Gotta Catch ‘Em All: business lessons you can learn from Pokémon GO

By Alex J | Friday, 5 August 2016

The augmented-reality game, Pokémon GO, is stirring up a storm among gamers everywhere, with people all over the world playing the highly-addictive game.

The company that made it all possible is Niantic, Inc. Before Pokémon GO, the only other game they developed was "Ingress", another augmented-reality game. Formerly part of Google, until it branched out in 2015, Niantic also created FieldTrip, a location-based app that notifies users to unique and cool things.

Both successful on their own, Ingress and FieldTrip didn't reach the same levels as Pokémon GO – but the seeds were clearly being sown.

Not surprisingly, the level of success Pokémon GO has achieved is something that many businesses want to emulate. Even if your company is not as established as Niantic, there are still some things you can learn from the Pokémon-phenomenon.

Read on to find out more.


App solutions are all the rage

There are instances when an app is much more convenient than a website. This is especially true if you run a business that is delivery-based because it is more user-friendly. As such, it can potentially improve sales, with IBM Holiday Benchmark Reports recording a 15% increase in traffic on Black Friday from mobile purchases alone.

Creating an app for your business is also useful for your clients, too, allowing them to access your products and services across a variety of gadgets. Through this, you can potentially reach more customers: especially with more people relying on their smart phones.


Security still matters

It goes without saying that customers are more likely to trust a company or brand if they feel protected. For example, when they have to reveal sensitive information (e.g. credit card number, account information, personal background), you can take measures to make sure such details remain confidential.

Niantic learned this the hard way when Pokémon GO mistakenly requested users for full access to their Google accounts, alarming various security experts. Since updated, it only requires basic profile information, and the company were quick to reassure fans that no confidential information was compromised.


Partnerships with other SMBs or other brands can help attract more customers

Niantic has announced that it will partner with several brands through sponsored locations in Pokémon GO. The idea behind this is that businesses can sign up as sponsors and be registered as "gyms".

These sponsors are charged whenever a player enters their store or headquarters. Although it sounds costly, this move is beneficial to them because it attracts more people to their stores.
If you are thinking about pairing up with another business for a promotional scheme, make sure the move could benefit both your companies. Also, consider teaming with a more established brand to help boost your company's reputation.


Brands should be cultivated

One of the reasons the game is successful is because the Pokémon brand already has an established and loyal following. It had humble beginnings as a RPG in Gameboy and eventually expanded in manga, anime, and even toy collectibles.

Cultivating your brand is important so you know what to market. For this to happen, you should know how consumers perceive your business and what sets you apart from your competitors. From there, you can determine how to expand and develop your brand. In the case of Niantic, it first toyed around with their augmented-reality system with Ingress before implementing it on Pokémon GO.


Profitable ideas come from almost anywhere

What sets Pokémon GO apart from other games, like Ingress? It caters to players' desire to catch Pokémon for themselves. Through the game, players almost get to experience what it is really like to catch a Pokémon in the real world.

The game's creator, John Hanke, got the idea in 2014 when he was working on Google Maps, and was involved with its now-infamous April Fool's Day prank. Google made an announcement regarding a new training tool that was created in cooperation with Pokémon and Nintendo. The company even went so far as to invite "savvy risk takers" who can "navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures."

This is another reason for the game's success. Although the idea started out as a joke, Hanke took note of people's reaction and decided to capitalise on it. If you are stumped with what to sell or offer, you could take a cue from Pokémon GO's creators and cash in on something that started out as unintentional. The point is to think outside the box.

Even though your business might not reach the same level of popularity as Pokémon GO you can still achieve success as long as you follow these tips.