What We All Learned from IHOP About Market Research (And 5 Things You Should Keep in Mind)

forthburger logo hop ihob market research

By Maddi Hardy

Who didn’t hear about the infamous scandal of IHOP becoming IHOb? It was a marketing scheme that flooded all of our social media channels. As it has now come out, it was never their plan to permanently change their name to IHOb. It was all just part of a grander plan to get people talking about their burgers. (We don’t know about you, but we found ourselves wondering how an IHOP burger would actually taste!)

With all of this talk about a huge change to a brand, or even a large marketing campaign, we saw a desperate need for a reminder of the purpose and importance of market research.

When you find your brand in need of a change, think first about this question: “Have I done the proper research?”

Taking the time to do market research is vital before you move forward with any action for your company. Let’s take a minute to talk about a few steps that should be covered throughout your research.

1. What is the reason behind the rebrand?

Is there a product you are ready to launch? Are you ready to drive traffic to your website to promote something new? IHOP wanted to take the opportunity to really push that they were more than just pancakes. They wanted people to fall in love with their burgers just the same.

2. Who is your target?

Who is your target audience? Before you move forward with any change, make sure that you have zeroed in on your target. There’s no need for a guessing game with your audience. This will also allow you to know which pieces of advertising you want to give the extra push. Are you prepared to create content that will relate to this target audience you have selected?

3. Know before you go.

It’s smart to go to our trusty friend, the internet, to look around at other’s promotions or brands. We can find ourselves accidentally using content that is familiar and it has the possibility of causing issues. Take a look at the resemblance between the temporary branding of IHOb and O.B.

IHOP OB logo comparison market research

A little too alike, right?

4. Let’s do this thing.

You’ve done your research, you’ve looked into other campaigns and you’re ready to go. IHOP set the standard of “just go with it.” Trust that your plan is exactly what your target audience is going to react to. Launch your content onto all channels for your audience to see. This integrated approach will hopefully include social channels, printed ads, email blasts or additions to your website.

5. Engage, engage, engage.

Don’t let all of your hard work and research go to waste. You have published this brand-new campaign and people are stoked about it! Don’t let them think you forgot about them. Do your absolute best to not let a comment go unnoticed. Engagement will allow for a longer lifespan of your campaign, and keep it running by keeping people excited.


Don’t make any mistakes with your next marketing campaign. Contact FORTHGEAR today to help you create the most effective marketing plan for your company.