If you haven’t heard about the current Pokemon Go craze, then you might be living under a rock. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Pokemon Go is a mobile app created by Niantic and Nintendo based on the popular card game, television and video game series that originally emerged in 1995. Pokemon is the second-most successful and
lucrative video game based media franchise in the world, behind none other than the Super Mario franchise.
On July 7th, Niantic along with Nintendo released an app for iPhone and Android called Pokemon Go, which pretty much brings every millennial’s favorite childhood video game to life. Yep, millennials are back at it again! Personally, I collected the cards, watched the animated series and had just about all of the Gameboy games, so I can tell you that the app has brought a lot of joy to my life. The app also ties in virtual reality, as the map within the game corresponds to the real world so you are literally living the game in real life while catching Pokemon on your local streets, parks and other notable locations.
The game encourages users to go around neighborhoods and catch EVERY Pokemon and develop their CP (Combat Power). As you travel throughout your neighborhood you can catch Pokemon, battle them and level up, the higher level you are as a trainer the better the Pokemon you can catch. Here’s a quick break down of some Pokemon Go terminology:
Pokemon: Hundreds of Japanese cartoon characters who “live in the wild or alongside humans.” Pokemon are raised and trained by their owners, called trainers (you).
Pokestops: A location to get items you need to collect Pokemon such as Pokeballs, lures, eggs, and raspberries. You can also receive items to help in battles such as potions, super potions, revivals, etc. Pokestops in real life are interesting places like monuments, attractions, public art installations and historical markers.
Lure Module: A “device” you can connect to a Pokestop that attracts Pokemon to it for 30 minutes. The cool thing about this is that anyone can set this up and it works for every player playing the game.
Gyms: Somewhere you go to train your Pokemon by battling other players’ Pokemon which are also located at real life, popular and interesting locations.
So how can all this apply to marketing, or meetings and events?
Venue selection: Lately, businesses have been advertising that there are Pokemon in their shops on social media, i.e. “Pokemon have been spotted at our restaurant, come catch some while you grab lunch!” We can totally relate this technique to events. Usually event planners choose venues based on cost, location, accessibility, etc. Now they can add another factor into the equation, are there Pokestops nearby? Believe it or not, Yelp can already help you out with this.
Tourism promotion: Another idea for event planners is to site all the Pokestops surrounding the area of the venue or hotel, this will encourage attendees to explore the city they are visiting for a few days all while catching Pokemon!
Exhibit hall gamification: Food trucks and other local business have been setting up lure modules on nearby Pokestops to attract customers as well. How smart is it for the ice cream man to park next to a statue in the park that just so happens to be a Pokestop and set up a lure module?! Since this attracts Pokemon for 30 minutes it will also attract customers. Maybe in the future there will be an API, think about how Pokemon Go could be able to integrate with your event mobile app. Turn exhibition treasure hunts into Pokemon hunts! Think about how this could benefit your booths at exhibitions while adding a fun component to networking! Gamification has always maximized attendee engagement, so why not add Pokemon Go to the mix.
While the game is still in it’s prime, there are definitely going to be big changes soon to come, so how will you leverage the Pokemon Go craze at your next events? Comment below!
Written by: Sara Erdos