How to Build a Branding Strategy: Examples from Panera Bread

by | Nov 24, 2022

In the business industry, branding is absolutely everything. You can’t think of Panera Bread, Coca-Cola, or even McDonald’s without knowing their brand image. There are a multitude of factors that allow you to determine what branding strategies are best for your business. 

Branding Strategy: Examples from Panera

Take note of the different branding strategies that can help you decide what method is best for you and your goals, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration along the way!

Panera Bread’s Branding Strategies

When COVID-19 hit, Panera’s quick decision-making significantly impacted its brand and its customers. It wasn’t shy about launching new and unique initiatives like its coffee membership or Panera Grocery.

Its branding strategies have allowed them to stay ahead of the competition, and if you can identify your brand’s differentiating factor — lean into it, stand by it, and live by it!

Upgrading Its Style

The casual yet comfortable chain redesigned its brick-and-mortar restaurants to inject more character into its setting and digital experiences. Bakery ovens were moved to the front, allowing customers to view the fresh-baked offerings and even speak with employees about their natural ingredients. Customers can see and smell the trademark bread right as it comes out of the oven!

Panera’s Content Features Quality Photos and Recipes

Panera has a content hub called Panera at Home, which ties into the dressings, bread, and packaged products they sell in grocery stores. Every recipe shared on their site is guaranteed to make your mouth water and maybe inspire you to make your own twist on their delicious meals.

Better yet, each recipe is easy to make and fun to throw together! Along with the health-conscious brand, you can even sort the meal ideas by your dietary preferences. With so many options, customers have unlimited choices, which keeps them coming back to try new things.

Implementing Reward Programs

If you sign up for Panera’s reward program, you may find a sweet surprise in your email! Panera sends emails that help customers make the most out of their membership. It encourages them to rack up points to unlock more delightful treats, exclusive previews, or even invitations to special events!

It’s a great idea to look for opportunities to make your target demographic feel special. They’ll repay you with brand loyalty and more purchases when you give them the good stuff!

There will always be risks with branding strategies, but it also enables and encourages innovation and creativity, which can be an important product or service differentiator. Failed risks aren’t always harmful! Sometimes, they provide the most valuable business lessons an entrepreneur can learn! Failure helps shape future business strategies and can eventually lead to business growth.

To ensure that your brand sends the right message to customers, it’s important to take the time upfront to determine who you are and develop your big idea in sync with your brand.

Create Your Own Branding Strategy

There are no right or wrong branding strategies; it just depends on what your business is looking for exactly! But the key is to keep it consistent and creative to avoid mistakes along the way.


Every message, social media post, and interaction from your business needs to have the same tone and voice. If you lack a clear brand voice, it may be difficult for customers to know who you are and your values.


Though you should stay cohesive, as the market changes, it’s a good idea to adapt to new conditions. Consider getting customer feedback on your branding strategies to see if one works better than the other.

Involvement From The Whole Team

For your branding strategy to be successful, everyone should be involved! Taking the time to walk your employees through your strategy will guarantee they are confident in explaining and promoting it to customers.


Brands reflect the people within them. Therefore they have human characteristics. “Humanizing” your brand will allow you to connect with your demographic more meaningfully. Think of it this way: What does your brand bring to the table that no other company has to offer? That may just be your purpose.


It’s always ideal for keeping up with other companies to see what they’re doing. You may even be able to take some inspiration if their branding strategies are successful for a similar demographic!


Without your customers, your brand has nothing. But if you acknowledge and show gratitude to them, they are more likely to return and bring their loyalty or even referrals.

Branding Strategy Examples

Remember that a brand strategy is not just crucial for introducing your brand; you need to keep strategizing throughout your time in business! The best way to choose a strategy is to look at the big brands and see what is successful.

Product Branding

Making a single product identifiable is probably the most common branding strategy. This is useful if the product range has a distinct target audience or different qualities from the company. Having a recognizable symbol or graphic can help customers identify your brand instantly.

New Demographic Targeting

New demographics can come from anywhere, and maybe you want to try to reach those! Being adaptable and changing your brand’s image can appeal to others you may not have thought would be a target demographic.

Brand Extension

This strategy is used when a company has established a brand to sell a certain kind of product and decides to expand into another area. The business benefits from the associations customers already made with the original brand!

Brand strategies can make or break your business’s success. Your brand image helps build rapport with potential new customers and hopefully start a conversation about your services or products!

Ready to take your branding to the next level? Download our free Content Marketing Guide below for professional tips, tricks, and strategies to help you unify your branding efforts.

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