"The best marketing is when the customer doesn't know they're being marketed to" says RXBAR CMO, Victor Lee. His statement may ruffle some feathers but the truth is that great storytelling transcends marketing and becomes valuable entertainment. Episode 130 of Future Commerce covers lots of ground from the founder story of RXBAR to their broad category expansion in mass market and grocery, and how they have built tremendous brand affinity on a culture of honest, often blunt, simplicity and transparency.

Future Commerce has partnered with eTail to bring our listeners exclusive content and interviews. A huge thanks to the team at eTail for providing the show with such great content and material.

Main Takeaways:

  • Phillip is joined by the CMO of RXBAR, Victor Lee as part of the Future Commerce Etail series.
  • RXBAR has created a legacy brand with marketing that is aggressively transparent and honest.
  • In this day and age, a brand really can't dictate to consumers who they are; consumers tell the brand who they are, but brands like RXBAR can decide for themselves.
  • Storytelling in commerce has been skewed to mean many different things, but Victor gives us a very real and applicable definition of how to make your brand into a storyteller that matters.

RXBAR's History: Some Insights About Protein Bars:

  • RXBAR is a whole, real-food protein bar that has been around for a little over six years.
  • It was created in Chicago by two founders, one of which was an avid CrossFit aficionado who paid attention to what he was putting into his body.
  • The protein bar industry was booming, but most of the protein bars on the market did not live up to the promises they made when it came to their ingredients.
  • He then took his food knowledge and created the first versions of RXBAR out of his kitchen.

An Iconic Voice: How RXBAR Developed Their Messaging:

  • Phillip asks Victor to talk a little bit about the voice and tone that RXBAR has established and how that has become iconic at this point.
  • There was a problem with the big food industry and manufacturing industry, and RXBAR purposefully set out to not follow the negative standards being set by those industries.
  • Having a clean label product means that you can produce a label in which your product is made with the fewest ingredients possible.
  • One of the tones and mantras that RXBAR has held onto is the no BS Law, which can be interpreted as both the aggressive "no bullsh*t" side and the no "bad stuff" side.
  • Radical transparency and no BS work almost as mission statements for RXBAR.

Broadening Horizons: Not Just a Protein Bar Anymore:

  • There was a recent campaign featuring Ice T that captured the radical transparency that RXBAR has come to be known for.
  • In this day and age, a brand really can't dictate to consumers who they are; consumers tell the brand who they are.
  • RXBAR is maintaining its tone, but they are shifting focus to the product itself and what makes it no BS.
  • RXBAR also launched a kid's line of bars as well as a line of nut-butters this past year, bot of which maintain the guardrails set in place by the quality of the brand itself.

Expanding Without Dilution: Tips from an Expert:

  • From a CMO's perspective, how do you approach widening a product line in a way that does not dilute the brand as a whole?
  • If a product, brand, or company is afraid of a category because that category has been around for years, then that category never innovates.
  • There are lots of buzzwords regarding disruption and innovation, but RXBAR was able to go into a category to call out kind of what consumers need.
  • The best part about the truth is you never have to remember it.

The Keys to Success: How Victor Does It:

  • As a CMO, or at any level, you can't treat your role or job as a role or a job, you have to be a fan of it.
  • Victor is naturally curious about what other people are doing and why and the behaviors of such, because if he's not, then he's not thinking about his job the right way.
  • Typically, school rewards you for being right. But life and your career reward you for taking risks.
  • The average attention span of a human being is less than a goldfish; if Victor can't tell you something in three seconds, he loses, and he is fascinated with the psychology behind that.

Misunderstood Storytelling: The Harsh Truth:

  • Everybody says, "I want to tell a story," but then when it comes down to the creative execution of it, sometimes it's not a story, it's an ad.
  • If you tell a good story, and you're honest and forthright about it, and you're not trying to sell something that's not marketing, that's a story.
  • Brands should want to hear the stories of their consumers and not the other way around.
  • If a consumer tells a brand the story of why that consumer used a product and why it was more beneficial for their life, then that is the story that needs to be told.

Leaving a Legacy: Things to Strive For:

  • The end of the whole journey of a brand is the legacy that a brand leaves behind.
  • If tomorrow this brand did not exist would anybody notice?
  • Legacy comes in many forms and fashions, and it can be defined in many different ways and calculated with many different formulas.
  • How would you measure your brand's impact?

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! Where you aks yourself if tomorrow this brand did not exist will anybody notice? And is that a good barometer of "did you do the right thing and did you resonate"? Did you make an impact? Did you have the all-important legacy? And does this matter?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin.

Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at info@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels; we love hearing from our listeners!

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