Everyone remembers Pokémon from their younger days; it was a game and TV show that many of us became obsessed with in school.
But a year ago, if you’d have mentioned “Pokémon” in the same sentence as “local business”, the likelihood is you’d have been wedgied by all the other companies in the playground that is the world of business we live in nowadays.
Just over a month ago however, everything changed. Pokémon Go was released in the UK and suddenly, local businesses became “unwedgieable”; a huge trend that has taken the world by storm has enabled businesses to take part and use it to their advantage.
Using location-based technology, Pokémon Go is a reality game that allows people to capture fictional creatures – known as Pokémon – whilst walking around their neighbourhood, town, or virtually anywhere in the world for that matter. Along the way, people encounter PokéStops (places to collect free items to help their progress throughout the game) and Gyms (battle locations where people can fight and train their Pokémon) both of which are usually found in local places of interest.
Because the game involves a lot of movement, businesses around the world – particularly local companies – have found ways to encourage these Pokémon players to visit them along their quest. Below we’ve listed a small sample of the various, creative ways some of the businesses in Shrewsbury are using the game to their advantage.
Based in Frankwell, Everymans Wine is an independent wine retailer using Twitter to communicate with their online audience that they’re playing along with the current trend. Using hashtags helps their tweet to reach further, together with a picture which naturally catches a person’s eye.
Finally, they’re cleverly advising their audience that there is a PokéStop in Frankwell and even going so far as to provide visual information on where the Stop is; just a short walk away from their shop. Now, anyone that chooses to visit Frankwell’s PokéStop can effortlessly swing by Everymans Wine whilst they’re already in the neighbourhood.
You’d be forgiven for wondering how on earth a firm of solicitors could get involved in a game where the aim is to catch imaginary creatures, but Lanyon Bowdler’s Court of Protection division does a great job here. Again, the use of a hashtag helps the tweet spread further and showing that cheeky “so close, yet so far” Charmander helps emphasise the fact that there are real people with a sense of humour behind the brand.
Ok, so whilst Lanyon Bowdler aren’t expressly encouraging people to visit them, they’re still putting their name out there, getting involved with the current trend and showing off their personality so that maybe the next time someone needs a solicitor, Lanyon Bowdler’s friendly, approachable manner might just spring to mind.
More use of hashtags in this one, but Maplin take a slightly different approach to everyone else. The nature of the technology used in the creation of Pokémon Go means that, sadly, the game drains a smartphone battery very quickly. Maplin are cleverly using the trend to promote one of their products that will help to extend play time so that, next time a person’s battery is running low, they’ll remember to pop by Maplin and purchase a portable charger.
The Loopy Shrew
This is one of the various Pokémon Go themed blackboards The Loopy Shrew have used in the past few weeks to join in on the trend (with a previous one stating “There’s a Charizard in our sunny courtyard”). Whilst none of these blackboards explicitly tell players to visit, it’s strongly implied with their obvious Pokémon Go-friendly manner that tells passers-by, “We’re up to date with the current trends and we welcome Pokémon Go players to come in and use our facilities”.
Tanners are famous locally for their statement window displays – the Selfridges of Shrewsbury, if you will. So when they discovered that their building was a PokéStop, Tanners quickly got to work and created this fantastic window display. Not only does this immediately catch the eye of any passers-by, it also acts as a water cooler topic as you can guarantee people around town are talking about it and popping by to see the display for themselves. This genius offline marketing is cleverly coupled with Tanners’ online marketing which can be seen in the tweet below; this post alone – the content in the image itself, together with the extended reach from the hashtag – has generated numerous likes and retweets.
How can I use Pokémon Go to market my business?
Fancy giving it a try yourself? It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon. The summer holidays are still in full flow meaning children are out and about looking for their next catch – and plenty of adults too, for that matter.
- First things first – Download the app and familiarise yourself with it. If the entire concept is new to you, do you have a friend or a family member that can give you a quick rundown of what it involves? If you’re already an avid Pokémon fan on the other hand, chances are you know what it’s all about.
- Look at your surroundings – Take a look at your business location on the Pokémon map. Is your building lucky enough to be a PokéStop? Are you anywhere near a Gym? Get an idea of your surroundings before choosing how to use them to your advantage.
- Play along – Ok, so the chances that Pokémon Go is directly related to your business niche are pretty slim. But hey, at the end of the day, it’s a game. Everyone knows that, so it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun by playing along and, every now and again, sharing your progress with your audience. The best way to do this is by using social media; particularly Twitter together with the hashtag “#PokemonGoUK”.
- Encourage visitors – Whether that’s by making it well known that you’re a PokéStop, or cheekily suggesting that there’s a Gyarados in your building, give people a reason to visit your business
With a little creativity, virtually any business can use Pokémon Go. Hey, we even had a go ourselves!
Strike while the iron is hot. Yes, it’s been more than a month since the game was released in this country, but trust us, there are still plenty of people out there, wandering the streets, phones in hand, looking for their next catch.