IHOP has a had a rough past few years. Their sales have fallen, their brand awareness has declined and ever-changing diet trends are threatening IHOP’s core offering. They needed to do something to get people back into their restaurants, and their main menu staple wasn’t driving people to their doors.
Like many failing brands, IHOP knew it needed to do something big to turn itself around.
It started with a tweet. On June 11, IHOP tweeted and announced that the brand was changing its name to IHOb and that everyone had to wait to find out what the “b” stood for. The delay between the name change announcement and the reveal of what the “b” stood for led to days of speculation on social media before the brand unexpectedly announced that the “b” stood for burgers.
While the burgers reveal left a lot of people confused, IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.
So why did IHOP’s creative move make so much sense? We analyzed the online conversation about the brand (as well as their menu items and industry trends) to uncover three reasons this move may go down in marketing textbooks: