We understand – writing about the latest mobile games from a marketing perspective might sound childish, trendy or shallow but as a phenomenon that united people, made them do stuff they normally wouldn't, Pokémon Go can be worth looking at. Even just for a while.
If you are curious enough, here are some deep lessons on creating a social experience, knocking on the door of the people’s past, right timing and other ideas that worked for the game. And who knows, maybe some of them will work for you.
The lesson is old as a mammoth: interactivity raises engagement. The creators made the users not just press buttons, but they actually made people go outside to explore places.
Walking on the streets for ordinary people is most of the time an automatic activity: to get from A to B. But Pokémon Go created a new experience, it motivated players to do things and visit places that they otherwise would not.
The game perfectly combined the digital and real world, raising not only involvement but also encouraged social interaction with peers.
While we’ve been talking about interactivity as person-to-machine communication, social experience happens between individuals. In a nutshell, this term implies any interaction with other people. The game unites people in various ways: Pokémon battles, game related gatherings, online discussions and so on.
The lesson: since we are all social creatures, communication is essential. It does not necessarily mean people should be sharing posts about using your product. Your product or related content has to be the reason for two or more individuals to talk.
By using a well-established brand, the game talks to users’ childhood memories and feelings. People in their 20’s were raised on these TV series. And if 20 years ago, catching pokémon in real life was a dream for many kids, today’s technology made it possible.
Nostalgia is what made this game truly popular. Without this factor, the game wouldn’t achieve such success.
The lesson: sometimes it is good to address to people’s emotions and feelings connected to their past. They will feel more connected with your brand. To build the right message that would evoke nostalgia, study the generation of your target audience, particularly the most sensitive periods of their lives – their childhood and teenage years: what they were doing as kids, what books they read, what games they played, etc.
But use it sensibly: nostalgia is a feeling that marketers embrace a lot these days, mainly due to remembrance optimism. Everybody loves to say “Back in my days…” from time to time. But it does not mean it will work every time. Why it works for Pokémon is that the nostalgia is authentic and perfectly timed. Without these two factors, it would look fake and cheesy.
The Right Time
Sometimes timing matters the most. Pokémon Go did a double good job at choosing the time to launch.
1. July - is the perfect month for people spending hours outside. February, probably, wouldn’t be as good.
2. The year 2016: most of the people who watched the series are in their 20’s or early 30’s now. They most likely own smartphones.
The lesson: pay attention to every small detail. If you decided to release a product / update / campaign, check if time is right. For that, again, know closely who your audience is.
Perfect Combination of Technologies
This is not about the technology itself. This is about the way how you combine different technologies. Never before the augmented reality games had such a popularity. In Pokémon Go, the combination of GPS and smartphone camera was just the right choice.
And here is the advantage of the augmented reality game: you don’t need to have an additional device (as e.g. for virtual reality). So basically, users already had everything they needed - a smartphone.
The lesson: don’t overfill your product with different features, trying to fit all latest technologies. Use only the ones that make sense. That is why football is still so popular. All you need is a ball and few friends to have fun. Additional complexity will not improve the experience.
Augmented and Virtual reality will be discussed at Outreach 2016. Download agenda to learn more.
Take 10 successful projects and each project’s success factors will differ. Some things in this article might work for your business - some not. Nevertheless, it is always good to know those factors: in combination with deep knowledge of your product and audience you can make the most out of it.