By Bekki Bushnell, Head of Business Development
A few weeks ago it would have seemed completely bizarre to find a colleague pointing their phone at the water cooler, insisting that there was a cartoon dragon hiding behind the tank. Yet since the release of Pokémon Go, this is a situation I’ve found myself in at the end of a working day. The app has undoubtedly taken the world by storm, pushing politics, Taylor Swift and iPhone leaks out of the media hot spot. The game seamlessly integrates animation and reality by allowing users to hunt and capture digital Pokémons using their smartphone GPS and camera in a brilliant display of augmented reality. The end result? Nintendo’s value shot up by $23 billion in the last two weeks, and is quickly creeping up the popularity ranks to rival the likes of Twitter.
Beyond Pokémon Go being a fun, novelty app that has obvious health benefits for users by getting them outside and exercising, the app is working wonders by putting businesses on the map (literally). The in-game map displays notable locations like shops and restaurants as ‘PokéStops’, offering players the chance to stock up on PokéBalls and other Pokémon essentials. Naturally, this attracts players to these locations resulting in increased footfall and, ultimately, custom. For those ready to embrace the trend, Pokemon has the potential to be a golden marketing opportunity for lesser known local businesses.
Obvious opportunities include riding the PR wave by engaging with players through social media. It really could be as simple as incorporating #PokemonGo into your messages. Just consider that it has been mentioned on Twitter 13 million times since the 1st July. In addition to digital opportunities, businesses should jump on real-world marketing activities such as signage, as well as the potential to run themed promotions.
Lures are another way to take full advantage of the Pokémon craze. For a minimal fee, users can pay for a Pokestop of their choice to be visited by extra Pokémons for 30 minutes, benefitting all players in the immediate vicinity of the ‘lure zone’. This not only increases footfall for the chosen Pokestop, but entices more people to walk past businesses in the surrounding area, again providing opportunity for local businesses to entice customers through effective marketing and PR activity.
Whether you like it or not, the popularity of Pokémon is impossible to ignore. The app provides businesses with a prime opportunity to engage and connect with an audience that is more receptive than ever before in a cheap and effective way. When it comes to potential customers, you’ve gotta catch ‘em all.