The Gist: As IHOP rebrands to IHOb to promote its burgers, customer dining behavior likely won’t be impacted. The majority of the population thinks this move will hurt the brand. 

Whether your reaction was outrage, excitement, or indifference, you can’t deny that IHOP’s announcement last week to temporarily change its name to IHOb, along with the decision to serve burgers, got people talking. But, IHOP’s been planning this for a while–the IHOb Twitter handle was added in summer 2016.

Why has this rebranding been underway for almost 2 years? One reason, from our insights, is that there’s been a steep decline in the brand’s favorability for the past 6 years. This marketing stunt was likely a plan to kick-start the brand again to bring it back into conversation. 

While IHOP’s announcement has caused quite the buzz and has resulted in a spike of awareness in the company’s advertising/marketing efforts, there’s also been a spike of those who don’t like the new messaging or are indifferent towards it.

Clearly, the brand’s message is reaching people, but will the IHOburgers actually improve favorability and sales? It might be too soon to tell from intent insights (below). However, 89% of the population responded either one of two things: 1) they never went to IHOP; or 2) despite the name switch, their current visiting habits won’t be impacted. Even with the spur of conversation, this new burger focus won’t really change the behavior of nearly 90% of the population.

A relatively small percentage said they will dine there less or will completely stop going (8% total). Only 2% of the population reports that they’ll now visit more, leading us to believe that if this was truly an effort to improve favorability, it might not move the needle for IHOP. Time will tell.

Since we saw that the vast majority of respondents said their dining habits won’t be impacted by this change, we wanted to know if those people thought the name change would help or hurt the brand. Overwhelmingly, the population foresees the change hurting the brand. Of those who responded “I never went there, and this change does not affect that”, 56% think the name change will hurt the brand. Very few felt that it would benefit IHOP to make this move.

IHOP will likely have to do more to attract customers in order to boost its favorability given that the majority of the population won’t be more inclined to visit an IHOP now. CivicScience will be keeping tabs on IHOP as its rebranding efforts continue to unfold.