How KIND is delivering on its higher brand purpose

KIND is a snack line that has grown from nothing in 2004 to over $550 million in 2015. Besides their remarkable success, I love the KIND brand for three reasons:

  1. The signature story of the founder Daniel Lubetzky creates the logic and motivation for the KIND brand.
  2. The higher brand purpose of delivering healthy, tasty snacks has defined a whole new subcategory, and KIND has found a way to communicate and deliver on the promise.
  3. The not-only-for-profit philosophy and its other higher purpose centers on encouraging people to reward acts of kindness. KIND’s higher purpose philosophy is communicated in the founder signature story.

The KIND Signature Story

To understand the KIND brand, one must appreciate its founder’s signature story. Daniel Lubetzky recalls how his father survived a Nazi concentration camp as a young boy, in part because of acts of kindness from others. He remembers his father explaining how a German soldier took a risk and threw a potato in his father’s direction. Because of such experiences, Lubetzky’s father always tried to make the lives of others better, and Lubetzky adopted this philosophy.

When Lubetzky graduated from law school in 1993, he was touched by the Oslo accords that brought the Israelis and Palestinians a road to peace. He decided to contribute to the idea by forming economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians and later between adversaries in other wars in Mexico, Siri Lanka, South Africa and Indonesia. His company had ventures such as sun-dried tomato spread, specialty sauces, a cosmetics basket and a craft-made apparel brand; all involving people who once opposed each other. While none of the businesses took off, the effort proved his point. This venue fostered the creativity, higher brand purpose, and commitment behind the idea.

During his travels, he was often frustrated by the absence of a healthy snack. This lack of nutritional snacking inspired the idea for a bar with recognizable, unprocessed ingredients like real fruit and whole nuts. He started hawking his concoctions in 2004 door-to-door to Manhattan stores, selling $1 million worth of bars in the first year. Things quickly took off from there.

A Higher Purpose—a Healthy, Tasty Snack

KIND is driven by a clear vision to be a healthy, tasty snack in a sea of snacks that look and feel very different. KIND products are composed of whole fruits and nuts, using gluten-free, non-GMO, sustainable ingredients with much less sugar than competitors. However, with ingredient and production barriers that required innovation, investment and commitment to overcome, these snack bars were not easy to produce.

The vision is incorporated into the brand, all the way down to the clear packaging that allows customers to see the ingredients. The tagline “ingredients you can see and pronounce” reinforces the message, and the messaged is emphasized by its transparent packaging that other brands can only admire. The presence of healthy snack options directly helps fight the obesity epidemic, driven in some part by processed, sugar-laden snack foods.

A Higher Purpose—Acts of Kindness

The Kind Movement stimulates acts of kindness throughout the community. There are #kindawesomeness cards that are handed out to someone doing a kind act for someone else. The card has a website and code and leads to the card holder to be sent a packet of KIND bars from the company. The bars are also sent with another card for the customer to give to someone they spot doing an act of kindness. As of today, there have been 1.2 million documented acts of kindness as a result.

There is also “KIND Causes” where members vote on which customer nominated causes should be supported with a $10,000 donation each month. They vote by committing to do an act of kindness. For example, one proposal was to train mentors for Dryhootch, a non- alcoholic rally point for military personal.

A New Subcategory

The credible delivery of a healthy, tasty snack with whole fruits and nuts has defined a new subcategory. For some, the subcategory is augmented with an association with acts of kindness. KIND has managed that subcategory in part by creating visibility by exploiting its inherent appeal and visual statement.

One key to the KIND success is its belief in the power of “and”. There can be a win-win with a great offering and a higher brand purpose. You don’t have to compromise— Both can live in the same brand.