IHOP’s campaign to rebrand as ‘IHOb’ created a huge buzz on Twitter. But did it increase IHOP’s sales? Or was it just a social media moment in time? The answer might surprise you.
In the middle of June 2018, IHOP, known as the International House of Pancakes, announced it would be changing its name to IHOb. The change was a creative play, turning the P upside down and making it a lowercase ‘b.’ The chain kept it a secret before revealing that the “b” stood for burgers.
What were the results? On social media, the publicity stunt was a hit. Research from Crimson Hexagon showed a huge spike on the day of the announcement, turning around a long decrease in popularity for the restaurant. Which is great news. But what about visits? That—was a different story. According to research from Foursquare, there was no increase in foot traffic into stores a week after the launch or beyond.
So, what happened? How do social media trends turn into sales? Here are a few thoughts:
Tips for turning a social media marketing campaign into business results
• Know Your Audience. The first thing I think the company missed on was the audience. Most of the tweets seemed to be confused as to why IHOP would go for burgers. Those who guessed before the announcement thought the “b” might have been for “breakfast” (which was my guess) or maybe bacon. Clearly, burgers did not make sense to the audience. When you know your audience, the moves you make, make sense to them.
• Align the campaign with the brand. Align your campaigns with your current brand and brand perception, and you will find more business success. IHOP has not really updated it’s rebranding for decades and is more of a nostalgic, classic brand than a hip, cool brand. Thinking about themselves in this way may have made this campaign better.
• Tie your campaign to an action before the business goal. The other big mistake this social media campaign made was that they went straight from the announcement to asking for visits. But, there was no incentive to for consumers to visit. For example, maybe if they asked users to vote on new burgers or submit their own ideas, they could have asked people to visit to find out which burgers won. Or, the team could have reached out to everyone who guessed and given them a coupon, with the winners getting a free burger. Small tweaks like this would give consumers more reasons to visit instead of just tweeting about it.
Social Media trends rarely turn into business outcomes. This is because it’s much easier to retweet and post than it is to make a purchase. That means you need to increase the value of the action and decrease the expense to the customer.
A great example was McDonald’s when they announced they were serving breakfast. The chain took to Twitter and responded toall the old tweets of people asking for breakfast all day ( here’s one of my mentor from 2008). Then, those that responded could direct message the chain and receive a coupon. This went over much better. McDonald’sales in that quarter rose 6 percent and its stock price rose to an all-time high.
The lesson here is simple. Making small, authentic changes to your brand is the best way for campaigns to create real business success. Use these tips above to make your digital campaigns a success!
For more tips on using social media for your business, visit https://todayonsocial.com. Today on Social provides social media tips, trends and news for small businesses, bloggers and brands.
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