Brand salience is critical in the crowded food and beverage category, because daily decisions about what to eat are based on convenience and familiarity. At the start of 2018, salience was not on Panera's side. Total brand mentions were in a gradual, three-year decline.
To add to the complexity, Panera was up against competitors' mammoth media spends. Between Sept '16 - Aug '17, McDonald's total spend was 10x Panera's; Subway, Taco Bell and Burger King's were all ~5x. Panera needed an immediate, efficient way to increase relevance with everyday consumers.
Panera's 2018 goal was to dominate social conversation. In other words: become a must-follow brand on social media.
We defined this, in part, by becoming our own top tweet. A key goal for 2018 was to ensure that the most talked about piece of content about Panera would be published by Panera.
For Panera, every post has a purpose that's inseparable from our brand strategy and our core products. When the team spotted a rising meme about bread, we knew we had the authority to dominate the conversation.
The team did just that in a single tweet.
One tweet. Zero production dollars. And not a dollar spent on paid media.
Within 24 hours, the tweet took the Internet by storm, crossing platforms as a meme, subsequently being featured on Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. More memes poured out of our original, as fans ran with the concept and applied it to some of their favorites. Even Influencers jumped on the meme.
Our team of community managers were all hands on deck, engaging and accelerating the conversation while the retweets rolled in on Twitter. Our 1:1 interactions helped spark new memes from fans, all in the name of bread.
Let's Get this Bread is now the best performing tweet about Panera on the platform. Ever. Our results as of December 2018 are -
• 20.3 MM impressions
• 764K social engagements
• 1.7K replies
• 140K social media mentions
This meme changed the way that our fans interact with us
This meme was a cultural catalyst, propelling Panera Bread to the forefront of relevant social conversation and transforming the way fans interact with us.
Many fans now start their days by tweeting @PaneraBread that they're excited to be 'getting this bread,' as if it's a morning affirmation.
High school and college athletes @tag Panera in posts prior to a game, asking Panera to cheer them on as they get this bread.
Panera fans even dressed up as Let's Get This Bread as a 2018 Halloween costume.
Panera put a rising meme on the map
Not only did our tweet change the way people interact with Panera on social, it propelled the Let's Get This Bread meme to stardom. We saw a nearly 350% increase of mentions of the Let's Get This Bread meme after our tweet was published on September 19th, 2018. [BA1] To date, 28% of the Let's Get This Bread conversation mentions Panera Bread (through 12/31/18).
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