What Pokemon Go Could Mean for Brands

No doubt Pokemon Go has become an instant phenomenon.

The revolutionary free-to-play augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic has completely taken over the app market on iPhone and Android platforms. Released less than a week ago, users are spending more time in the game than on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Pokemon MarketingAccording to Gizmodo, the need to “catch ‘em all” has already proven itself, as the app has been installed on 5% of Android smartphones and has been downloaded more times in a week than Tinder has in 5 years. Additionally, Pokémon Go’s release has added more then 12 billion to Nintendo’s market value, and has also inspired little kids to walk down my street at 1am in packs looking for Pokémon.

You don’t need a weighty ad campaign. How many ads did you see for Pokémon Go leading up to its launch? Probably none. Compare that to a new Ghostbuster movie being released which has ads being crammed  down our throats to get us into theaters. Pokémon Go didn’t invest much into advertising because it didn’t need it—either the ad executives in charge knew that the success of the app would be dependent on the marketing and viral factors I’ve listed here, or they truly didn’t expect the app to be a breakout hit. My guess is the former, but the bottom line here is that you don’t need a huge advertising budget to be an effective marketer. You just have to connect with people.

Currently there are PokéStops and gyms scattered next to roads and sometimes in buildings, but what if a brands and local business could pay to have these game events in their buildings? Or had branded Pokemons collected?  This could not only help boost local sales, build big brand business but also allow your brand to profit in a few different ways.

They could run a cost per visit type business model where a local business pays to have Pokémons located within their stores. Alternatively, the game could hold promotions in certain stores at certain hours, which would immensely boost the amount of on foot customers.

Finally, what does this mean for brands from an advertising perspective?

While Niantic predetermines PokéStops (places of interests, such as memorials or statues, that drop items like Pokéballs and medicine) and Gyms (places to strengthen your Pokémon by training and fighting), brands with bricks-and-mortar locations can leverage rare nearby Pokémon or PokéStops to drive increased foot traffic.

You can set up a Lure Module in all locations, which coaxes Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes, to get customers to a place where your brand is sold. Then, offer rewards, incentives, or even discounts for players.

Food & Beverage brands can create content around “Best Pokémon I Caught On My Vacation.”

Brands can even create lists of “Best Places to Catch Pokémon and Your Brand” by linking to other social media with a recommendation widget for a fun additional touch point for customers to engage. Why not drive tourism to small towns with insights into where rare Pokémon are in unassuming towns?

THE POSSIBILITIES for leveraging Pokémon GO in marketing are endless, and open an exciting new world of augmented reality at scale.

Time to go Pokemon hunting. Hope to see you brand there.