If you’ve been out to a public park, a shopping district, a school, or any other public space recently, you’ve probably seen more people wandering around than usual. These people are young and old, and they come from all walks of life. The one thing they all have in common is a smartphone held out as they try to catch elusive Pokémon in the area. Over the past couple of months, Pokémon Go has erupted all over the United States as a fun video game that requires players to get outside, explore their surroundings, get to know their neighbors, and interact with each other.
Though a lot of people have had negative things to say about adults playing this “kids” game, there’s a lot to be said for this explosive new pastime. It’s getting people out of their homes and forcing them to exercise…and they’re enjoying it! With so much concern about obesity in the US, any game that gets people moving like this one has should be applauded. But that’s not the only thing that stands out about Pokémon Go. Let’s take a look at a few things that this seemingly simple game can teach us about entrepreneurship.
IT KEEPS PLAYERS FOCUSED ON THE GAME
If you have a Fitbit or a fitness tracker on your phone, you likely know approximately how many steps you take in a day. Your device or app might give you incentives to do more, but no fitness tracking app or device has taken advantage “nudge” incentives like Pokémon Go has.
Consider this. You’re walking through a park, and you’ve already caught a few Pokémon. You know that there are others around, but you’re getting a little tired. You think about putting your phone away and going home, but as you look at your phone, ahead and to the left you see some animated grass rustling. Is that the rare Pokémon you’ve been looking for? Suddenly you forget that you were feeling tired, and you head in the direction of that Pokémon. Gotta catch ’em all!
You can make the same kind of nudges with your business on social media and in your other marketing efforts. After your customers buy a product, follow up with them about how they’re liking it and recommend companion products that might help them out, as well. This kind of follow-up is exactly the kind of nudge that most buyers need.
TRENDS CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENTREPRENEURS
In addition to looking at the ways in which the game has influenced people and how entrepreneurs can use similar strategies for their businesses, we should also look at how entrepreneurs can take advantage of opportunities presented by trends like Pokémon Go.
Right now, owners of shops, bars, restaurants, and other businesses are welcoming the gamers attracted to their area by Pokémon Go. They’re creating Pokestops, where people can collect Pokeballs and hunt for more Pokémon creatures. They’re giving discounts to gamers who come in and buy products or services. They’re adding Pokémon to their advertising and marketing. And they’re seeing boosts in sales because of it.
Pokémon Go may or may not be here to stay, but if you keep your eye on local and national trends, and you think of how you can use their popularity and business models to help your business, you can see a lot more opportunities on the horizon for your brand. Whether you’re inviting gamers into your shop, giving your customers the nudge they need, or finding other ways to learn from and benefit from these trends, you’ll be head and shoulders above the competition.