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Essay: IHOP to IHOB: How Twitter Helped Launch a Pancake Brand into Social Media Fame

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  • Subject area(s): Sample essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 909 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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For the past two months, Twitter feeds all over North America have been occupied with shocking news that had great impact on various pancake lovers. Around June 4th 2018, IHOP tweeted that they are replacing the P with a B in their trademarked name. (See Appendix A for the initial announcement) It was announced over social media that they would be changing their company name to IHOB. In 2016 it was revealed an article written by Giselle Abramovich, the Senior & Strategic Editor of CMO.com, that Twitter is used as IHOP’s main social media platform. The name-change event took place mostly on Twitter due to the platform having the capability for users to have innovative conversations around IHOP. The news had spread like wildfire due to the face that over 11,000 Twitter users were talking about the tweet and using the hashtag, #IHOb. IHOP created a trend and even non-IHOP followers became intrigued, myself included. The news impacted a lot of non-twitter followers, screenshots of the tweets were shared by twitter users that also use other social media platforms. Twitter users created memes and shared the information across other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook which spiked IHOP as a topic of interactivity amongst various social media users.

The initial tweet as mentioned above was shared on June 4th, this spiked massive interest amongst various twitter users. IHOP gave no reasoning behind the name switch, multiple users shared their emotions about the tweet which gave a positive reaction for the tweet. This news encompassed various emotions from twitter users, including anger, confusion, and shock. As mentioned by Stokes, (2018) in The Essential Guide to Marketing in a Digital World, “The aim of any type of marketing is to keep and grow a customer base and stimulate sales in the future.” The reactions of the users to this name change, negative or positive brought massive attention to the tweet. IHOP was able to use Twitter as their main marketing platform to bring awareness as well as to grow and stimulate their sales. This change as mentioned above got a lot of attention which made it a very popular topic and gained IHOP a lot of stimulation for their brand.  Within the same week as the initial name change announcement, IHOP made a second announcement, this time stating that they would give the reason behind the name switch. The announcement claimed that IHOP would reveal the reasoning behind the name switch to the twitter fan base one week later on June 11th.  Leading up to the reveal date, debates took place on Twitter where users posted their opinions on what the "b" in IHOB could stand for, and why the name has changed. (See Appendix B for poll) IHOP tweeted some options in a poll, ranging from "Bacon" to "Barnacles." This gained attention from over 28,000 users of which they voted, retweeted, replied and/or liked the post. All of the retweets, comments, hashtags and polls kept IHOP trending on Twitter and kept IHOP’s name change a relevant topic of interest.

In addition to having the online uproar, IHOP changed their flagship location’s storefront name from IHOP to IHOB and posted the image on twitter. (See Appendix C for post) Many users who visit that specific location tweeted images of the storefront change which was then retweeted by IHOP themselves. When the date reached June 11th, IHOP sent out a post revealing that the “b” stands for burgers and that they are introducing a new line of burgers to their menu. Multiple twitter users posted pictures of them trying the new burgers at the new renounced IHOB which were retweeted by a lot of other users and IHOP themselves.

IHOP used Twitter in an excellent way due to the fact that they were able to target their ideal target market. IHOP and Twitter both pertain to an audience that is of all ages, IHOP is also affordable for most making the masses of twitter a great target audience. Twitter is also a great platform to spread news, have various opinions rise, and to get information spread.

Twitter is has been described by IHOP themselves as the best marketing tool to spike awareness and interactivity. A lot of companies find Twitter a great place to gain followers and promote marketing tactics, studies also show that having users interact is the best way to make a massive following. According to  Burton and  Soboleva, “Twitter is ideally placed to provide a highly interactive one-to-many information channel”(2011). IHOP used Twitter as the main online marketing platform that held the news of  their name change, the interactive environment made their announcements effective.

Posting one simple tweet on twitter however is not all that it took for IHOP to stay relevant amongst the other announcements on the platform. IHOP underwent a timeline to display this information so that the audience did not get bored and so that it stayed relevant and trending. When keeping the initial announcement of the name change relevant on social media, IHOP used a lot of witty puns which kept the audience engaged until the big reveal.  A lot of other companies also tweeted in response to IHOP as they addressed the change and joined in on the hype created. The broadcast of memes got a lot of companies in onto the hype which kept promoting the news on IHOP and resulted in a more efficient and effective spread of information in favor of IHOP.

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