Taco Bell has managed to successfully captivate the attention of Millennials everywhere and they continue to gain their loyalty. How has the once struggling Mexican fast food chain transformed its brand to capture possibly one of the most influential generations?

For the past several years, Taco Bell has made major changes and moved far away from targeting families and children to targeting a far more successful audience for them, Millennials. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are young adults born after 1980. Technology has heavily influenced Millennials during their youth and as a result has had significant impacts on their expectations for creativity and innovation in brands they are most loyal to. They desire immediate gratification and want to feel as though they are making a difference.

Yum Brands, Taco Bell’s parent company is being widely recognized for its innovative marketing styles. Taco Bell is leading the way in innovative marketing techniques. The brand has capitalized on the Millennial appetite for quick, easy, food and the use of technology by implementing fun and edgy marketing. They have heavily utilized social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to better connect with fans and establish their brand. The messages and content are very carefully and specifically designed for each form of media. Instead of using sites simply as announcement boards, Taco Bell uses them to engage their biggest audience. Social media is done in real-time, meaning they listen to their customers and respond to their customers. They constantly aim to make social media more exciting.

Videos have become key to the success of social media campaigns everywhere. More than three-quarters of viral social posts are video. Taco Bell caught onto the growing video trend early on and often posts short video content using Instagram and Vine. Through their “Feed The Beat” campaign they give fans the opportunity to discover new bands and new bands to discover fans. Performances are streamed live on YouTube for customers to enjoy allowing them to connect with their favorite bands and of course their favorite fast food restaurant. The program has supported more than six hundred up and coming music artists since its conception.

No matter what social site Taco Bell uses their aim is to upload content that will travel and travel quickly. They credit Millennials for driving their current culture and heavily rely on trends to be successful online. Taco Bell has been so successful in their online campaigns because they have been able to identify and target a specific niche early on.

Taco Bell has made targeting key influencers a main priority in their social media strategies. They understand that one of the most important aspects of social media is building authority. What better way to do that than to connect with top celebrities? Far from traditional marketing, Taco Bell sent out customized, gold, Taco Bell rings to influential female celebrities. Rings went out to people who were well known in the digital world for posting about Taco Bell. Influencers included, model Chrissy Teigen and MTV actress, Jessica Lu. While some may think the stunt was silly, it worked.

Taco Bell's Marketing

Several of the ladies posted pictures of the rings onto Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for their near millions of followers to see. It has also helped Taco Bell to establish a fan/friend persona with their key influencers.

In addition to all of their social media efforts they have increased the amount of technology they use by adding mobile payment and delivery apps. The online app allows users to order, customize, pay for their meals and get their meals delivered directly to them.

Taco Bell is also implementing another tactic to target Millennials. Earlier this year, Taco Bell announced they would be rolling out a chain of Taco Bell Cantina locations, which will serve alcoholic beverages. Cantina locations will not feature drive-thrus, but will be more of a casual dining experience with digital menu boards, live sports, and of course alcohol. Understanding that their main audience is heavily Millennials, Taco Bell aims to target growing urban areas such as Chicago and San Francisco, where several Millennials flock to for job opportunities.

Taco Bell’s heavy push to target this key audience is just one example of many that shows how eager brands are to understand Millennials. Not only is social media helping to boost their bottom line, it has helped them better establish their brand and develop a loyal fan base. Possibly one of the most significant aspects of Taco Bell’s social media plan is that they act like a fan rather than a large company. Taco Bell has definitely had a significant impact in transforming online marketing strategies as well as the way restaurants are using and engage online.