Gotcha! Why jumping on trends should be part of your Marketing Strategy

4 examples for utilising the Pokémon Go hype.

Image via

The world is crazy about Pokémon Go. This new game is doing something that not a lot of apps and games manage: it’s driving real-world traffic, engaging people in real-time and getting people off their feet, making them explore their surroundings.

The speed at which Pokémon Go has spread is unprecedented. Less than a week after launch, this augmented reality mobile exploration game has been installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, it has double the engagement of Snapchat, and it is eclipsing in its percentage of daily active users.

The average user time spend on the app is over 33 minutes per day which destroys Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram!


What is this Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality based video game. Through the smartphone camera, around 250 Pokémon are placed into real-life surroundings, which players can capture using Pokéballs. Players, who can see themselves in digital form matching their real-life movements on the screen, can then move up through levels and train Pokémon to fight in so-called Pokémon Gyms, which can be found in particular areas of interest such as graveyards, bridges or near graffitied walls. Players also have the opportunity to purchase objects to use in the game, earning Nintendo more than $1.6 million per day as a result.

The app is a brilliant combination of nostalgia, entertainment and new, exciting technology — augmented reality. The app uses the phone’s camera to create a real-time animated Pokémon and puts these into your real-life environment.

Different Pokémon are located in different real-life areas. Different real-life locations serve as a key beneficial locations in the game.

This means players actually have to get up off the couch and venture outside to play. If you want to catch a water type Pokémon, you have to go near water. Real-life locations are transformed into Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops, which become the hotspots for in-game items and Pokémon battles.

The extraordinary opportunity for businesses is the ability of the game to drive real traffic to a specific point.

If your business is located near to a PokéStop, a PokéGym or even just a Pokémon, you have the ultimate advantage of attracting game players into your business!

4 ways of how businesses can use the Pokémon Go hype:

1.Promote your surrounding.
Figuring out whether your business is a PokéStop or Gym, or if there are any of these in your area is the first thing you should do. PokéStops and Gyms attract foot traffic. Players will visit those spots purely for rewards and to battle other players.
To find out if your business is a “hot-spot”, you will need to download the game and play it or use the online map of portals created over the last three years for the game “Ingress,” also developed by Niantic, which maps virtually 1:1 with Pokemon Go’s PokeStops and Gyms. Check out the map here.

If your business is no PokéStop or Gym you can try to attract visitors by emphasising the large number of PokéStop around your building or if you have rare Pokémon in your area, your can promote the fact that they can only be found near your business. The Art Institute of Chicago, for example, tweeted an invite to “Catch them if you can” around the museum.

If your business is at or by a PokéGym, where players can battle on behalf of their teams, you had better promote the fact.
Players trying to get control over a gym will usually need to spend at least 30 mins to battle the gym leaders, so they will stick around for a while. So think about how you can make them feel comfortable.

Some ideas for ways to engage the people standing near your business with their eyes glued to their phones could be:

  • Offer free charging stations
  • Create an on demand Snapchat Filter, that lets players but mainly non-players at your business have fun and drives local awareness for your spot via Snapchat.
  • Put up a chalk-board (+share it on Social Media & challenge other players) announcing which team and player is currently in control of your Gym, and offer them discounts.

2. Lure Module
Pokémon Go provides two items that you can use to attract Pokémon. These are most important for small and local businesses.

Lures increase the rate of Pokémon generation in the area around the PokéStop. Their effects will last for 30 minutes and basically allows any other Pokémon trainer in the nearby area to benefit from having Pokémon swarm toward the location.

To place a Lure Module, all you have to do is head to the next PokéStop around you and select a purple Lure Module from your inventory (that you have to buy before). Once all this is done, you should see pink petals coming off from the PokéStop, showing that the module is now active.
Note that your nickname will appear next to the Lure Module once you have bought one.

A pizza bar in Queens has apparently increased walk-in business by 75% — by taking advantage of its location next to a Pokéstop, by purchasing Lure Modules (costing 80 cents to $1 a piece) inside the game and setting them outside the restaurant.

This is what it looks like when a Lure Module is in use somewhere near you:

3. Real-time Content
Another possibility, also for businesses that don’t have a local spot, is to integrate the Pokémon hype into your content strategy. Create content centered around this trend. This could be clever a Instagram post or Facebook post, funny meme supporting or making fun of the trend, writing articles on medium (hello ;)). Just make sure whatever you create is relevant to your target audience and contains quality.

For the virtual try-on app Pictofit, which uses mobile augmented reality technology for its try on, we jumped on the trend by creating a connection between PokémonGo and Outfit choosing, as we found out this is a trending topic. To create further awareness, we amplified this post with Facebook Ads targeting fashion relevant interests in the combination with an interest for PokémonGo.

The New York City subway sent out a tweet with a two-headed bird character from the game that was standing too close to subway tracks. “We know you gotta catch ’em all,” it wrote, using the Pokémon catchphrase. “But stay behind that yellow line when in the subway.”

4. Follow the Pokémon
Another way to leverage the Pokemon Go hype is to get mobile and find a spot from which to best make use of the PokéStops or Gyms. If you’re a fashion retailer, maybe this means you want to organise a pop-up at this place, if you’re a Café, bar or food/drinks brand, you could organise a picnic or popup.

Take advantage of places where you have a collection of PokeStops. If there are three PokeStops in the same area , park yourself in the middle of them and then additionally lay down three Lures at the same time, following the process mentioned above.

What’s to come?

In an interview with the Financial Times, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that “sponsored locations” would provide a new revenue stream, in addition to in-app purchases of power-ups and virtual items. In other words, retailers and companies will be granted the paid opportunity to be featured prominently on the game’s virtual map, in the hope to drive customers inside their facilities.

My main point is, as a brand, you don’t always need to invent new things, and revolutionise the market. Be creative, utilise the trends and join conversations that are already going on, to create engagement with your customers and broaden your reach to find new customers.

If you want to know more or continue the conversation on how to use Pokémon Go or new technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for your business, feel free to drop me a mail: or add me on Snapchat.

Curious optimist currently designing culture and community programs + tools at Dropbox. Writing about community, future of work and out of office culture.

Curious optimist currently designing culture and community programs + tools at Dropbox. Writing about community, future of work and out of office culture.