Technology trends come and go, but rarely does one catch on as quickly as Pokémon Go. Just in case you have missed all the hype, Pokémon Go is a mobile phone game based on the classic 90s phenomenon of Pokémon, which involves collecting Pokémon characters, building up a team and taking on other players’ teams. What’s got people excited is the way the game merges digital with the real world, made possible using Augmented Reality technology.
Using the GPS and camera on each player’s mobile phone, the Pokémon characters appear on the map of the player’s surrounding location and then, once the player gets close enough to attempt a capture, appear on the screen as if they were right in front of them.
So far so good – if you’ve got the free time to chase pixels across parks! But, if you’re wondering what possible relevance Pokémon Go has to your business, here are five things to consider:
1. Your customers are (probably) playing
Pokémon Go has a wide appeal. Yes, it’s popular with teens. But plenty of adults are playing too. Perhaps surprisingly, women are keener than men, accounting for 63% of players. So your customers could be playing!
2. It’s surprisingly easy to get involved
Pokémon Go offers potential to businesses both big and small. At the top end, the game’s developers, Niantic Labs, are in talks with a number of brands to introduce sponsored in-game locations, with McDonalds Japan the first partnership to be officially announced. But for smaller businesses, there’s a still big opportunity to get consumers to take notice of you by engaging with their passion. Want to entice customers into your business location? Players will go where the Pokémon are. To get these virtual reality creatures into your real-world location, you need to join the game and buy a ‘lure’ (costing approximately 79p). Can’t be bothered joining yourself? Offer a reward for any customer who drops a lure on your premises. Even offering players a rest-stop for their tired legs is paying off for smart businesses. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to publicise it on social media!
3. If you don’t, your competitors will
Businesses around the world are already jumping on the wagon, with Tanghui, a high end Chinese restaurant in Sydney, announcing that they will be activating lures daily at lunch and dinner times. Another example is Virgin Active, the UK chain of health and fitness clubs, which is using the Poké-obsession as a motivational benefit, creating the first Pokémon Go-based 5K run in London.
4. It’s your chance to get in on virtual reality
Virtual reality and Augmented Reality are emerging technology areas that create ways to merge digital with physical locations. New technology always requires something to take it into the mainstream. Pokémon Go is a good example of how AR and VR technology is gaining widespread use.
5. It’s here to stay
How long people will want to chase Pokémon is debatable, and probably depends on how effectively Niantic roll out game developments to keep them interested. But what Pokémon offers will remain. The game essentially breaks down the wall between technology and real-world experience. So as brands drive people into new locations, there’s a real opportunity for them to do more ambient marketing that isn’t exclusively digital. Business has waited a long time for this kind of technology – it won’t be fading away any time soon.