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IHOP Name Change – Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Remember that brief time in pancake history when IHOP changed its name to IHOb? Yes, it was a change that left the entire nation puzzled and somewhat feeling betrayed. However, this new identity was all too swift, as they went back to their old roots. And now, this change got us questioning, was this a brilliant IHOP marketing stunt or just luck?IHOP Name Change - Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Return on Investment for the IHOP Campaign

IHOP received great exposure that put it on the spotlight. Otherwise, how else would they bring attention to their new menu addition – burgers? We can speculate that this IHOP campaign to bring attention to their burgers worked. It got people lining outside their doors, including Food and Wine. Whatever the reason for this IHOP name change was, we sure are happy to see that the beloved International House of Pancakes would never turn their backs on pancakes – as they captioned on Instagram.

IHOP Backlinks

Getting these types of backlinks (e.g. Food & Wine) is ridiculously good for IHOP. When, if ever, would IHOP get this type of exposure? They wouldn’t. This clever IHOP marketing stunt was a success that gave the chain restaurant online prominence.

IHOP Campaign Media Coverage

With any major news comes major media coverage. And of course, this IHOP campaign was no exception. The media coverage for the IHOP name change illustrated their surprise as well as that of consumers. Fox News and NBC Right Now are some of the TV news stations that commented on this change. Sure enough people took this matter to Twitter where IHOP held a poll for users to guess the meaning of their new acronym.

Brilliant IHOP Marketing Stunt

We must admit that it was the best marketing stunt ever by a chain restaurant. Why? It’s simple. Not only did this unexpected name change shake consumers to their core, it also brought plenty of press to the chain restaurants. The fine dining magazine Food & Wine, equally as surprised as the rest of us, featured the IHOP name change in an article about the restaurant’s identity. This reflects the genius behind their marketing strategy because, again, when would IHOP get this type of exposure? It got people talking everywhere, on social media, on news channels, at work. Also, curious consumers and regulars now felt they had to go and try their burgers.

https://twitter.com/AntoniaMireles_/status/1012402427587416065

Faux Outrage?

Twitter is the platform of choice for people to take their opinions to. And surely consumers gave the world a piece of their mind, but did they take it too far? Did this new name call for a boycott?

IHOP Campaign or Mere Luck

We should also consider that luck played a role in the campaign. IHOP, a stamp for pancakes, has been around for decades. What better way to make national noise than to tease a brand change, while adding new menu items and increasing foot traffic to their restaurants? But how much more creative can one get to push a campaign for a menu item? Does that mean that other chain restaurants should pull the same strategy in exchange of exposure? I dare say no, this was just a one-time thing for IHOP and I do not think it will work for other restaurants. Think cry wolf. Our digital culture is quick to realize and adapt … and even filter out future attempts. So, yes, maybe the stars aligned just right to bring them the luck IHOP needed to pull this off. However, with smart campaigns, is luck even planned for?

Well done IHOP! You kept us entertained, confused, and intrigued for a while, all to present your newest menu item and tease that you were changing your brand. At Energyhill we were fascinated by this IHOP marketing stunt and think it was a smart move for the chain. As a marketing and advertising company, we understand strategies and always devise tactics to help businesses grow. Now, don’t worry, we will not use this card of name change, but we will use business strategies to push your business forward. Contact us to get more information and get the conversation started.

Engage with us on social and give us your thoughts on this brilliant campaign. It was a campaign right IHOP?

Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Every business should have specific strategies to keep their online social presence active and up to date. The good news is that you can do something about it! You can grow your audience on social networks if you strategically work towards that goal. To help you get started, we made a list of some easy and fundamental steps that will get you on the right track.Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Set Clear Goals and Objectives for each Social Network

When you identify what your goals and objectives are before creating a strong social profile, then you will be able to have a social presence with purpose. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I going after?
  • Where do I want my company to be?
  • How can I get my company there – to where I envision it?

Knowing what you want to accomplish for your business will help you create meaningful posts that will attract followers. And thus lead you to grow your audience on social networks.

Get a Social Media Strategy

It is good you use your social accounts for a purpose. Set a marketing calendar to plan how often you will post about your services or products. Also, you want your audience to know you are an expert in your field. Thus, having material that shows your expertise will give you more credibility. Also, don’t forget to come up with ideas to release posts every so often, such as blogs, renovation pictures, community highlights, etc. This will keep your audience interested and active in your social pages.

Create Well-Rounded Social Profiles

When you are creating your social profiles and pages, make sure they have working links that lead your audience to your website. Include current pictures of your business and the services you provide, and give details about your business on the bio section. And of course, keep your posts up to date, along with periodic throwback posts to go with the trend.

Optimize Social Keywords

It’s all about the keywords! You need to make sure that the content you have is not only relevant and serves a purpose, but also contains keywords that will help you rank first on Google searches. Include the keywords you want your business to be known for. So, carefully create copy that follows SEO standards to grow your pages’ visibility and prominence in the search results.

Understand Your Social Audience

Put yourself in their shoes! In order to grow your audience on your social networks, you have to think about what the people you are targeting want and are looking for. Make sure you create copy/content that is relevant to your audience. Copy and content they will be able to identify with and that contains keywords they will be more likely to type on their search engines of choice. With this in mind, make sure you create social content that will draw them to your site while highlighting the services of your business.

Follow Your Target Audience and Engage with Them

Following your target audience on social media is just as important as having them follow you. This is especially helpful with other businesses you may want to collaborate with. Participate in online trends, such as holding polls about social events on Twitter, or use the “Ask Me a Question” feature on Instagram, just to name a few. This engagement with your followers will portray your business as approachable, a quality that will help you grow your audience on social networks.

Promote Your Social Accounts Internally

If you already have a strong social account with a lot of followers and a high click rate, then make sure you promote your other social profiles there! Invite your audience to follow your other accounts so they can be plugged in and know of any updates and news. For example, on Facebook promote your Twitter, and vice versa. We call this technique internally promoting your other social accounts.

Include Links to Your Other Social Media Accounts

Make sure you include the icons of your other social media accounts on your website. This makes for an easy flow of visitors and future followers of your account.

At Energyhill we devise the best business strategies to help businesses grow and give them more than brand recognition. Download our worksheet and grow your audience on social networks today! Also, contact us to learn more about how to take your brand to the next level.Social Media Strategy Worksheet thumbnail

Two Keys to Killer Copy

Angela discusses the value of keeping copy clear and concise.

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