Customers – How to Catch ‘Em All with Pokémon GO

July 20, 2016


By now we all know Pokémon GO is taking the Internet by storm, but what do these pocket monsters and their tenacious trainers mean for your brand?

PokemonGO ImageFor the uninitiated, Pokémon GO is the new free-to-play GPS-based mobile game merging the Pokémon Company’s 20-year-old franchise with the framework of former Google internal startup Niantic Lab’s mobile game Ingress. The premise has the user (trainer) exploring their physical surroundings to catch new Pokémon, collect items at PokéStops fixed to GPS coordinates, and overtake gyms for one of three teams. It’s currently available in over 30 countries, including Japan’s launch today, and it’s estimated the game already has 30 million downloads and is earning over $1.6 million per day. On Android its daily active users have overtaken Tinder and are closing in on Twitter. Only two weeks after launch Twitter has seen 30.7 million Pokémon mentions from over 7 million unique users*. It is a phenomenon.

Some brands are already jumping in, but where does yours fit? Here are some key considerations and targeted recommendations to make your brand the very best – like no one ever was.

Key Considerations

  • The game is a great way to target millennials – recent Pokémon games have been targeted to the 20-30 age group and the nostalgia component is particularly strong.
  • Identify PokéStops or gyms located near your brand’s physical locations. If either are present then foot-traffic near these locations will organically increase over the next month — and if near PokéStops, promising the placement of ‘Lure Modules’ (which attract Pokémon) will additionally attract players. Embrace the Pokémon community and encourage participation.
    • Unfortunately PokéStops and gym locations are pre-determined by co-developer Niantic Labs and there is no current system for requesting your location become one. Niantic has realized this is a growing concern and is working with the Pokémon Company to determine the future of sponsored locations.
    • A note of caution (particularly for local retail locations): While certain locations (cemeteries, police stations, etc.) are not appropriate for players to congregate be respectful when asking them to leave or avoid your location – the fandom is large and vocal and kindness is more likely to be reciprocated.

As with any hot new trend, it’s important to consider all angles, issues, legal and business implications before investing significant time and resources. Niantic has already started entering into sponsorships and other advertising opportunities with various businesses and we can help you explore and navigate those opportunities when they become available.

Targeted Recommendations:

With the current opportunities available with Niantic, consider keeping the following in mind:

Any Brand with a Physical Location: If your location is within range of a PokéStop you’ve hit the jackpot. There’s benefit to encouraging participation rather than fighting against it.

Health and Wellness Brands: The premise of the app is built around health and wellness by encouraging people to walk around to explore the game. Consider embracing this as part of a “get active” initiative.

Electronics Brands: As you need an always-on screen to play, Pokémon GO is a tremendous drain on battery life. Promote mobile devices with large batteries and external batteries to add a little pep to existing devices.

Law Enforcement and Safety Brands: Reports of savvy criminals using ‘Lure Modules’ and PokéStops to anticipate unwary victims have already surfaced. Remind players to be aware of their surroundings and stay safe.

Automotive and Insurance Brands: Driving andplaying Pokémon GO is a dangerous combination. Several news stories make reference to the dangers of playing while driving or not looking up from their phones while walking. Consider starting a conversation about the good and bad ways to use technology and how to play the game safely.

Digital Security Brands: Several articles discuss that the app gives Pokémon full access to your Google account. This is an opportunity to join / lead the conversation about data and privacy.

All Other Brands: You too can join the fun! Pokémon is a community of fans and creative ways of engaging will generate positive sentiment and brand familiarity. Treat these players with enthusiasm and respect and your engagement will leave a lasting impression.

Always consult your legal team before engaging with a new trademark (including Pokémon). FleishmanHillard is not responsible for the result of any engagement taken as recommended by the above

*Metrics from Spredfast Intelligence