A couple weeks back, AdWeek printed an interview with Taco Bell CMO David Ovens. In talking about Taco Bell’s value message, David made the distinction between “price value”, “abundant value” and “quality value”. At the time, it just sounded confusing, but with the Cantina Taco launch I’m really warming to his distinction. And to their value strategy overall.
- “Price Value” is what I (and probably most people) associate with Taco Bell. For example, 79-, 89-, 99-cent price points. Taco Bell owns cheap.
- “Abundant Value” is a hefty item at a fair price. Triple steak burrito is an example David Ovens uses. Sort of the positioning Carls Jr has gone after (though they might argue they have a quality overlay).
- “Quality Value” is a change in perception about Taco Bell. Cantina tacos fit the mold perfectly.
This framework provides a mindset for product development, as there will be an internal need to fill the pipeline in each category. It provides structure to communicate to customers, e.g., “abundant value” = ads like this.
Finally, it provides a great background for testing, as it sets up a range of risks and potential benefits. Margin risk can be mitigated by Price Value testing. New product risk can be mitigated by Quality Value testing. For example, the early reviews on food sites are that the cantina tacos are very good… but will people buy them? Will it work in California, land of the taco truck? In Texas, land of the flour tortilla? In the midwest, where corn means tortilla shells?
In addition to great insights into what specific products are working, testing can help find themes among the most successful offerings by value category. Certainly Quality Value works for others in QSR (Einstein Noah talked about it a lot at Restaurant Leadership). Will QV work for Taco Bell? If so, what media message and vehicles are required to support QV?
The value strategy is a good one, with real promise. With testing Taco Bell can figure out exactly how to turn that promise into results.
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