IHOP name change

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

11 June 2018

IHOP name change a complete disaster

What?! Last week, I suggest IHOP go all the way and change its name to IHOB with the B standing for breakfast. Laying out what I consider a strong argument, it was a strong long-term strategy. Today, IHOP totally screwed the pooch. Turns out the IHOP name change to IHOB comes with the B meaning…burgers.

IHOP name changeYou’ve got to be kidding me. Burgers? When the entire category is overflowing with burgers? It’d make just as much sense for the IHOP name change to IHOB to arrive with the B meaning beds.

Mattress stores overflow many busy streets, and so do burger joints.

The irony is that my argument uses the example of Burger King, a fast food chain trapped by a name of a menu item that over-saturates the market. I suggest Burger King rebrand – and have for years.

“If this holds, it’s truly one of the dumbest rebrands I’ve seen since New Coke.”

So, IHOP rebrands into that same trap. Even pancakes represent a better menu item to align with because it’s a niche and has nostalgic qualities. Meanwhile, sales among fast food chains suffer with only the breakfast segment growing. Why would IHOP leave that?

Why THIS IHOP name change?

Standing in IHOP’s, or IHOB’s shoes, I can only imagine it feels breakfast will soon hit a ceiling. Maybe. But burgers have already hit that ceiling. If this holds, it’s truly one of the dumbest rebrands I’ve seen since New Coke.

And here we all thought this was simply a marketing ploy. It still could be, but that’s just about as bad. As a brand, IHOP simply doesn’t have permission to play in that field. As a brand, IHOP means breakfast, family and Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity.

If IHOP feels it needs to do something for long-term health, this isn’t it. Instead, there’s a serious problem with the brand. I gave the brand a little more credit than it deserves above. The IHOP brand actually means very little.

In fact, instead of aligning with a menu item, the IHOP brand needs to align itself with the aspirational self-reflection of its customer. What does being an IHOP customer mean? Even if breakfast were a better value to align with, it still only does half the job. It still doesn’t involve the customer.

What a disaster. The IHOP name change to IHOB only means things are going to get worse for the brand, and brand repair isn’t far behind. Or just become the International House of Beds.

See more posts in the following related categories: Branding

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