Thursday, 28 March 2013

Taco Bell’s Internet Personality

I LOVE Taco Bell. I love them so much; I would take any opportunity to talk with people about how amazing Taco Bell is. All of their marketing efforts have worked on me, and I am a proud advocate for their brand. Which is a bit strange, considering I’ve never even eaten there.

Why all the passion?

Because Taco Bell’s Internet personality is someone I’d like to be best friends with. Sure, they’ve run the regular kinds of monetary driven promotions, donations, fundraisers so on and so forth. But it’s all the little things they do that add up to a quirky sense of humor, and a brand that isn’t afraid to have a little laugh at itself.

If you ever stumble upon Taco Bell’s Twitter or Facebook page, their online teams are often quick to respond – and respond with a bit of delightful tongue-in-cheek. Many service companies find social media hard to deal with because the nature of the forum can lead to disgruntled customers openly tarnishing your good name. Taco Bell is not immune to this, but instead of standard replies, they often respond with personalized solutions. Not only that, it’s obvious that their web team are given the authority to reply to customers with something a little unconventional.

So why is this so important in social media? For me, it’s the feeling that I am engaging with more than just a company – that there is a personality behind it all. You can find endless examples, like the one above, of Taco Bell just being a nice guy. And isn’t it much easier to engage with a ‘nice guy’ than a company that sees you as another statistic? Engagement goes both ways, and Taco Bell proves that giving a little back has huge returns.

Although some can argue this is all just a part of the marketing strategy of an emotionless company, when it comes to Social Media, the notion of ‘perception is reality’ rings true. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for other companies to take a leaf out of Taco Bell’s book, and spend some time being a ‘nice guy’ on the Internet (or at least a guy with a sense of humor).

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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