The Power of a Letter: IHOP’s Brief Rebrand Kept Conversation Cooking

It was a quick switch. IHOP, a household name, became IHOb. Not long after, the ubiquitous pancake house went back to its roots. It was stunt perhaps worth replicating, because a few months later, people are still talking.

The marketing stunt, meant to promote the brand’s burger offerings, generated a notable amount of attention for the restaurant chain. More people reported talking about IHOP with friends and family, and more remembered seeing ads.

Now, new data from YouGov shows that IHOP is still receiving more recognition than what’s typical for the brand in recent years.

Consider IHOP’s Word of Mouth score, which asks US consumers aged 18+ if they have discussed a specific brand with friends or family members in the past two weeks. On June 4, the day IHOP first announced it was changing to IHOb, 14 percent of American adults were talking about the restaurant chain. After peaking at 29 percent in early July, IHOP’s current Word of Mouth score stands at 20 percent— a higher number than anything IHOP has attained pre-IHOb.


In a similar fashion, IHOP’s Ad Awareness score — which asks US consumers aged 18+ if they’ve come across an advertisement for a particular brand in the past two weeks — reached an all-time high of 47 percent in late July before decreasing to its present score of 37 percent, which is still a significantly higher score than anything the restaurant chain has reached since YouGov began tracking it in late 2012.



But it's important to note that while data indicates that the IHOb campaign got people talking about the brand, this increase in exposure didn’t necessarily lead to an increase in potential sales. Interest in visiting an IHOP location declined from 45 percent on June 4 to a low of 33 percent about a month later among people who had either discussed the brand or seen an ad in the past two weeks, according to YouGov.