Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.

Some products are easier to trust than others. I’m not sure if it’s better messaging on their part or less bias on mine. Whatever the reason, some brands don’t have to work as hard to capture my attention and trust. Because my defenses are lowered, I am much more apt to accept the message I’m receiving.

Take this spot for Panera Bread. The music, the voice-over, the video, the messaging—all of it works together to build the brand I have encountered personally.


My experience with Panera has been positive. I like their food, and the atmosphere is cozy, making for a great work-away-from-work spot. What I’m seeing and hearing in this ad matches what I know about the company.

Another way to describe this correlation between message and experience is authenticity. What I see and hear in the ad is what I get when I personally interact with the brand. Authenticity is crucial for brand trust and acceptance.

Something about this Panera ad caused me to consider what sort of ad Christians could develop. Would non-Christians watch our ad and say that what they see and hear matches what they know about God?

Panera’s message matches its offering. That’s a good goal for us as followers of Christ.