IHOP did what?

Jun 13, 2018

Why would a brand with 60 years of recognition suddenly change its name?

Earlier this month, International House of Pancakes tweeted that it was flipping the P in its name to a B. But why would remain a secret until June 11.

While the publicity stunt hasn’t gotten all good press, it’s garnered a lot of attention and continued to generate another round of coverage when the company revealed just what they’re up to.

Burgers. Seven new burgers to the menu.

The internet had correctly speculated that IHOb wouldn’t be a permanent name, but many predicted the whole campaign was in promotion of something a little more breakfast themed (the ideas ranged from something bacon-related to re-introducing IHOP’s pineapple upside down pancakes).

This is far from the first time a brand has updated its name to create a wider market for itself. Domino’s dropped “Pizza” to reflect its expanded menu options. Even Apple dropped “Computers” from its name in 2007 as it expanded its product line and started introducing some of the most revolutionary technology devices of our time.

And considering food spending outside the home surpassed spending on food at home in recent years, it makes sense that IHOP is eager to expand beyond pancakes. While IHOP’s sales have been strong, NPR notes that almost half of the restaurant’s business is done at breakfast time. That means there’s opportunity for more sales throughout the day, with arguably a more lunch-appropriate option on the menu.

Long story short: A tightly defined brand can be a differentiator, but it can also be limiting. An updated identity is a compelling way to tweak your brand story and reach new customers. In many cases, the change itself creates an opportunity for increased exposure.

This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Alex Irwin.

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