IHOP to IHOb: Is Rebranding Worth the Risk?

If you’re a user of social media or if you watched the news earlier this month, you have most likely heard about IHOP changing its name to IHOb. This announcement went viral on social media because it was not disclosed what the “b” stood for, which left it up to the audience to figure out what it symbolized. Bacon, breakfast and blockchain were some of the top guesses out of over 30,000+ that surfaced across channels.

SPOILER ALERT: The mysterious “b” stands for burgers and was announced several days after the initial announcement of the brand name change. While the re-branding campaign went viral and saw a spark of engagement and interest across the country, it was a huge risk and likely won’t see long-lasting benefits. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes re-branding can benefit a company and welcome a fresh perspective, but we recommend approaching with caution and making sure you have your ducks in a row before you go down a path that could be hard to turn around on.

Re-branding Do’s:

  1. Spark a conversation – let your followers do most of the talking. Although there was vagueness and confusion, ultimately, IHOP’s tactic worked and gained the attention they were looking for.
  2. Secure an escape route – make it a temporary change rather than completely re-routing the direction of your company.
  3. Keep your roots – the temporary change caused confusion and many people thought IHOP was abandoning breakfast. Luckily, IHOP released a statement that this is only a short-term change and that they will always be a breakfast spot. Phew!

Re-branding Don’ts:

  1. Upset other brands – Wendy’s, Burger King and Waffle House tweeted IHOP shaming them for their brand change and stepping on toes. Choose your battles.
  2. Be too vague – speculation took over and many people were confused, or still are, about the name change. Are they only serving burgers now? Lunch? What about breakfast? Make sure you are clear about your goals and relay the appropriate information to your followers and customers.
  3. Expect your sales to sky-rocket – even though engagement and company awareness increased, it doesn’t necessarily mean sales will increase. IHOP (or should we say IHOb) burgers aren’t new, they have always been on the menu.

Regardless of the long-term results from this campaign, we can confidently say that the short-term results were through the roof. News outlets, various companies and users of social media went into a frenzy from IHOb’s announcement. They put their name back up on the board and got people talking about their company and burgers, accomplishing their goals for the time being. Good job IHOb (for now).

Interested in branding or rebranding? Let us help you tell your story!