By Brittney Prather
Stick it! As Panera Bread Vice President of Public Relations Jonathan Yohannan commented, “Brands change and shift, but what does that shift look like?”
In the Sticking to the Brand session, it discussed how Panera strives to give customers the best and healthiest product, be transparent about who they are and what they sell and to make sure that the policies it makes align with the brand name and image.
Community involvement is such a large part of Panera's culture. Each day, Panera makes it a point to donate baked goods everyday. The company donates over 100 million products in addition to setting up a handful of stores in which people can pay whatever they want for a product. Panera does this so that if you want to pay more for a product, it helps pay for someone who may not be able to afford purchasing food items otherwise. This shows that Panera is a community involved company and that they want the best for others. “If you do right by guest and associates, you will be rewarded,” said Yohannan.
Transparency is another key component to the wide success of Panera and its brand image. Yohannan described how Panera completely changed its menu to incorporate healthier ingredients, removed preservatives and GMOs; launched the “No No List” that incorporated the ingredients that would no longer be in Panera’s products; carried out its Kids Meal Promise that does not tailor food and toys to kids, but rather focuses on the product that is being served instead. In doing this, Panera has been rewarded for its transparency through customers knowing what they are getting with the product and the brand.
Although community and transparency is important, in the end, it is about having a dialogue, talking about the issues that matter and addressing it in a way that is both truthful and beneficial to customers.