Panera had long been a restaurant brand with integrity and honesty in its DNA. They were the first national restaurant company to use chicken raised without antibiotics, and voluntarily post calories on their menu panels for all to see. They had always worked to lead the fast casual category on a new path; they just hadn't ever taken credit for it.
Meanwhile, Americans had become cynical about corporate fast food giants and questioned whether Panera was any different. The Panera brand can be found at the same strip malls and freeway exits as other national restaurant chains. It makes sense that consumers would assume they're all the same.
When Panera announced its commitment to removing all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources from its U.S. food menu, we saw our opportunity to not only demonstrate differentiation, but prove we stand on the side of the customer and aim to lead a new path forward.
Strategy knew we needed to communicate our newly cleaned up U.S. food menu, free of all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources, in a way that went beyond differentiation from the fast casual category. We needed a bold demonstration of our philosophy and values that made a palpable impact on people's lives. We needed to go beyond traditional messaging. Action was the only way we would show we are truly on the side of the customer and leading a new path.
Challenging ingredient choices within the fast casual category's food can easily be interpreted as shaming the people who enjoy processed foods. It was critical that we boldly challenge the fast casual category without alienating people for their food choices. We would communicate through an uplifting, non-judgmental tone. We didn't want to present a false choice between "nutritious (or good for you) food" and "bad food". America had enough guilt and we certainly didn't want to fuel it. Thus, we would need to act in a way that demonstrated our values, philosophy and Cleaned up U.S. food menu, and called out the fast casual category without calling out the people who enjoy our competitors' food made with artificial preservatives.
We would develop a purpose-built brand act to demonstrate that we were leading the fast casual category to change, all while holding true to our principles of never shaming or judging and instead representing a positive relationship with food.
The engagement levels our content drove demonstrate the powerful impact it had on people.
In Phase 1:
Our story about the Boys and Girls Club drove significant purchase intent increases among those who watched on YouTube ("Crew Generic" (14%) and "BHT" 15s (10.4%) videos).
On Facebook we drove a significant 9 point lift in favorability towards Panera Bread, above norms of 2.1 points for all verticals! And we drove recall up by 12 points, above norms of 7.7 for all verticals and 9.7 for the restaurant vertical.
Our native content saw strong completions rates associated with regular 15s activity, far exceeding benchmarks (74% vs 20%).
In Phase 2:
1.4 million users engaged with our Facebook Live video with the first 9 hours!!
We saw a 5 second dwell time, 3 seconds higher than typical videos on Facebook.
On YouTube we used multiple tactics, including leveraging new to market product (TrueView for reach), which helped lead to an efficient .50% video view-to-store visit conversion rate.
On HuffPo, time spent on content was 33 seconds versus our 22 second benchmark based on what the brand had previously observed. Page views from content distribution front led to 41,000 views surpassing benchmarks of 32,000.Twitter Content teasing the 4th of July event had engagement rates significantly over our benchmarks at 2.05% vs 1%, as we capitalized on the real time, conversational nature of the platform.