Pokémon Go: A Simple Game Could Make or Break Your Local Business


Pokémon Go: A Simple Game Could Make or Break Your Local Business

There’s a wave coming, a tsunami of Pokémon Go trainers that could end up at your business. Are you going to lock them out or lure them in?

Chances are you’ve heard of “Pokémon Go”, whether you know what it is or not, you’ve got to wonder what could possibly be so popular that it’s causing all this hype. So much hype in fact after just a few short weeks on the market it has more daily active users than Twitter or Tinder.

Spawned from the video game released through Nintendo in 1996, this new iteration is blurring the lines between the physical and the virtual worlds, utilising Augmented Reality technology and mobile GPS.

Businesses can ride the virtual Pokémon Go wave

Do you care at all about Pokémon Go? If you’re a local business owner, and your target audience are 20-somethings, then you should.  In fact, Pokémon Go could be a god-send to your struggling local business, if you think strategically.  Because players are required to go to different physical locations to catch Pokémon, and if your business is near any of these locations, you could find yourself with a steady stream of potential customers.

Lure them in to your business

Here’s how you could get the attention of the Pokémon Go crowd:

Step 1: Check it out!

Download the app and create a user in the name of your business. This will be effective if you decide to be involved in the game; other players will see you as your business name, especially when you activate Lures (more on Lures below).

Now that you have access to the game, check out your premises and local area for Pokémon Go artefacts.

Step 2: Get involved!

  • Pokémon – could be scattered virtually throughout your business premises without you even knowing.  Understanding a little about them will impress your customers. A local cafe openly advertises the sightings of Pokémon at their premises and encourages players to pop in for a quick snack during their Pokémon hunt.
  • Your business could be a Pokémon Gym – this is where players gather to virtually ‘train’ and ‘battle’ other players and a great opportunity if you are a café or restaurant: why not sponsor a meet up or setup an area especially for Pokémon trainers.
  • If your business is or is near a Pokestop – count yourself lucky. This is where players visit to replenish the Pokeballs required to catch Pokémon, and it is also where players can activate a Lure.
  • A Pokemon Lure – acts to attract Pokémon, causing an influx of the virtual creatures to the area, together with crowds of players on the hunt. These players have the potential to spend money at your business.  Your business’ player could activate a 30-minute Lure and promote it together with a special deal to trainers. Win-Win.

It’s not all Caterpie and Butterfree’s

(pun: types of Pokémon)

There are just a few issues that have arisen since the game was released. Please consult your lawyer if any of these issues concern you.

Copyright Issues – As with any content you don’t own yourself, copyright laws will need to be followed. So if you’re going to use any Pokémon creatives or branding in any of your marketing you’ll need to get their permission first.

Trespassing – There’s been some discussion in the news that players, in the pursuit to “catch ‘em all”, are unknowingly trespassing on to private property. If your business has Pokémon artefacts on private property and you don’t want players to enter, it might be wise to put up signs as a reminder.

Player Safety – There have been tonnes of reports of accidents, injury and even armed robberies because the game is so distracting. An issue for businesses is if a player injuries themselves on your premises, which could lead to litigation.

To quote a famous Pokémon called Meowth “I’m totally unprepared to deal with life’s realities” but excited at the possibilities for businesses as the physical and virtual worlds merge.

Will your business take up the Pokémon challenge? Let me know in the comments what your business is doing to surf the Pokémon Go wave.

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