IHOP announced on Twitter this week that, as of June 11, it’s changing its name to “IHOb.” The original post now has about 5 million views and 25,000 likes. It’s also sparked a couple of obvious questions like, “What does the ‘b’ stand for?” and “Does IHOP really need a rebrand?”
Just like the tweet says, IHOP has been around for 60 years. It doesn’t seem likely that changing the name — especially by just one letter — will change people’s perspectives of the breakfast-food chain.
Is this just a short-term publicity stunt or a long-term strategy? Here are three possible motives for IHOP’s announcement.
1. It’s a legitimate rebrand.
Let’s start by believing the company really does want to be called IHOb moving forward — even if it doesn’t make very much sense. Dine Brands, IHOP’s parent company, outperformed market expectationsfor the fifth consecutive quarter when it announced its earning in May of 2018, and its stock price is up 45.4 percent from this time last year.
Why would the company choose to change its brand when things are going well? Just as importantly, why would it create a long-term logo that looks so similar to a pre-existing brand?
The font choice looks a lot like the font for O.B. Tampons, which probably isn’t the vibe you want to give customers when rebranding yourself.
To me, this combination of factors points to the fact that the “rebrand” is really more of a marketing ploy. But, what could the company be marketing?
2. IHOP’s announcing a new focus on something that starts with “b.”
IHOP ran a poll the day after it announced its upcoming name change, asking its readers to guess what the “b” stood for.
The plurality of people selected “bacon,” although “barnacles” came in second place. However, it could point to the fact that IHOP is planning a promotion on bacon-related items or creating new menu options with bacon.
3. IHOP just flipped its logo upside down.
The letters “I,” “H,” and “O” are all vertically symmetrical, so if you flip them upside down, they’re still the same. The only letter in the company’s name that isn’t is the “P,” which as you can see from the company’s announcement animation, turns to a “b.” So, “IHOb” is really just “IHOP” upside down.
But, what is the point of flipping the logo upside down? Could it represent how you flip a pancake, an announcement of a new menu item or something else altogether?
It looks like we’ll find out the answer on June 11.