No one saw the phenomenon coming, yet the summer of 2016 was not about the Olympics or Adele’s world tour. The rage was all about Pokémon Go and its introduction of the brand’s fantasy characters into the physical environment through an augmented reality experience. Immediately, millions were navigating cities around the world trying to catch the closest Charizard or Pikachu. The numbers tell the story. According to BGR, in just one month after its July 6 launch:
- The app became the top grossing app ever in the U.S just 13 hours after release
- Attracted 21 million users and 4-5 million users daily
- Users spent on average 45 minutes a day playing
- Pokémon Go generated $1.6 million a day and over $35 million from the launch
Amazing numbers; and businesses from restaurants to hospitals and even commercial real estate agents were integrating the game into their operations. But what does any of this have to do with the world of public relations? The answer, as it always is in this industry, has to do with responsiveness, engagement and creativity.
Days after Pokémon Go’s sensational launch, our team huddled together and quickly generated ideas for how several of our clients could grab opportunities to connect their brands to the fun and excitement of Poké balls, stops and gyms.
Ideas were put into action with lightning speed and our clients swiftly began reaping the rewards of our quick thinking: One of our restaurant clients hosted a promotion offering free ice cream cones to any guest that could show they captured a Pokémon on site—a promotion announced via social media, which garnered a 50 percent boost in engagement on Instagram posts. A luxury apartment complex we serve saw an increase in engagement on social media after we posted various poke stops throughout the property. We also developed ads around Pokémon Go that performed especially well at bringing new sets of eyes and a new kind of audience to the complex’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ pages.
Our agency is nimble, dynamic and has established an environment that promotes flexibility in thinking, design and delivery. Where a larger agency might have taken weeks to build out a complex architecture, create process and coordinate across multiple silos; our firm was able to navigate the fast-moving Pokémon marvel and develop content-based solutions for PR, social media and stakeholder outreach.
No doubt, the Pokémon fad will dissipate; however, our learning from this experience is that we need remain flexible and open to new ideas, as technology and innovation will only push the tidal waves of possibility to the business world, faster and faster. Our work is all about right message, right time, right people – and for summer 2016 Pokémon was where it was at, and we continue to capitalize with an eye forward in building successful client moments.