Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last month or so, you’ll know that Pokémon is back and it’s back in a big way. No, it’s definitely not 1999 and whether you like it or not, it’s time to ‘catch em all’. Whether you want to chill with Pikachu in your personal life or not is completely up to you, but if you’re a marketer then there are ways that Pokémon Go is seriously going to change the marketing landscape. Seeing people glued to their smartphones isn’t new, but what they’re doing is constantly ‘evolving’ (not the last Pokemon reference, I’m sorry). The capacity for augmented reality to affect consumer behaviour is exciting and marketers need to take note. As Pokémon Go surpasses Twitter in terms of active users, let’s see how you can make it work for your brand.
So, for the Pokémon novices amongst you, the Pokémon Go app basically uses the GPS and camera of a smartphone and gives it the capability to access a digitally augmented environment. Through your phone’s camera, you can see pesky Pokémon popping up all over the place and catching them is the aim of the game. Players can stock up on Pokéballs and equipment at Pokéstops and Gyms, which are usually notable landscapes nearby. This is relevant to marketers because Pokéstops and Gyms are tied to real-world locations, so they could end up being your brand’s premises. If you manage to capitalise on this then it can mean more customers. And if there are lots of Pokémon nearby for people to catch then the same potential applies.
The game is already going to allow ‘sponsored locations’, so your brand will be able to pay to have its very own Gym or Pokéstop before too long. Branded locations and content will be used to attract customers and then the rest is up to businesses, but it presents a savvy opportunity. One of the fall backs of this is that so many brands will have sponsored locations that it completely dilutes the market and there’ll be a location every step. But, Pokémon Go is just one of the first signs of the potential of augmented reality for business, so it’s a general trend that needs to be recognised. The game already lets people pay for Lure Modules, which is basically catnip for Pokemon and attracts them to certain areas. If you play your cards right, a Bulbasaur near your business could mean a new sale.
Consumers are wary about giving away their data and anything that compromises their privacy, but when it’s part of a game and the difference between being amongst the latest trends or not, they’ll trade it for access. Gamification helps brands to capture data, so they can learn from it and look at consumer behaviours. If marketers can gain insight into how successful sponsored locations and lure modules are or gain access to the data of those who catch the bait then there’re lots of ways to capitalise on this.
It just goes to show how important it is that brands geocoordinates are absolutely spot-on. You don’t want your Magikarp going next door instead; nightmare. They need to be really accurate and this will stand you in good stead for augmented reality in general and for other digital trends that rely on geolocations anyway. It’s worthwhile trying to ride the wave of Pokémon popularity while it lasts, because like every trend, it fades and there’ll probably be something even crazier next month. Stay ahead of the game by experimenting with lure modules and see if it works in your area and for your demographics.
Who knows, you could be the next Ash Ketchum and take the Pokémon world by storm or you could make some extra sales and generate new leads. It’s definitely worth a punt and a fun, whacky way to get creative with your marketing strategy.