I know, that just from the title you're rolling your eyes right about now but stick with me, there are lessons to be learned from the genius' behind Pokémon. No, I am not a Pokemon Go player/addict but I not only appreciate the expert marketing, I will use them as an example for all future marketing campaigns.
Like I said, I don't play but I have watched the brand progress and grow over the years through the eyes of my brother. He is 27, which means he was 7 years old in 1996 when Pokemon madness originally hit. I was with him while he watched back-to-back Pokemon Power Hours, when Pokemon wasn't on our tv he was collecting the cards and meeting up with his friends for Poke fights (or whatever you called it back then), there were Pokemon toys and Poke-balls everywhere in the house. They completely dominated the mid-late 90's not just in our household but in households across the WORLD! Movies, clothes, shoes, toys, halloween costumes... We should've purchased stock in Pokemon! Then finally in '98 they started releasing video games for Game Boy. I promise you, the only reason we got Game Boy Color was so Brian could play Pokémon (You're welcome Nintendo)! Then when Pokemon came out on Nintendo 64 it was over! Pokemon just continued to grow year over year becoming a staple in the lives of young millennials. If you were not apart of this generation or didn't have kids during this time, just know this has been a massive thing for 20 years strong.
What I like about Pokémon Go is that they took their current fan base, kept their entire concept or storyline and just incorporated the next level of technology; virtual reality! Companies and brands have been playing with virtual reality for the past 30 years. It has mostly involved glasses or purchasing large and expensive equipment. Pokémon Go made it easy; you use the phone you already carry in your hand all day! And the purpose of the show, movie, the card game and the video games is to "Catch 'em all". You catch the Pokémon, some are more difficult to find and they have different powers and they can battle each other. Pokémon Go just mirrors every storyline the brand currently had in place! The concept has never changed they just made the game more interactive in a very genius way!
If you are a business owner (most relates to brick and mortar and some mobile owners) stop turning your nose up at the Pokémon Go players, embrace them! Take down those "Pokémon are for paying customer's only" signs. These young people are scowering the cities and neighborhoods in tribes and for long periods of time. I know what you're thinking "They don't have any money!" "They will drive my customers away". Well, I say there's no room for agism when it comes to money! Even if in a group of 20 people 5 people purchase, that's 5 more purchases you had previously. PLUS, that's 20 people in your store taking pictures and checking in and promoting your business. It's a win/win for everyone!
As a business owner you need to take advantage of new technology and trends. Even if Pokémon Go is a passing trend, take advantage of it while it's hot, the next trend will be along soon and you will be more adaptable to them as they come.
What can you do as a business? If you are a brick and mortar you can register your business as a Pokémon Gym and/or a PokeStop. Have specials for the Pokémon Go players, give discounts for those who are checking in and taking pictures of the Pokémon next to your product. Advertise your support of the game and even host a Pokémon Go meetup at your establishment! Working with the younger generation could lead to different opportunities in the future; hosting fundraising events and promotions, becoming a frequented coworking facility for entrepreneurs, hosting networking events and meetups, hiring an intern to assist with your social media presence, becoming a staple within the community and don't forget, these kids have parents! The point is to think creatively about how to market your business and gain additional exposure and generate additional income.
Hate on the game all you want, you have to admit that this brand has cultivated a huge following. You should use the Pokémon brand as an example of how to not just have a brand but build a culture! Lesson's to take from Pokémon; consistency, stay true to your vision, and embrace the changes in times and technology.