Not Just a Crisis Issue – Transparency as a CR Opportunity

Feb 16, 2011 4:45 PM ET
Taco Shells.jpg

What Do You Stand For?

The heated discussion around the Taco Bell lawsuit for using only 36 percent beef in its tacos has been wrongly framed. Although many view it as a crisis communication challenge, it is in fact a symptom of the company’s misaligned corporate responsibility priorities.

Taco Bell’s punchy response – “Thanks for Suing Us” – reaffirmed its lack of serious commitment to the issues that matter most. Stakeholders today are demanding greater transparency and assurance from the companies they patron. This lawsuit should serve notice to several players in the quick-serve industry – be transparent and honest about ingredients, whether it’s 87 percent turkey or 100 percent beef.

Today’s consumers will embrace Transparent Brands – those that demonstrate a laser-focus on issues that matter, openly share operational challenges without spin and make a commitment to honest engagement as a path to innovation.

Taco Bell can’t promote 100 percent beef like other quick-serve competitors. But the company’s response, indicating that consumers don’t care or expect less, isn’t true or sustainable. Competitors that can offer better ingredients should pounce. Transparency is the new brand opportunity.

  - Jonathan Yohannan, Senior Vice President   CONE11929