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Follow the Crowd, But Do It Differently
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There’s something to be said for trends and their popularity with customers. If something is “the thing of the moment,” brands are going to want to be involved. But when dealing with trends or popularity it’s important that brands make it unique, customize it, and do it correctly. This is what will make the difference between getting noticed and simply falling into a trend trap. Brands need to make it a priority to stand out, especially when every other brand is doing the same thing. How does this happen? Just take a lesson from Panera’s new Rube Goldberg machine. It follows a trend, yet the brand makes sure to do it the Panera way.

Rube Goldberg machines are the “thing” of today. Brands are using them, mostly ineffectively and annoyingly, to deliver a message about cause and effect. So there was little hope for Panera deciding to jump on the Rube Goldberg train. Luckily, Panera has proved everyone wrong. This brand has worked to really identify why a Rube Goldberg machine works for the brand. And oh, it is done so well.

Panera and its agency Cramer-Krasselt are talking about the brand’s higher purpose through the use of the Rube Goldberg machine. The creative combined with the important message is something that blends so well together that consumers must get the message. It’s like a Rube Goldberg machine taken to the next level. Panera is using this creative treatment to talk about all of the difficult decisions it makes to serve a higher goal. For example: the antibiotic-free chicken in many of its items and the donation of leftover food to charity every night. These aren’t new ideas, but the brand has finally figured out a way to connect them all together and let the customer see how it works.

Panera exceeded all the Rube Goldberg expectations, which quite truthfully were not high. But the brand took the time to look at a trend and determine if it could make it Panera’s own and cause a “wow” affect. The brand bakes fresh bread from fresh dough every day in every café; now that’s deserving of a Rube Goldberg machine in itself. So thank you, Panera, for taking a trend, doing it right, and creating something that is different while still being popular.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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