By Matt Smith
July 6, 2016 is a day that Nintendo will remember for the rest of its life. On this day, Nintendo released Pokemon Go to the United States, Australia and New Zealand for digital and mobile entertainment. Since its release in other countries, Pokemon Go has become a worldwide phenomenon. Both old and new Pokemon fans have been eagerly waiting to “catch em’ all.” Since Pokemon Go hit the Apple and Android app stores, an estimated 21 million people have downloaded the app and started playing the game. But this app is more than just a game. To some players, it’s a dream come true. To brands, Pokemon Go is an example of effective marketing. Here’s how you can learn from Pokemon Go to “catch em’ all.”
According to dictionary.com, augmented reality is defined as an enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images, sounds or other data on a real-world environment. Pokemon Go is teaching brands that augmented reality is a successful marketing tool that drives engagement with customers. Augmented reality provides a medium for users to build a personal relationship with a brand without physically being near the brand.
Putting Your Audience First
When Pokemon first came out in 1996, Nintendo was targeting elementary-middle school kids. I know this because I was a fan back in the day who had all of the new games as they were coming out. Eventually, the game and stories progressed and the kids got older and overwhelmed by the amount of new Pokemon and storylines. This is when the older fans started pushing for a mobile app that brought the original Pokemon back and closer to them. It was a sentimental request for fans. Nintendo listened to the requests for years while developing the app behind closed doors without anyone knowing. When Nintendo finally delivered what the fans wanted, it was wildly successful. Just by listening to your brands audience, you can build the strongest relationship possible with them. Nintendo proved all it takes to build a strong relationship with your consumers is understanding, analyzing, listening and delivering to build a strong relationship with your audience.
Virtual Advertising and Marketing
Pokemon Go strategically places what they call PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms in certain places surrounding players. There are many stories circulating of people going into stores in hopes to find Pokemon, PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms. If your brand surrounds one of these locations, your brand might just be able to use it to your advantage to drive customers to your business. Before Pokemon Go, virtual reality advertising has only been used in video games such as Grand Theft Auto. With the success of Pokemon Go and their augmented reality game, the possibilities of virtual advertising could be endless.
How Can Your Brand Capitalize?
Your brand can use this worldwide phenomenon to its advantage. All you have to do is pay attention and communicate to your audience because odds are, your audience includes Pokemon Go players in your area. Things that you can do to increase traffic through your doors is to publicize any game features in your surrounding area such as rare Pokemon, gyms and PokeStops. If your store has free Wi-Fi, advertising your Wi-Fi for Pokemon Go users may encourage people to play around your store or even come in your store. Have your employees engage in the social media conversation. An important part of maintaining a strong relationship with your consumers is to create content that they want to see and engage with. Since Pokemon Go is a current event, you have the opportunity to get tons of social media engagement which will lead to an increase in online reputation and sales. The bottom line is that you need to give your audience what they want, and right now that means joining the Pokemon Go conversation.
Pokemon Go took the world by surprise. I don’t think anyone expected it to be a worldwide phenomenon like it is today. However, Nintendo proved that augmented reality may just be the next big thing that brands need to use to build a relationship with the consumers. Nintendo proved that there is not one more important marketing tool than fully understanding your audience. Even if your audience isn’t calling for an augmented or virtual reality engagement, understanding your audience will help you find out what you DO need to be doing. The bottom line is that Pokemon Go is changing the marketing landscape. Virtual advertising may become the norm. Nintendo has proven that this new marketing strategy is worth investigating.
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