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The Cool Ranch Tacos and the Side of Beans

How Taco Bell’s success with its Dorito Tacos highlights the two methods of branding your company and services.

We work on a lot of different things and it’s easy to get yourself caught up in the "I want our business to offer everything".

I overheard someone getting a quote from someone outside our company for something and I asked the person next to me "Why aren't we doing that internally? We've done it before and we easily could". The person then rattled off a bunch of high profile, very important projects and a reminder of our current staffing levels. And of course my reply was "yeah, but we could do that". And then the person said something, without any earlier mention to the context that came through loud and clear.

"Those aren't the Cool Ranch Tacos, that’s like the side of beans, focus on the Cool Ranch Tacos."

For those living under a rock, Taco Bell had a smashing success with the Doritos Locos Tacos, blowing their projected numbers out of the water, just crazy success levels, according to one report approximately 1M were sold per day since being introduced to the market. From a non-sales perspective, the menu addition added 15000 new jobs related due to the product alone. They then immediately followed up with the natural successor, the Cool Ranch Tacos. Everyone who likes a taco that I've talked to is super excited to try them, just the thought conjures up a tasty sensation for the pallet.

Then there's the beans, how could you possibly have a Taco Bell without beans? The answer is "you couldn't", they're obviously incredibly vital to Taco Bell.

But let’s face it, when's the last time that someone said "hey, have you heard about those beans at Taco Bell, they're awesome and we all need some." No, it’s just not going to happen despite us all agreeing that beans are a crucial staple to the Taco Bell experience.

I'm sure Taco Bell has big awards and kudos conventions like every company... and who's going to get all of the kudos and rewards this year: The guy focused on the Cool Ranch Tacos or the Beans?

And while in 5 years, the Doritos Taco product owner may have moved on to something new and great, the beans guy is probably still focusing on how to drive even lower costs on production line of a product that's been worked on and optimized already year-after-year-after-year.

Which brings me back to our business... when time and resources are a factor and you're working with people who are wowed by the latest and greatest, which then drives your follow-up projects: You can either focus on the Cool Ranch Tacos or the side of beans, and at this point in our businesses lifecycle the Cool Ranch Tacos seem like a lot more fun.

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