Panera’s Pay-What-You-Can Conundrum: Highlighting the Power of Employee Engagement

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Panera’s Pay-What-You-Can Conundrum: Highlighting the Power of Employee Engagement

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Monday, July 15, 2013 - 10:15am

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Just four months after its launch, Panera Bread is pulling its "Meal of Shared Responsibility" from cafes. The meal, a turkey chili-filled bread bowl with a suggested retail price of $5.48, was featured in 48 locations as a pay-what-you-can option – a complement to Panera's work to fight food insecurity in the U.S. Despite a strong start, the program slowly faded into oblivion as marketing efforts ebbed and employees stopped "explaining the concept to customers," according to the Associated Press. While Panera reexamines the program and how it might reactivate it successfully, the sputtering of the "Meal of Shared Responsibility" shines a light on the importance of employee engagement… and what can happen when that engagement is put on the back-burner.

As the face and mouthpiece of your brand, employees are often your strongest advocates. They're on the front lines and wield the power to motivate broader consumer buy-in to your CSR program. In fact, 70 percent of consumers said they are more likely to make a cause-related purchase or donation if an employee recommends it, according to the 2010 Cone Communications Cause Evolution Study.

Employee engagement is a critical, not-to-be-overlooked component of any CSR program. Recognize their power, and engage them consistently. Although Panera's "Meal of Shared Responsibility" possesses some imperfections, it may well have lived longer and more successfully if Panera employees received continued motivation to communicate the program after the initial buzz died down.  

Working on a CSR program? Consider these four tips for effective employee engagement:

To read more on Cone's Prove Your Purpose blog, please click here.

 

Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Branding | Cause Marketing | Employee Engagment | Marketing | Media and Communications | PR | Responsible Production & Consumption | Social Change

CONTENT: Blog

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