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TACO BELL EXPLORE

Branding Social-Driven Loyalty


PLAY YOUR LIFE

 

Taco Bell Explore is a new social media-based loyalty program that turns loyalty into a game and flips the traditional buy-stuff, get-discounts, buy-more-stuff loyalty model on its head.

Players first connect their social media accounts to the Taco Bell app. Sharing everyday activities, like going to the beach or taking a road trip with friends, wins them increasingly awesome prizes. Like the players themselves, Taco Bell Explore is propelled by adventure and everyday social engagement. It’s simple, timely, and way more culturally savvy than almost any other loyalty program out there.
 
So when Taco Bell Explore asked us to design its logo, we knew our design had to carry a lot on its shoulders.
 

This is how we branded Taco Bell Explore–how we started, what we learned along the way, and what we came up with.


WHERE DIGITAL MEETS REAL WORLD

 

Our brand design and language for Taco Bell Explore had to champion the brand’s digital-meets-real-world approach.

Our brand design for Taco Bell Explore would need to work across two channels:
 
 
The Taco Bell app
for Taco Bell Explore messaging and offers
Social media
for Taco Bell
Explore gameplay
 

STEP 1: BRAND MANIFESTO

 

Our early creative sessions revolved around the concepts of movement, adventure, and the belief that life is meant to be pursued.

 
As a critical test, we had to communicate these concepts to ourselves first. If our ideas couldn’t withstand our own design scrutiny, how would they hold up in the real world?
 
We chiseled and tapped and hammered at it. Countless rewrites later, we had our Taco Bell Explore manifesto:


We chase new experiences every day.
 
Taco Bell Explore is our shared game and shared movement.
 
We’re celebrating shaking things up, doing what’s unexpected, and inspiring everyone around you. We reward you for being you. For being awesome. For catching daily moments, both small and epic.
 
For playing your life, because life should be fun.


STEP 2: SKETCHING IT OUT

 

We talked and wrote and scribbled and scribbled and wrote and talked. A lot.

 

At one point, our preliminary sketching phase included this crazy, triangle-based writing system. We haven’t found a practical use for this language (yet), but it infused our logo design with purpose and secret meaning. And it’s really cool.

 


STEP 3: DESIGNING FOR MOVEMENT

 

Angles, open spaces, and motion define our Taco Bell Explore logo.

 

Two triangles, formed between the X and R and each E, reference the Taco Bell Explore/Play Your Life/Live Mas brand tenets. On top of that, the triangles form the archetypal one-point perspective—a road running to the horizon. Road trip!
 
And since every good adventure map has an X marking the spot, we drew special attention to our X. We also playfully left the P and R incomplete.
 
These light but important touches add expansion, lift, movement, and intrigue to our logo.

 

GETTING OUT THERE

 

Since launching mid-December 2015, Taco Bell Explore has seen explosive adoption among Taco Bell’s loyal fans –

 
so much so that the loyalty program gained thousands of users during soft-launch, even before it was officially announced.
 
We were honored to contribute to the branding and launch of Taco Bell Explore, and look forward to its continued success. But we’re really excited to answer the big question in the coming months: do you want to play?