Published on October 3, 2019, at 11:00 p.m.
by Ashby Brown.
Taco Bell, the bold, in-your-face brand that everyone either loves or loves to hate, does more than serve deliciously cheap, Mexican-inspired food. The brand repeatedly engages its target audience in new, interesting ways. Not only does the communication with its customers keep the taco-loving troops happy and fed, but it also moves the brand beyond its fast-food mission. With the creation of niche menu items, engaging social media content and branded merchandise, Taco Bell serves what its customers really want: supreme food and even better communications.
Through its serial commercials, many viewers became attached to Taco Bell advertisements. Whether the ads featured the tongue-in-cheek references to the Illuminati or created a story of their own, these short clips not only captured the interest of Taco Bell lovers, but of skeptics as well. Some fans even got tattoos in the brand’s likeness. This cult-like following of the Taco Bell image persuaded doubters to stop by their local Taco Bell restaurant. Many started to notice the ability to customize orders, which gave them all the stuff they wanted, and none that they didn’t.
Taco Bell capitalized on this trend back in 2015 when it found that its food items “can be customized more than 8 million ways.” This combination technique became more and more popular with the release of the Taco Bell mobile app, which allows all food items to be customized – whether that is adding more sauce or changing from meat to black beans. According to CNN, Taco Bell was the first and only fast-food chain to get a certification from the American Vegetarian Association. In September, the chain rolled out a new menu specifically for vegetarian items. How’s that for listening to your customers’ wants?
Now I know what you’re thinking – where’s the connection to public relations? I’ll tell you. Taco Bell doesn’t just have one of the best brand images. It also serves digital content that intrigues its audiences and ultimately adds new followers to the fan-favorite restaurant chain. But how?
Although many food brands connect with their customers through social media, Taco Bell takes a different approach. Using Instagram, the brand posts fun, bold content discussing new food items, upcoming events and featured merchandise. It also strategically uses Instagram stories by posting custom wallpapers for your phone, featuring up-and-coming musicians every Friday, and more. This not only engages the audience in a unique way, but it gives them a reason to come back to the social media page.
One aspect that I find especially genius is the Taco Bell merchandise store. Branded as the “Taco Store,” Bell lovers can indulge in premium branded merchandise. From Halloween costumes and sunglasses featured at its Taco Bell Hotel to stickers and hot sauce keychains, you dream it, the brand makes it … with its signature Taco Bell style, of course.
Owning a few Taco Bell clothing items myself, I can easily vouch for the effectiveness of this shop. No matter where I go in my Taco Bell merch, I always get asked about the fast-food chain. I have never left a conversation about my Taco Bell sweatshirt without saying, “You really need to try Taco Bell. It is seriously one of my favorite restaurants.” Without noticing it, I instantly become a brand ambassador … while Taco Bell is gaining all the profits! If that’s not a great way to continue a positive brand image among your target audience, I don’t know what is!
Not everyone will love Taco Bell as much as I do, and that’s OK. But one thing’s for sure – you can hate on a quesarito any day, but you can never hate on Taco Bell’s genius public relations skills.
To read more about the Taco Bell brand and its programs, visit the links below: