40 Under 40 2017: Matt Prince

PR and brand engagement manager, Taco Bell, 33

A taco emoji may never have reached smartphones without a push from Matt Prince. As PR and brand engagement manager at Taco Bell, Prince helped spearhead a petition to bring the emoji to smartphones and has been the driver of many of Taco Bell’s biggest cultural moments as he continues to support brand-building efforts and special projects, including food and digital innovation, brand engagement, and cultural topspin.

Prince led communications support for several highly successful new menu launches for the chain. Most recently, Prince steered PR efforts for Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa launch with a five-day tasting trial tour around the country to give media and food bloggers a taste of the new product. The tour ended with a successful Taco Bell Speakeasy two days prior to the product’s national rollout.

Social influencers, as well as Taco Bell fans, were invited to reserve a space at the speakeasy to be one of the first consumers to try the chalupa. The campaign generated more than 1,500 broadcast clips and articles. Trial on the launch day outpaced similar launches, all without any television ad support.

In 2015, Prince championed the efforts to save the first Taco Bell from a wrecking ball by successfully convincing Taco Bell executives to move the "Numero Uno" location on a truck from Downey, California, to Taco Bell’s headquarters in Irvine. Fans, franchisees, and people who worked at Numero Uno attended, and the move lit up the social sphere with positive memories and emotions about the brand.

In an industry that is constantly changing due to advances in technology and shifting consumer trust in mainstream media, Prince has found breakthrough ways to continue to tell stories through a myriad of communication vehicles.

  • He frequently speaks at universities around the country on topics such as personal branding, social media, professional development, and millennial workforce trends.
  • Prince mentors students from four universities in the Orange County, California, area.
  • In his previous position, Prince led social media engagement for The Walt Disney Co., where he developed and managed the company’s first ever social media command center and online engagement program.

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