• Article via Forbes

How Taco Bell Balances Purpose & Playfulness


"As a brand, Taco Bell has maintained the mantle of a playful provocateur, with many associating the brand only with cheesy menu items (and stunts). But Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg wants to deepen and expand that story. Read on to learn about Taco Bell’s under-the-radar purpose-driven programs, her self-aware approach to brand, and how she balances work and life while staying inspired.

Aaron Kwittken: You went from cosmetics and beauty to Taco Bell, which if you look at it from a brand standpoint, isn’t a huge leap, but from a category standpoint, it feels like one. How did that happen?

Marisa Thalberg: The unexpectedness of going from luxury beauty in New York to QSR in California made it that much more interesting for me. I think it speaks highly of Taco Bell, and perhaps also of me, that we were willing to take this mutual chance on each other and saw opportunities in going against a straight from the industry hire. At the time, it was much more of a weighty decision to move our family from New York to California than the luxury beauty to Taco Bell part. But we managed all of it pretty well and it's been an incredible journey of leveraging the amazing talent and institutional knowledge within Taco Bell, and galvanizing around a bigger vision to expand and translate the brand."

Read the full interview by Aaron Kwittken on Forbes' website here.

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