even if they didn't know what it was. The packaging, ingredients, flavor, and concepts were all changed and marketed towards people
I visited Trader Joes with my cousin a few months ago, and remember seeing these bars on display. It was kind of hard not to notice them with bright colors and large lettering. My cousin, never having heard of this protein bar, laughed at the cute concept, and bought 3 bars.
From a brand standpoint, I thought this was very interesting. We live in an era where brands are fighting for shelf space and larger representation in the market. What RxBar has done is essentially "hack" the system. Make their product stand out without paying money for more space. I started to reverse engineer their product and realized that they had found the not-so secret secret about how millennials buy products. They aren't targeting 65 year old computer scientists. They are targeting young people who are into fitness, or are getting into fitness. Here, RxBar was able to prove that brand design can be an effective tool. The bright colors and large typography in the packaging combined to make an effective product that would expand their market, and cause their target market to buy.
And, let's be honest, the packaging is pretty sexy.
This story allows us to realize just how powerful brand/design can be. Shortly after the company redesign, RxBar was picked up at major grocery stores, and it was recently bought by Kelloggs for $600 million. Yeah.
Ideas are very important, but the way you present the idea to your audience will determine your success.