Over the weekend, I decided to run an unofficial poll on the subject. I sent messages to a few dozen LinkedIn connections asking them to describe in a single word what they thought or felt about the new Pokémon GO app. Popular responses I received were: “love”, “hate”, “perplexing”, “never”, “obsessed”, “confused”, and “who are you?”. I immediately noticed that most of the responses received had one thing in common, for such a seemingly innocuous app, it was having an outsized impact on their lives (whether they liked it or not).
You might also assume that only millennials are playing Pokémon GO, and that is definitely not the case. Even grandpa is catching Pokémon these days. So, why might that be a good thing?
- Good ol’ fashioned fresh air. The need to take your phone and proceed, blurry-eyed, into the outside world is a built-in premise of the new Pokémon GO app. Keeping on trend with Nintendo’s penchant for fitness-based games, the app rewards players who explore their neighborhoods, nearby public places (such as libraries, museums, and even graveyards), and local parks and trails. Families have discovered a new reason to spend time outdoors at their favorite parks. Dogs are being walked at rates beyond anything they ever thought possible and more importantly, humans are getting exercise, too. Anything that gets us walking for even a half hour more per day can do wonders for mental health and physical well-being. Get on it!
- Use the Pokémon GO app to raise money for your favorite animal rescue. Savvy nonprofits are finding ways to tap into the popularity of the new craze by finding ways to piggyback. WoofTrax is a new app that uses sponsorships and advertising to donate to animal shelters whenever users walk their pets. The app can be operated alongside Pokémon GO to raise money with every step you take towards catching Pokémon and visiting landmarks. The WoofTrax app also counts walking time from people without dogs when users choose the virtual pet option (which is sort of like a Pokémon, right?).
- Use the app to boost your business (or just your personal popularity). That’s right, companies have already found ways to tap into lucrative methods of luring Pokémon GO “trainers” into their place of business. For the price of an in-app purchase, your small business or personal location can become a geographic hub of Pokémon activity. People galore! What better way to attract a diverse new demographic to your place of business? If they catch a good Pokémon there, you might even secure repeat customers. Weirder things have happened.
Follow me on Twitter for weekly marketing and social media tips. I specialize in brand strategy, design, and cross-disciplinary project management. Passionate about driving businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their communication and development goals while building and amplifying brand awareness.