3 Marketing Lessons from IHOB


In case you haven’t been on social media in a while, we want to fill you in on what IHOB is all about. A couple of months ago, IHOP announced via Twitter that they were changing their name to IHOB. Although they initially kept the meaning of the new acronym a secret, they later revealed that it stood for International House of Burgers.

Because IHOP shrouded their announcement in secrecy, it created a lot of buzz. From Twitter to Reddit to Facebook, people were trying to figure out what this new name was all about. And once it was announced that “B” stood for burgers, the buzz continued online through ongoing discussions, memes and more.

If you’re wondering why IHOP put so much marketing push behind this name change, the answer is clear in their regulatory filings. For the last 10 quarters, the restaurant’s customer traffic has continued to fall. Since IHOP relies so heavily on customers coming in for breakfast, they wanted a way to remind the public that they also do lunch and dinner.

In terms of brand awareness, this marketing stunt was a complete success. The company’s word of mouth score is as high as it’s ever been since analysts began tracking this metric in 2012. Unfortunately, generating tons of awareness hasn’t translated into a smashing success for IHOP. Researchers found that interest in actually dining at any of IHOP’s 1,750 locations has remained about the same as it was before the IHOB campaign.

Since there’s a lot to be learned from what IHOP did and the outcome, we want to share three key marketing lessons:

  1. Going Viral Doesn’t Require Going Negative

In today’s online climate, it seems like negative comments and stories are the ones that get the most reach. While that’s often unfortunately true, the light-hearted nature of IHOP’s campaign shows that negativity isn’t a requirement for viral success.

  1. Virality Doesn’t Ensure Business Success

The Internet moves so fast that lots of attention is no longer a guarantee of being able to move the needle on business metrics that really matter. Simply telling people in a creative way that they have burgers wasn’t enough for IHOP to inspire the type of online desire that other brands like Supreme have mastered.

  1. Focus on the Bigger Marketing Picture

Before you put any resources behind a viral or another type of marketing push, be sure that you have a clear plan for converting the attention you receive into more transactions. Whether it’s doing something relevant or having a follow-up conversion activity, this is the piece of the puzzle that IHOP paid the price for missing.

By putting these marketing lessons into action, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re generating the right type of awareness and traffic for your business. And if you want to be sure that you can always keep up with any additional customer demand you generate, having a great credit card processor will provide that assurance.

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018