Why is Panera Sending Me Emails About Gardening?

Leveraging the “Overlap” Strategy

PaneraIt’s not a secret. I love to garden. Mostly vegetables. And I will admit that on a summer morning, I will stroll barefoot through my herb and veggie plot sipping a cup of coffee. But this does not explain why I received an email from Panera Bread last week promoting gardening tips.

For years, Panera has promoted their products as high quality, great tasting and lovingly made with fresh ingredients. But why is Panera sending me gardening tips?

The Overlap Strategy

As a loyalty card holder, Panera has shared repeatedly with me about their points of difference, product benefits and in-store experience.  They are now expanding their conversation beyond specific products to a common theme which is freshness.  The ultimate in freshness comes from your own garden.  Somehow, in the branding world of things, Panera promoting gardening overlaps with freshness and actually builds their
panera_overlapown brand in my mind.

The overlap strategy looks beyond the product being sold and instead focuses on a high level common interest of both the customer and business.

Diagnose Your Diesel

One of my clients, Hot Shot’s Secret, provides problem specific solutions for diesel engines in the form of oil and fuel additives.  We consistently inform the market on the symptoms, the benefits of stiction elimination and the feeling of restoring their diesel’s original performance power.

hss_overlapIn March of 2015, the overlap strategy was engaged with the launch of Diagnose Your Diesel. This is a DIY diagnosis site that addresses a multitude of diesel problems. The key is that all of the solutions do NOT end up with the answer being a Hot Shot’s Secret product. Often, there are several steps for diesel owners to try and solve their problems before he gets to the need to purchase Hot Shot’s Secret products.

Basically, the company is saying, “We solve your problems – but not necessarily with our products.” The overlap of helping their market diagnose the diesel problem attracts new people that expands their footprint in their industry and builds credibility.  A very valuable asset in the additives market.

By empowering the consumer and educating them to all of the possible options, the impact in early tests has been impressive. The conversion rate of consumers purchasing products online has doubled after engaging Diagnose Your Diesel.

Ask Yourself…

1. What are your company’s passions, brand traits or core beliefs?

2. What is your prospective market looking for? Approach this from a higher perspective than “they want our product.”

3. What is the common overlap? Can you engage them in a discussion about this?Provide them insight, education or DIY tools on a broader scale to build credibility and increase conversion.

I look forward to hearing your how you have leveraged “the overlap” in your marketing. And I’d love to hear a few of your gardening tips!  Comment on these below!


Here is a look at me in my 6′ x 45′ city garden

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