By Samantha Farland
At PRSSA International Conference in San Diego, I had the opportunity to listen to Erika Prime, Digital and Social Strategy Lead for Taco Bell speak at a session called The Gen Z Era: Learning the Intricacies of Social Media.
She said she couldn’t even land an interview coming out of college at CSUF. She felt really discouraged, so she started painting and posting on Instagram. She decided to build her resume by becoming a manager at a restaurant called Islands. She also worked at an ice rink where she met the manager of Anaheim ducks’ wife; she happened to do marketing for Taco Bell. She applied for an internship at Taco Bell and got it. She ended up being hired after only 4 months of working there as a content creator. Her advice from this is “If you have a passion still go after it.”
She took Taco Bell’s Instagram from 300,000 followers to over a million. Her day-to-day activities are always different.
“Working for fast food is fast,” she said.
They launch a product every four to six weeks. She is always building relationships with influencers and covering events.
“I was very fortunate that my job is super creative; fortunate to work with a company that allows their employees to grow.”
Social is changing constantly Erika Prime said, we re-strategize every single year, and we just finished our 2020 strategy.
The Gen Z Era:
Between each generation there are degrees of separation. The Gen Z generation wants someone to take the lead and do something. They want to positively impact the world. They think with their ethics and morals when it comes to making decisions and purchasing anything. This affects the way social media is presented to the consumer.
Case Study: Taco emoji campaign:
Millennials and taco enthusiasts everywhere were asking for a taco emoji to exist, especially because of National Taco Day. So, Taco Bell asked, “how do we help with that?” They created a Change.org petition to release a taco emoji on IOS. It had 33,000 supporters in 7 months. Apple then released it.
Case study: The Bell Hotel:
Taco Bell wondered, how do we create a cultural moment and community around our brand that’s hard for competitors to imitate?
“We really wanna make a worthwhile experience for you,” Prime said.
They decided to use influencers to help spread the word about the Bell Hotel and create a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect.
“Find the connections between your cult and their cults,” Prime said.
They chose Jeffree star, a Youtuber with 15 million subscribers. They had Jefree create a video in the Bell Hotel and it was #3 on trending the day it went live with 6.6 plus million views. They chose Jefree Star because his fans are similar to Taco Bell consumers: unapologetic and creative.
• Social media is so complex and oversaturated these days.
• We’re competing with culture! We aren’t competing with competition like Wendy’s or Burger King anymore.
• “It’s our job to stay in the know, we have to know not only what’s going on with the internet but with people”
• “We need to be able as a brand to connect and resonate with them and also be able to speak their language.”
• Listen to your audience. What are they saying? Who is influencing them?
• “All good ideas come from an insight”
• Keep making connections.