In case you haven’t already heard, IHOP is now serving burgers.
Wait…what? That pancake/breakfast place is serving burgers now?
This is exactly the reason the International House of Pancakes team decided change their name from IHOP to IHOb (International House of Burgers) last week. People saw IHOP solely as a pancake and breakfast spot for quick weekends with their family.In reality, IHOP is open until 10pm, with some restaurants open 24 hours. An analyst found that 50% of IHOP customers only go in for breakfast. IHOP wanted to communicate to customers that they stretch far beyond pancakes; they sell lunch and dinner as well.
How IHOP turned into IHOb
IHOP first pulled this stunt through Twitter by posting a tweet revealing that they “flipped their name” and asked people to guess what the “b” meant. This immediately turned #IHOb into a trending topic on Twitter, with hundreds of thousands of people tweeting and retweeting #IHOb, compared to about 20,000 tweets in 2017. Even media and news outlets began to pick up on the flip and created news segments specifically for the chain. IHOP didn’t stop at their name change. They deleted their @IHOP account and created a IHOb account where they are periodically tweeting.
This trending topic clearly shows the power of social media. People are constantly sharing and forwarding trends on the Internet, leading to widespread visibility for a company. Curiosity, interest, engagement, and fun was sparked with the IHOb campaign. A sort of game was created when the restaurant asked their Twitter followers what they thought of the change. When one person shared their guess for the “b” in IHOb, others chimed in.
The main takeaway is short and simple. People tend to respond very well to engaging and social oriented ads. This is why social media and other user-generated campaigns work. The most effective and reliable advertising strategy is still word-of-mouth. Whether this be a guessing game like IHOb, or using UGC like many retailers, people enjoy being part of a social group.
People enjoy sharing and tweeting their own thoughts. People enjoy seeing others share and tweet their thoughts. When companies use new and exciting ways to share content, customers tend to respond. There has been an oversaturation of brand created content and brands selling to people. When these companies craft new and engaging ways to market to their audience, a human relationship that is created, instead of a business to consumer relationship.
What’s Next for IHOb
While it’s still too early to tell whether this stunt will increase sales, It is safe to say that their social media strategy paid off big time. It will, however, come to no surprise if IHOP begins to see and influx in lunch and dinner customers. Their campaign was so successful and prevalent that it not only sparked customers’ interest, but their curiosity to try the breakfast chain’s other menus.
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