International Brand Development and Positioning

IHOP is the world’s most famous breakfast-inspired restaurant brand. A brand that has been delighting guests with delicious, sumptuous pancakes and other innovative menu items since 1958.

As part of its 360 degree brand re-invention IHOP engaged nm+u as its International Agency of Record. Our first task was the development of a new brand positioning and creative strategy for all IHOP International markets.

Strategy 100%
Print 90%
Digital 95%
Social 95%


  • Armed with client-supplied consumer research, the agency set off to identify a common theme that was true to the brand, relevant to a broad range of international audiences and different from global as well as local competitors.
  • Special attention had to be paid to cultural differences across distinct regions such as the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia in order to ensure an outcome that would be broadly appealing, suitable to all regions and compelling enough to drive franchisee engagement.
  • In an effort to maximize inefficiencies and leverage existing assets, the agency maintained key graphical elements from the existing U.S. brands but wrapped them in completely-new messaging that would support the new brand positioning.


  • A creative strategy anchored around the theme “Spreading Happiness Since 1958”
  • This new brand positioning brought to life the research-supported premise of a place where delicious, world-famous pancakes and other breakfast-inspired delights will bring a smile to the face of all guests.
  • A comprehensive online resource: the IHOP Extranet, was launched as a one-stop destination for franchisees and partners to access guidelines, campaign resources and other brand assets 24/7.

Deliverables Included:

  • New brand positioning and creative platform
  • Multi-media consumer campaign
  • Comprehensive library of marketing tactics for traditional and digital channels
  • Comprehensive template library
  • Extranet portal, an online destination to house all brand assets and foster collaboration among franchisees worldwide.
Design Sample Details