What can brands learn from Pokémon Go?

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What can brands learn from Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm. There have been stampedes in Central park, people have quit their jobs to go catching full time and Twitter has been well and truly taken over. This is the type of craze brands dream of being part of, let alone creating themselves.

However in a world where it is harder than ever to stand out in market, this is exactly the type of experience they need to craft. And by following a few simple principles, brands could evolve into something even greater themselves.

The first major strength of Pokémon Go is its accessibility. Anyone with a smartphone can play, it’s free to download and the game itself is straightforward to navigate. In the 21st century brands need to connect with consumers immediately or face losing out, especially when it comes to Millennials/Gen K who have the attention spans shorter than goldfish.

Another key to the success of the app is that it embraces technology. This is a massive win for Augmented Reality and has proven that in the right form, the masses want to interact with technology of this calibre. A number of brands have delved into this world such as Lacoste who gave shoppers a ‘virtual try-on experience’ and Honda who created an app that allowed the user to place the Africa Twin bike in an environment of their choosing. After the quick success of Pokémon Go it’s clear that there is market for all kinds of brands to join the party and make this technology even more mainstream.

The most heart-warming outcome of this craze is how a community has grown both in the ‘real’ world and online. This is an app that is bringing people together; friends are socialising whilst playing the app and are even meeting new people whilst out on their Pokémon adventures. Online sharing has also gone into overdrive. In fact the volume of Pokémon Go tweets (15.3 million) surpassed ‘Brexit’ related tweets in the week of the referendum (11.7 million) and were over double that of ‘Euro 2016’ (7.5 million) in the first week of the tournament. Deep down humans crave to be part of something, so anything that facilitates that is going to be a winner. One example of this is the Nike+ running website/app that allows runners to train, track progress and stay motivated with like-minded people. The longevity of the platform (launched in 2006) proves what a winner community is.

The jewel in the Pokémon Go crown is that it has a higher purpose – it encourages exercise. If you don’t go out and pound the pavement, you’re not going to get very far. Finally a video game has arrived that inspires getting fresh air. If brands have a higher purpose, for example TOMS giving shoes to children in need, then it’s much more likely that youll be championed by the masses, make more sales and help people in the process.

The final and most important Pokémon Go ingredient is that it unleashes your inner child. Pokémon has been around for over 20 years and has in that time created an incredibly strong connection with its fans. What this app has done is give millions of adults the chance to live out their childhood fantasies and actually go out, explore and have an adventure catching Pokémon. This also ties in with recent findings that millennials are becoming increasingly nostalgic and are longing for the good old days. With millennials also reportedly being the most stressed out generation, its no coincidence that going out to play is helping to boost their moods and lower anxiety. Brands that can tap into this part of the consumer psyche, will achieve lifetime loyalty.

Brands have much to learn from Pokémon Go. To create a craze as famous as Pikachu they will need to consider taking the following steps:

  • Be accessible
  • Embrace technology
  • Create a community
  • Have a higher purpose
  • Unleash the inner child

Brands that follow these steps may just end up catching them all.

Tom Primrose, Planner

Southpaw Communications Ltd


Advertising Agency
The Warehouse, Hill Street,
Tunbridge Wells,