You’ve gotta catch ’em all

BY BRYCE STARNER
Pokemon Go

In the past few weeks since the inception of the Pokemon Go app, our world has transformed into a mythical land that’s teeming with augmented reality creatures. Whether you’re using the bathroom, casually strolling through the park with your beloved corgi or riding shotgun on the way to baseball practice, these globally recognizable “pocket monsters” are practically everywhere, challenging your patience and data usage alike!

Brands, such as T-Mobile, Simon Malls and Yelp, are jumping on the Pokemon Go craze with unique marketing pushes that are fun and relevant. And why not? In one day alone, 5.9% of Android users were on the game app (more users than Twitter, Netflix or Spotify got in that same day), and during its first week of launch, there were 15.3 million tweets about this trending phenomenon.

Created in 1995, Pokemon grew to flood the hearts and minds of its followers in seemingly no time whatsoever. As a 90s child, I can attest that the Pokemon movement was not solely regarded as a video game, but rather a way of life.

A lapse in momentum over the past few years has ultimately been flipped on its head with the July 6th release of the Pokemon Go app, incorporating augmented virtual reality (which has now reached an unprecedented demand) into the mainstream way of life. The respective app has soared to the top of nearly every iOS, Android, Apple and whatever other device you may own. Nintendo’s stock value has climbed to never-before-seen heights and shows no sign of slowing down for the foreseeable future.

Utilizing a similar GPS feature to Google Maps, Pokemon Go’s template of design has led its millions of users to get up off of their couches and explore the world outside of their windows. As ridiculous as it may seem, exercise in our nation has dramatically risen in prevalence because of this game!

The marketing value of such a phenomenon cannot fully be expressed in words. To say that hundreds of billions of dollars are within an arms’ length of Nintendo, Niantic Labs and the Pokemon Company would be the biggest of all understatements. This re-insurgence of interest in the Pokemon franchise is no doubt turning into dollars and cents for those behind this app.

They’re not the only ones benefiting. Having randomly selected Pokestops and Pokegyms (prior to the game’s release), game-maker Niantic has funneled its insanely large pool of users to local businesses, landmarks and locations they may not have yet visited.

Businesses fortunate enough to be labeled as such have seen a freakishly significant spike in customer visitation. Applications for corporations to submit and become a Pokemon Go point of interest are predicted to become available sooner rather than later. Being an official Pokestop would drive foot traffic and literally put your business on the Pokemon Go map!

Not a Pokestop? No problem; there are still ways to use the popular augmented reality game to market your brand.

Finding a relevant way to create messaging around the game is the first step. Once you’ve identified how to tie your brand to the trend, you can create digital or out-of-home messaging that works. These are quick-turn creatives that can have you up and running while the fad is still hot.

Purchasing a lure module for a nearby Pokestop can also help you out. A lure lasts 30 minutes (but you can purchase multiple) and attracts Pokemon to visit the Pokestop that you purchase a lure for – and if one is nearby your business, it can also drive people to you. Running a mobile billboard around the Pokestop promoting a special for Pokemon Go users nearby is a sure-fire way to boost foot traffic and conversions. You may also consider sending a team of brand ambassadors out to Pokestops to engage and interact with those searching for the game’s characters. Perhaps these brand ambassadors are Pokemon experts or distributing game-esque swag promoting your brand. You may also consider becoming a free charging station for Pokemon Go users – offering a relevant service that provides a friendly message to incorporate into your advertisements.

By expressing an interest in the app, it will ultimately mark you as an on-trend brand and, of course, draw in the game’s users. Many companies (small and large alike) have embraced this Pokemon culture and use it in their promotional endeavors to not only reach but attract customers to come through their doors…and stay there!

What’s most exciting, for us, is seeing how the physical world can be affected by the digital – and vice versa. Integrating a mobile app with an experiential adventure, well, that’s worth some kudos.