Inside Panera’s “Food as it Should Be” Campaign

February 15, 2019

By Emma Phipps


Effective brand marketing is essential to foster loyalty and connect with consumers. Chris Hollander, SVP of marketing at Panera Bread, answers questions on Panera's brand marketing strategy, embracing transparency, focusing on the customer, and crafting successful loyalty programs ahead of his session at the 2019 ANA Brand Masters Conference, presented by Twitter.


Panera Bread has whole-heartedly embraced the "Food as it Should Be" campaign and have been completely transparent in your clean food journey. How has this ultimately helped differentiate your brand?

We know today's consumer is smart, they make good decisions for themselves, and they are increasingly looking for clean, healthy options. But they also need transparency, and it's up to restaurants and food manufacturers to provide it to them. All of Panera's marketing efforts ladder up to the "Food as it Should Be" groundwork, our long-term commitment to providing customers with greater transparency and clean ingredients to meet and exceed their expectations. Our new labeling commitment to post the whole grain content of breads on our menus is one example of how we are challenging America's food system to embrace transparency. We believe when you have a brand that stands for something, it's not marketing for marketing's sake — it's marketing to make a difference.


You've recently started to include delivery as an offering. What made you decide to go in to delivery?

Consumers increasingly want the ability to order food on-demand, whether at home or in the workplace. Yet there is a lack of clean options available to consumers for delivery outside of major cities. We believe it can be a major contributor to our future growth, and allows us to not only serve guests what food they want, how they want it made — but also where they want to eat it.


What could other brands learn from Panera's focus on their customer and what they're ultimately looking for?

We constantly challenge ourselves to understand what matters most to our customer — what they are asking of us. When you know what matters, you can let marketing do its job. For Panera, personalization and customer loyalty are critical components of our business. We know consumers appreciate brands whose values are similar to their own, and we offer a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our own families. We are always focused on improving our guest experience — both in cafes and digitally — to meet the consumer where they are.


With over 30 million customers in your MyPanera loyalty program how do you consistently focus on the customer in your messaging?

We are always looking into more opportunities to provide a better, more personalized experience. Our MyPanera loyalty program is the largest in the industry, and we utilize data from our 30 million plus members to roll out more personalized, one-to-one marketing. For example, while everyone loves rewards, they need to be relevant and useful rewards to them. This personalized approach keeps people engaged, drives loyalty, and ultimately increases sales.

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