'Live Consciously:' Panera intros new platform to express brand values, purpose, culture

Feb. 19, 2013

Panera Bread Company has unveiled a new initiative — Live Consciously — to express its brand values, purpose and culture.

"Panera began with a simple commitment: To bake fresh bread every morning in our bakery-cafes," said Michael Simon, Panera's Senior VP and CMO. "That single, powerful commitment set the stage for a series of deliberate, challenging decisions that have essentially made this company what it is — how it conducts business, the kind of cultural values it wants to reflect, and the impact it wants to have on society."

To launch the platform, Panera 's new campaign is focused on its brand belief and values rather than on any specific product. The campaign features advertising in several channels — national cable and local television, digital video and digital display and social — with national print to follow next month.

Developed in partnership with Cramer-Krasselt, of Chicago, the campaign links the "Live Consciously" platform to two more words — "Eat Deliciously" — in referring broadly to the company's food offerings. The two concepts are shown as mutually reinforcing in a circular relationship.

The first of many television spots explaining the development of the brand platform shows how it evolved from the initial commitment to bake fresh bread.

"Our goal was to find a way to tell a memorable story that also felt completely authentic," said Marshall Ross, EVP and chief creative officer at Cramer-Krasselt. "So everything about this work is handmade; every element of art direction and performance is human-powered. Too many marketers will 'fake' real. With a client like Panera — genuine at its core — we just couldn't do that. And we're thrilled with the result — with how the look and feel offers a powerful meaning all its own." (Watch the video below)

Panera is also launching another application of the "Live Consciously" brand platform, a social media campaign called Food Chain Reaction. The campaign urges individuals to join with others to create online circles of five friends on Panera's Facebook page. For every circle of five friends formed, Panera will work with its Foundation to provide a bowl of its Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean soup to a person in need through its alliance with Feeding America, up to a total of 500,000 bowls.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in six Americans — including one in four children — is "food insecure," meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Panera's Food Chain Reaction reflects the proportion of those in need.

Last November, the company and the Panera Bread Foundation launched a strategic alliance with Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief charity, to stock food banks in more than 75 markets with Panera's Black Bean soup. And just last month, in Boston, the Foundation opened its fifth non-profit Panera Cares community cafe, where customers are asked to share in the responsibility of feeding those in need.

By raising awareness of the company's anti-hunger efforts, Simon said, the "Live Consciously" platform should help Panera expand those efforts even more. "To the extent that our customers come to feel more strongly about us, and that people embrace programs such as our Food Chain Reaction, we're going to be able to elevate the discussion and have an even greater impact on the serious problem of hunger in this country."

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Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management , Sustainability

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