‘We are a lifestyle brand’: How IHOP’s social media strategy stacks up
On June 9, IHOP ran its first series of Facebook Live videos to promote its new range of “Paradise Pancakes.” The three videos were nothing more than a shot of pancakes sitting on a table at a beach. Yet together, they amassed over 385,000 video views with people watching over 171,000 minutes, quickly becoming IHOP’s highest-performing social video effort to date.
“It was deliberate use of a great new content forum that was clever, immersive and sticky,” said Kirk Thompson, svp of marketing at IHOP. “It drove attention to the pancakes but also allowed us to showcase our brand voice, enabling us to engage and interact with our audience.”
It didn’t stop there. One of the moments during the live stream that piqued fans’ interest the most was when a man with a beard popped into the frame to quickly take a bite of one of the pancakes before swiftly disappearing. IHOP brought back the “Beard Guy” in a 360 photo it posted on Facebook on June 16, which itself has garnered over 3,000 reactions.
IHOP’s most recent efforts tie in with the brand’s overarching social media strategy, said Thompson, which is to constantly try to be “in the right place and the right conversations in the right manner.” This wasn’t always the case, said Thompson, with social being merely an afterthought to traditional channels like print, radio and television. But within the last year and a half, IHOP has been quick to embrace emerging social tools such as Facebook Live and 360, while others have taken more of a wait-and-see approach.
On National Pancake Day in March, for instance, the brand set up a social war room in its agency MRM//McCann’s New York headquarters, monitoring trends throughout the day on social media and creating real-time content, like this doge-inspired pancake meme, in response. And earlier this year, when Snapchat introduced sponsored geofilters, IHOP was one of the first brands on board, targeting customers within IHOP restaurants with IHOP-themed overlays on the platform. In January, it used the hashtags #Panuary and #Entry on Instagram to encourage pancake lovers to compete in a pancake-eating competition. It also commissioned pancake artist Nathan Shields to turn fan photos into real-time pancake portraits on Twitter.
While IHOP is happy to engage with audiences and increase the number of its followers on social, ultimately it’s looking to sell pancakes. It might be working: IHOP’s total sales were up 8.1 percent over the past year while competitor Denny’s was up just 4.1 percent, according to Technomic. To sustain that growth, it will keep looking to social media as a way to insert itself into people’s lives on a daily basis, said Thompson.
“I would say that we are a lifestyle brand considering we’re a 58-year-old brand that’s been a part of people’s breakfast rituals and special moments for decades,” he said. “It is both healthy and important for us to remain a dynamic part of their lifestyles, even though the term may be overused today.”
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: As Apple and Google privacy updates near, marketers, media buyers see ‘adverse impact on advertisers’
Marketers and media buyers will need to rethink their relationship with data as a result to avoid becoming too dependent on walled gardens.
‘Consumers expect brands to act’: Why defining voice and values has become crucial for marketers amid crises
Instead of hoping that a brand won't be pulled into a crisis, marketers and agency execs need a clear idea of a brand's position on key issues.
Why more brands are looking to augmented reality product try ons to drive sales
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the expansion of augmented reality into brand e-commerce strategies.
SponsoredWhat a content hub can do for marketing teams
In a truly effective marketing team, each team member is aligned, using shared tools and processes to efficiently create, collaborate and connect with their customers. With a content hub, marketers can break down the silos that have traditionally held them back, increasing collaboration in the crucial planning and workflow stages. Implementing this technology will make […]
‘Pouring gasoline where it needs to be poured’: Why a DTC seafood company is rethinking its ad spend
One DTC company is moving away from Facebook and Instagram as the need to diversify media plans continues to heat up.
U.S. retail and fashion brands are cautiously optimistic about Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plan
President Biden's plan, as proposed in July, would set aside $400 billion for government purchases of American-made goods.