Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, chances are that you or someone close to you has turned into a budget Ash Ketchum and vowed to ‘catch ‘em all’. Yes, we’re talking about Pokémon Go. Hello again, 1999. Everyone’s pretty used to seeing people walking around, glued to their smartphones, but the Pokémon craze has swept the nation once more and people are now glued to their phones in parks, alleyways and even graveyards. At the moment, it has more active users than Twitter. It’s been nothing short of a phenomenon.
If you’ve yet to download and give into peer pressure, you should download Pokémon Go for ‘research purposes’ alone, as it has the potential to completely change local marketing. The game uses your phone’s camera and GPS to transform the world around you into a digitally augmented landscape. PokéStops and Gyms are where players can stock up on equipment to make sure they’re fully prepared to catch a Pikachu or 5. It gets interesting for local marketers because these fictional, digitally augmented places are tied to real world locations. A PokéStop could be a statue, a playground or a local restaurant…
Niantic, who are the masterminds behind the success of Pokémon Go, have already stated that they will open up the game to ‘sponsored locations’. This means that brands and businesses will be able to pay to have their premises as PokéStops and Gyms. Before long, we’ll see branded locations and branded in-game content too. It sounds bizarre, but another in game concept called Lure Modules already exist, which means that businesses can attract Pokémon to certain areas i.e a shop or business. Your brand will be able to turn Magikarps and Jigglypuffs into new leads and sales.
Gamification makes it easier for brands to access consumer data and analyse it. By asking players to share their data, Pokémon Go can become a rich source of intelligence about customers. If data is the difference between playing the game or not, many players will more than happily share their data.
No one knows how long Pokémon Go will be popular for and like with all trends, the buzz will die down. But the trend for augmented reality and gamification in general is getting bigger. That’s why your brand needs to take advantage of the situation and make sure that you and your client’s geocoordinates are accurate. And by accurate, we mean very accurate. If you use Lure Modules to attract Pokémon then it’s pretty essential that they turn up on your premises instead of next door.
Pokémon Go is a fun way to get creative with your marketing, opens a new chapter in augmented reality and gives you a way to connect with customers.