Fast food company Taco Bell recently added the Taco Bell Volcano Taco to their menu. Trying to recapture the popularity of the Taco Bell Volcano Burrito from the 1990’s, the Volcano Taco is advertised as being so hot your mouth will literally be set on fire when you eat it. As a lover of spicy foods, I thought I’d try it – talk about being disappointed.
The outer shell, which is meant to be spicier than the standard shells, is just another shell coloured red – at least that’s how it seems. And the sachet of hot sauce to make the Taco volcanic? HP Sauce is spicier. So sorry, Taco Bell, but your Volcanic Taco is a major fail.
Yet I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – after all, so many businesses make the same mistake of failing to deliver on the promise.
Whose fault is this? Is it the marketing or PR teams, who promise so much and then the reality can’t hope to match up with it? A good example of this was when Sony’s Playstation 2 was being readied for market, and the Japanese giants used pre-rendered CGI movies to try and convince everyone it was real-time graphics at work. The specialist press weren’t fooled, and Sony admitted to using CGI.
Or is it the fault of the CEO’s, who feel they need to over-promise to shareholders getting nervous at falling sales and losing ground to the competition? What better way to pacify questioning voices than the promise of something that will blow the competition away?
Wherever the blame lies, it’s a dangerous game to play. By failing to deliver on any kind of promise – even in our personal lives – we’re setting ourselves up for a mightier fall than had we been honest from the beginning. No-one likes to be short-changed – especially customers of a product or service. And when customers are upset, they walk. They also talk, though not in the way you’d like.
Instead of failing to deliver on a promise, we should all be striving to actually make good on our boasts. There’s an old saying that you should always under-promise and over-deliver. Far from being one of these wonderful phrases that become a buzz for a short while and then disappear, it’s something that continues to hold true today.
If you’re a car manufacturer and your latest sports car only does 140mph at top speed, say that. Don’t tell speed freaks that it will do 160mph – it’s just going to end up in disappointment. The same with a new detergent being the strongest yet, or a vacation spot where the “ocean view” is a tiny speck on the horizon.
The growth of blogging means that any shortcomings are available immediately to an information-hungry audience. And you can bet that if you fail to deliver on a promise, millions of people worldwide will soon know about it. Regardless of how good a PR or advertising campaign you might have, poor word-of-mouth via bloggers can result in an impact on your sales that you might never recover from.
Something that Taco Bell may find out, if early online reviews of their new Volcanic Taco are anything to go by. Sadly, their new Taco is more dormant than volcanic. Make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.
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