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Taco Bell has become a leader among fast food brands when it comes to developing and implementing an innovative marketing strategy that wins and retains customers. According to recent reports, Taco Bell is the only Yum Brands chain to report an increase in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Taco Bell regularly adjusts its brand strategy. This includes more than just changing words. The fast food restaurant is also taking visual action by renewing its overall image and logo.
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Taco Bell keeps its brand pillars intact despite frequent and more minor tweaks. Instead, these brand pillars are the common thread that allows brand refreshes to happen without confusing Taco Bell’s customers and target audience.
The approach was to keep the main recognizable elements like the bell and simply change the color and stylized elements around that visual. These brand refresh moments incorporate what Taco Bell knows about the preferences of its core audience.
Taco Bell is confident in who it is as a brand and doesn’t guess what it should do for its customers. It means delivering clear messages that Taco Bell is the go-to quick-service brand for fast, hot, and affordable Tex-Mex-style products. Taco Bell’s messaging, menu, and hours of operation reflect that confidence in the ability to deliver food to those with little money who want to pick up food — sometimes at 3:00 a.m.
Even with its confidence, Taco Bell always listens to customers and adapts if necessary. There have been times when Taco Bell removed items from the menu only to get feedback from customers that they missed those items. It’s clear that Taco Bell is listening, as some of these items have been brought back based on customer requests.
Although the majority of its audience is made up of millennials, Taco Bell has taken a more inclusive approach to its marketing. Some ads have featured a much older crowd partying late into the wee hours, as Taco Bell wants to include any demographic that enjoys a late-night taco, Crunchwrap, or other Taco Bell product.
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Knowledge of the public
Taco Bell has also spent considerable time researching the habits and lifestyles of its audience. He leverages this knowledge by updating menus to reflect customers’ changing food preferences. This helps keep customers interested and engaged.
Taco Bell research has shown that customers prefer the convenience of a drive-thru over physically entering a restaurant. Thanks to this idea, during the pandemic, Taco Bell was quick to partner with delivery apps long before other fast food chains. Additionally, the company made sure to use social media to let customers know they could pick up their favorite food at the drive-thru, even in the back of a Lyft vehicle.
In their social media posts, Taco Bell’s posts sound more like posts a friend would write than a business. Many updates feel like memories of having a late night meal after a great night out or the first time you tried one of Taco Bell’s menu items.
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Taco Bell’s marketing team isn’t afraid to do something different than other fast food outlets with advertising. There’s nothing corporate or stuffy about corporate campaigns. Instead, team members reach out to their audiences with fun and entertaining television and internet commercials as well as social media content.
One of its unique approaches is to create advertisements from the viewer’s perspective, as if they were picking up the food. For example, these ads have close-up photography to put the food front and center, as if the viewer can just pick it up and enjoy it. This provides an authentic and tempting appeal not seen in other advertisements.
From soliciting a taco emoji to creating a Snapchat lens, Taco Bell shows it has its finger on what its audience wants from a brand on its social media feeds. The launch of a cross-product Doritos and even a pop-up hotel illustrate that Taco Bell is willing to try new things that no other fast food brand may have even considered.
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By engaging with internet influencers and other brands like Old Spice, Taco Bell has proven that influencer marketing can go a long way to engaging with an audience and proving that businesses need to be more authentic in their online conversations. .
Taco Bell turned influencers into enthusiastic fans by sending them products ahead of the official release. He has also created viral social media content by taking a lighthearted approach to how he picks up existing hashtags. For example, the hashtag “#10ThingsIGetAlot” elicited a response from Taco Bell where team members tweeted, “Do you sell bells?” and added this hashtag. It got a lot of laughs and attention.
Another successful influencer marketing tactic was Taco Bell’s handwritten notes and brand-related articles that he sent to influencers like actresses, musicians, and other popular celebrities. For example, he sent a ring and a letter to actress and model Chrissy Teigen in response to her wedding tweet. It received a response from him on social media and generated more viral attention on the internet. It was a positive and fun way for Taco Bell to get its message across.
Not perfect, but a real marketing asset
Taco Bell hasn’t always knocked it out of the park with every campaign. What he has done is raise the bar, try new approaches to marketing, and remain passionate about improving the way he interacts with audiences and customers. Many of the lessons here can be leveraged across everything from a startup to an established business across many industries.
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