Pokemon Go Advertising
In the last two weeks a new Augmented Reality game/app has swept through New Zealand, bringing people into the street, glued to their phones and engaged with their surroundings. That phenomenon is Pokemon Go, an app which lets users walk around their cities 'catching' digital anime characters in their real world environment. This blog won't look into the mechanics of the game too much, but rather looks at how smart businesses can take advantage of a craze like Pokemon Go to boost their sales and brand. For us, it all boils down to three steps - know the craze, know your brand and combine the two to take advantage of this unique digital marketing opportunity.
KNOW THE CRAZE
Understanding a craze and what is making people love it is the first step in doing well in these spikes of popular interest. By getting inside the mind of the person you're trying to make a customer, you'll better understand what they might react to. For Pokemon Go - get the game and play the game. You'll quickly realise that certain things are desired; items to collect, Pokemon to catch, gyms to battle at and Pokestops to visit. You'll figure out that you can add an item (a lure) to a Pokestop to have more Pokemon show up, and that something like that immediately increases foot traffic in an area. You'll realise that gyms have people arrive and stay in that place for a prolonged period of time, and that in general users tend to engage with each other people in real life alot more than any other game.
This logic goes for any sort of craze or high engagement activity... knowing what appeals to people on social media like snap chat will make you better at utilising it for your business, just like understanding why people were all of a sudden into 'macaroons' a while back, will help you figure out how you might leverage of that taste craze.
KNOW YOUR BUSINESS
This is where we feel alot of people fall down when it comes to a craze or fad. It's all good and well to jump on board the latest new bandwagon and start throwing social media posts out about it, but if it isn't the right fit for your brand, then think twice. As an example, we haven't immediately jumped onboard the Pokemon Go craze with our professional service clients just yet. As lawyers, accountants or other professional services, they have an image of professionalism and expertise that we didn't think was quite right to associate with the an anime game. A throw away Facebook post wouldn't have garnered a huge amount of traction for those companies, but the perception away from professionalism might have been detrimental. On the flipside of that we quickly realised that any company in the food and beverage industry (and to a lesser extent retail) had a huge opportunity. Because Pokemon Go draws people to certain real world locations, we realised that people at those locations would still need to eat and drink, so absolutely jumped on the idea.
If the craze and your brand go together, then you are in a great position to leverage off it in your marketing activities.
COMBINE THE CRAZE AND YOUR BUSINESS
The final key to leveraging off a craze is figuring out how you are going to combine your business and the craze naturally. Nothing should feel forced in this social world, so be smart and don't just do something for the sake of doing something. For Pokemon Go, real world locations that are already close to Pokestops and that are in the food and beverage service have it easy. By buying and adding 'lures' to these Pokestops in game, you are able to increase foot traffic to your location and as a consequence increase your sales. In America their have been reports of a pizza joint increasing their sales by 75% since Pokemon Go kicked off. For the rest of us creativity will be key. We recently saw Hawkes Bay Signs create a Pokemon character out of post-it notes on their shop window - that might not immediately increase sales, but it will drive more social media traffic and is right on brand for what they do. Offering discounts in store for certain 'teams' in Pokemon has also been gaining traction. As a web design and social media company, our little foray into Pokemon go was to use a local bar (Shed 2) as a spot to put a lure on just so we could post on social media and have our post shared and liked. It was more about experimenting so that we could understand what might work for our clients, and creating this article is a natural progression of that.
The bottom line is that once you understand the craze, understand your business and think creatively about combining the two if appropriate, the opportunities for increased sales and exposure are definitely waiting to happen. Be smart, be natural and always have someone on staff or contracted to your company to keep on top of social media changes and crazes like these. The early bird catches the worm!
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