Children of the ’90s recently rejoiced over a return to their play-yard days of trading little cards with whimsical cartoon characters on them. But, you’re not a ’90s kid, you’re a small business owner — why should you care? Because those aforementioned cartoon characters just got a millennial makeover, and you could be cashing in, that’s why.
Pokémon Go has now been cited as the most popular mobile game in U.S. history, and businesses of all sizes are jumping on the trend and seeing ROI success. The game is a perfect blend of nostalgia, cuteness, adventure and modern technology. The app, which is free on iPhone and Android, requires the player to get up and get moving — a challenge many video games can’t seem to rise to. Move over, Candy Crush Saga — the couch potatoes are on the move!
Pokémon Go 101
The gist of the game? “Gotta catch ‘em all.” With the app, a user’s quest is to go out hunting for Pokémon characters. As you walk, the little creatures pop up on your smartphone’s screen, and you have a limited amount of time to catch them with a Poké Ball. As you catch more of them, you level up and, with each level, you are able to interact in more ways with the app, such as battling other characters, evolving your characters and collecting more goodies. Game functions and features aside, again — why do you care?
Using Pokémon Go As a Marketing Tool
If your business is located near a sidewalk frequented by walking mobile zombies, you should care very much about Pokémon Go. The adventurous nature of this game lends itself to new discoveries, so why not become one of those discoveries? Here are a few ways you can level up on the Pokémon Go craze:
- Play: Get in on the fun and see why people are playing. Learn the game, and you can find your own creative ways to incorporate this hot trend into your own marketing activities. (Just watch where you’re going …)
- Map it: Check out the area around your business — are there any PokéStops or Gyms nearby? Is your location a PokéStop or Gym?
- PokéStops are locations where gamers can stop in to collect valuable tools for the game: more Poké Balls, eggs, potions, coins, etc. If your location happens to be one of them, advertise it on your social media channels, and even offer a little promo for those who stop in.
- Gyms are where the battles happen! Exciting stuff, here. If your property is a Gym, host battles and display which team is the current winner, offer up swag with team names and your logo, or host a Facebook live event showing gamers battling it out.
- Lure them and they will come: Near a PokéStop? Cast a lure — which can be earned or purchased through the app and spawns Pokémon at and around a PokéStop — to attract players to your location.
- Share the fun: Find some sneaky little Pokémon around? The app has an easy “snapshot” feature that lets you take pictures while catching your Pokémon. Snap a find and share it on social media; for even more engagement, ask fans to name that Pokémon.
- Free stuff: Ever wanted something simply because it’s free? Of course you have. Use this logic at your location and offer up free goodies (or discounts) to people catching Pokémon in or around your business.
- Charge up: Provide charging stations and free Wi-Fi for players — they’ll stick around and potentially spend some cash.
- Get real: Host an IRL (in-real-life) meet-up for players; provide a comfortable, safe place for players to step out of their virtual world and into a real one where they can meet new people.
One More Way to Engage With Customers, New and Old
However you choose to participate in this mobile trend, just know it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The app’s creator, Niantic, recently announced that businesses will soon be able sponsor locations as PokéStops and Gyms, and trading Pokémon in the app with friends is also on the horizon. Let Pokémon be a fun and new way you can connect with your customers or clients, and even “catch” new ones.
Want the fun without the hassle? Contact The Brandon Agency today by commenting below or calling directly at (843) 916-2000.