Pokemon Go has taken 2016 by storm and has people mindlessly wandering the streets in search of pokemon.  Next time you’re out, look for people staring at their phone like a compass.  I bet they’re hunting.

A Brief History

Pokemon was a massive hit in the late 90’s and early 2000’s with card games, plush toys and Nintendo video games.  After a few years the fad ended just like Furbies, Beanie Babies and that weird pet keychain – Tamagotchis.  Nintendo continued to own Pokemon but their popularity faltered.

The premise of the game is that you are a trainer of Pokemon who tries to advance their individual Pokemon’s skills so that they can fight.  There were originally 150 creatures and you tried to “Catch Them All.”  Once the Pokemon franchise achieved commercial success, they exploded to over 700 creatures which is way too many to care about.  The brand arguably over extended themselves and has been out of the limelight for some time.

Fast Forward to 2016

On July 6, 2016 the phone app Pokemon Go was released and it became an overnight sensation.  It encourages people to walk around their city to find new Pokemon, collect items from Pokestops and compete at gyms.  While in the app, you’ll likely notice that the park around the corner has been turned into a gaming hotspot.  The buzz around the game is that it’s using augmented reality to create a digital world within the real world.  Don’t get us wrong, it can be entertaining, but we don’t think it’s quite cutting edge.

Pokemon Go is Good for Business

It’s true.  The people jumping on the bandwagon are on to something.  For example, a smart business owner in Washington state used the app to draw in players.  His ice cream shop was struggling but when the game was released, he purchased “lures” to bring Pokemon Go-ers to his shop.  Now he’s had to hire new employees and has extended his operating hours.  Furthermore, McDonalds partnered with Nintendo to make their restaurants in Japan Pokestops or Gyms.  As a result, their sales went up 27%.

If your business is located near a Pokestop or Gym, you can throw also “lures” as well to reap the benefits.  If there aren’t any poke-destinations nearby, you can always take your business to the people.  Think Poke-Popup Shop.  This article from Inc.com gives tons of examples of how Pokemon Go is driving business to local shops.  This is great news for marketers trying to drive loyalty with their customers in a new way.

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