After being listed as number five on Fast Company’s Most innovated social media company of 2017, Taco Bell is making a way for itself by focusing on the customers for product development and research. To reach customers in a more personal sense, Taco Bell has been using social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to review customers complaints, ideas, and creativity. “Instead of sitting behind glass and listening to a focus group, we now have access to 20 million consumers and can be inspired by them and connect with them and have real relationships with them (Lacy, L. (2016, November)”.
Taco Bell has garnered nearly 10.4 million Facebook fans and 1.7 million Twitter followers, not to mention their many other supporters on other social channels, such as Snapchat and Vine. The company has been using twitter to perfect the Quesalupa’s cheese pull. They have spent two years figuring out the perfect recipe to create the perfect cheesiness of the pull. The company’s social media team closely watches the brand’s Twitter to keep an eye out for customers who are disappointed by cheese that isn’t as stretchy as what is portrayed in ads (Taylor, K. (2017, April). If the team finds a complaint, the company spends out an email to reminds restaurants how to follow the recipe so ensure customer satisfaction. Being able to react instantaneously by social media listening, promotes a greater reaction time to ensure quality control amongst the company’s products.
Aside from Twitter, Instagram is being used in Taco Bell’s kitchen to help inspire new menu items. By using open innovation, the culinary team is always creating new ideas while always keeping tabs on the most-Instagrammed menu items for future recipe incorporation. The most talked about items are the limited time offers like the Fantasy Freezes and Cap’n Crunch Delite. Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s Chief Innovation Officer said, “We want people to talk about it, and blog about it, and get excited, and share their pictures. We can always make food taste good. But, how do you get that twist that makes it a part of people’s lives instead of just eating?” (Taylor, K. (2017, April). When customers share photos, blog, and tweet their Taco Bell experience the social media team can respond feedback that is positive or negative, and apply it towards new innovated products.
Lastly, Taco Bell has use social media for creating hype for new product development. When introducing the Quesalupa, Taco Bell wanted to create hype for the product by purchasing a Super Bowl ad and spreading it across all social media channels. “The chain ran an integrated marketing campaign beyond the 30-second spot, including a tongue-in-cheek redacted press release prior to the launch, a Snapchat filter, dynamic, contextual Facebook ads and even “blind” pre-ordering online (Dua, T. (2016, November)”. Creating hype about the new product got new and recurring customers talking about it, and the social media team was there to answer all questions.
Lessons for Others
Taco Bell has taken advantage of social media listening to perfect and develop new products. As a brand, they have a created an interactive community by listening and responding to their customers. Listening to your customers not only creates research but can spark new ideas for product development. Using social media for open innovation internally and externally can help advance new products to exceed customer satisfaction.
Industry: Fast Food
Name of Organization Contact: Taco Bell Representative
Authored by: Madison Fox
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Dua, T. (2016, November). Taco Bell CMO: ‘Innovation is a mindset and a culture’. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://digiday.com/marketing/taco-bell-cmo-marisa-thalberg/
Fast Company. Taco Bell: Most Innovative Company. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.fastcompany.com/company/taco-bell
Lacy, L. (2016, November). The Taco Bell Guide To Total Social Media Dominance. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.linkdex.com/en-us/inked/social-media-strategy-taco-bell/
Lee, A. (2017, June). 4 Ways Taco Bell Became The Millennial’s Favorite Taco. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.referralcandy.com/blog/taco-bell-word-of-mouth-marketing/
Luckerson, V. (2016, April). Taco Bell is On a Quest for the Perfect ‘Cheese-Pully Thing’. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://time.com/4292168/taco-bill-cheese-pull/
Patton, L. (2016, April). Taco Bell’s Incredible Two-Year Quest to Melt Cheese. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-13/taco-bell-s-incredible-two-year-quest-to-melt-cheese-perfectly
SOCi. S (2016, October). Behind Taco Bell’s Social Media Strategy | SOCi. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.meetsoci.com/blog/behind-taco-bells-social-media-strategy/
Taylor, K. (2017, April). Instagram powers Taco Bell’s innovation machine – and it’s completely changing the fast-food menu as we know it. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-powers-taco-bells-innovation-2017-4
Tulam, S. (2017, July). How Taco Bell is Winning at Social Media Marketing. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://www.business2community.com/social-media/taco-bell-winning-social-media-marketing-01887555#VH3dHIDWlirwY0qD.97