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Build Brand Better: Panera Joins The 'Sonic Logo' Club.

Radio ads have successfully used the power of sound to create memorable audio logos, such as Auto Zone's whistle or McDonald’s “ba-da-ba-ba-ba.” Now, fast-casual restaurant chain Panera, a frequent radio advertiser, has joined the club with a brand refresh that includes a visually-distinct sonic logo with a radio-ready three-note sting capped by an “ooo” vocal close.

The retooled campaign is the brainchild of sonic branding agency Made Music Studio, which worked with Panera VP of Brand Building (and former Made Music employee) Drayton Martin to create a more vibrant look and sound. “We have this visual effect where you see our logo, and then these bursts come off of it, and so the music actually choreographs perfectly with that bursting moment, so that you have the audio and the visual stimulation,” Martin tells MarketingBrew.

Panera's refresh resulted from meetings where Made Music's team and Panera employees listened to various styles of music to find the perfect sound to, as Martin says, “capture that spirit of exciting anticipation” and “joy” around the eating experience. While the logo's instrumental portion is intended to reflect Panera's commitment to “real [and] fresh ingredients” by not using anything too synthesized in its sound, according to Martin, the vocal “ooo” at the end is meant to convey consumer satisfaction, Made Music President Lauren McGuire says.

Early consumer tests conducted by Made Music, in partnership with Sentient Decision Science, showed Panera placed in the top 9% of all sonic logos ever tested for its “emotional appeal,” outperforming McDonald’s, Arby’s and Netflix. Martin realizes that it will take time for people to associate the sound with Panera. “The key with audio, more than anything else, is discipline,” she says. “Panera needs to be so disciplined that whenever we show up, this is our signature, because sheer time is a factor in really cementing that audio association. [This] gives us our best chance that, when we’re running an ad, if nothing else, you realize it’s Panera.”

Panera Bread ran 303,037 spots on broadcast radio in the first six months of 2022 in the 100 markets tracked by Media Monitors to rank No. 37 among national advertisers.

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