Some say the world used to be different before Pokemon Go came along. But the game’s growth is impossible to ignore, particularly for marketers. While much has been said about the technology behind the app from early on, the stories of how organisations can cash in on this phenomenon are still unfolding.
Expanding revenue streams
By tying suitable products to the needs of Pokemon hunters, businesses not only increase brand awareness but also potential sales.
Best Buy takes a more holistic approach by having a dedicated section on their online shopping site for Pokemon Go, which also include batteries as well as other Pokemon-related items. Moreover, some of their physical stores also feature dedicated tables which sell things such as food, water and batteries, to keep the Pokemon Go players going.
Branding and publicity
Even though not cashing in, public agencies are still good examples of leveraging Pokemon Go to get the message across. For example, a US body cleverly conveys the danger of using mobile phones while driving with a topical Pokemon Go installment.
On the other hand, this recruitment ad by the US navy hasn’t been so successful. In this case, there is a clear mismatch between the game’s fun nature and the army’s disciplinary approach. If you feel you have to stretch your brand just to ride the Pokemon Go wave, it’s probably not meant to be.
Social media is indeed the channel to spread the “fever”. Marketers can inject their take on the multiple angles of Pokemon Go, just like in newsjacking. ME Bank, for instance, ties one of their product features with a popular Pokemon to catch.
To show affiliation with customers, Woolworths shares game playing tips in a humorous tone. This can be great in showing a friendlier side of what usually seems to be “faceless corporations.”
Small and local businesses are also jumping on the Pokemon Go bandwagon with signage around Pokestops as a popular tactic. Spending money on Lures in Pokemon Go can bring about serious ROI for businesses.
For example, Melbourne Central’s Pancake Parlour has set up fixed-price night sessions in store where players come for a higher chance of catching Pokemon.
McDonald’s deal with the game developer behind Pokemon Go – Niantic - has proven to be profitable. The fast food chain’s sales in Japan have been up after paying to have 3,000 stores to become “Pokemon gyms”.
As an example of blindly following trends, Mercedes Germany seemed to have no clear strategic direction in the Pokemon Go-related campaign. The target market for their products and the actual players that were attracted to their showrooms didn’t match.
There is a risk of over-branding, which turns Pokemon Go marketing into hype rather than a strategic move. “Any marketing model will have to be subtle.” After all, people don’t go to Pokemon meetups to be bombarded with marketing messages.