The world of mobile gaming has gone from crushing candies to chasing Pokémon in the street. The stir has caused traffic to stop, women to believe they were being proposed to when their partner got down on one knee just to get in a position to catch a rare Pokémon, and made social media buzz with excitement.
But the characters behind this world-wide craze are nothing new. For those of you who grew-up in the 90s, you will remember playing Pokémon on your Game Boys, collecting the figurines and stickers, watching the series and going to the cinema to watch the films.
So that is the 90s generation hooked – partly because of sentiment. But why is everyone else who didn’t live through this period also walking around with a mobile phone as if they were using the device to search for water? Well, the fact that everyone else is doing it is a big plus, but there is more to this get-up and go drive – exactly that, it makes you get up from your chair, exercise your legs, and venture out into the world outside. The game takes you on an adventure, helps you discover places around you that you might have never found otherwise, and also gives you the chance to meet people in the flesh.
The down side? You still have to look where you are going because street-lamps and walls could get in the way of the PokéStop you are trying to locate.
With such a powerful tool in the hands of almost everyone, clever businesses can use it to attract customers. So if you haven’t already got on the Pokémon Go wagon to big business heaven, these are a few pointers on how you can go about it.
1. Make your location a PokéStop or Gym – if your location is a PokéStop, it will show up on the player’s map as a place where they can collect their Pokémon goodies. Once the PokéStop is tapped, all the information you have entered about your business will show-up. While a stop is where players can get all excited about treats, Gyms are spots where players fight other Pokémon.
Tip: Gyms are normally found at large areas like parks and malls, so if you are a small business go for stops. Also – as players are so involved in getting their Pokémon game on - you might want to make the information you associate with the stops and gyms as catchy and brief as possible. Maybe go with a Pokémon theme or show them how what you have to offer can help them down the Pokémon yellow brick road.
2. Make your location a place of play – social media channels are there to help you get message out to existing and potential customers, so use them to tell them that you are ready, willing and able to let Pokémon Go players play the game where you are. Why not make it even more fun by making a competition out of it. Tell followers that if they post a picture of them playing the game at your establishment in social media, they could get discounts, gift vouchers, or merchandise or services for free. They will already be on a high from catching the Pokémon near you, so you could use that enthusiasm to get them wanting to achieve even more.
Plus: you could also ask them to share their favourite Pokémon photos taken at your business on social media and tag your business page to the photo. More fans of the game will see it, know that your location is a cool place to catch the little creatures, and the circle of playing the game on the go and social media expose will continue to rotate.
Even more: offer players free Wi-Fi and charging stations. Tell your followers about it on social media, put out signs at your location, tell everyone you know – and also let it drop that some rare Pokémon may just be lurking close to where you are.
3. A picture tells a thousand words – while on the subject of taking photos, you can ask players to take photos of Pokémon with your products. Of course, they will also get something out of it. Ask them to aim Pokémon on products they would like to own, have them enter a draw, and the lucky player could have the chance to win what they desire – or buy it at a special price.
4. Lead and they shall follow – encourage players to check in while playing. This will get more players to come to your business, and also bring more followers to your Facebook page.
A step further: also use Snapchat to drive business forward by encouraging users to share Snapchat memories of them playing the game at your business.
5. Fifteen minutes of fame – ask players if they would mind you filming them playing the game at your business. If the response allows, use the videos on live platforms or save them to be used later.