What PR Practitioners can learn from Pokemon Go

Figure 1: Image Retrieved from – http://www.pokemongo.com/ If you ask Singaporeans to name something that united the nation, before the launch of Pokemon Go, most people would probably tell you that the recent passing of our late Minister Mentor united the nation and brought back a glimpse of the “kampung” spirit of old. Pokemon Go came to Singapore’s shores and grabbed the nation’s attention and united people of all ages from all walks of life. As Singapore was one of the countries to receive the game later than its Asian counterparts, many were eager to get their hands on the app and have a go at reliving their childhood memories. On the day of the launch, what used to be empty streets on a Saturday morning was buzzing with people walking around with their eyes fixated on the screen. You could hear the occasional, “There’s a (insert Pokemon’s name) here!”, and everyone would flock to that spot to try and catch that Pokemon. What makes the game so special, is its simplicity and that sense of accomplishment players feel when they catch and evolve their Pokemon. All you need is a phone, download the free app, create your avatar and go around country catching Pokemons that appear at various, random locations. The advancements in technology, Augmented Reality, makes it possible for players to see Pokemon in their actual surrounding, giving players the “ Ash Ketchum” experience. One of the reasons Pokemon Go is enjoying such unprecedented success, with Fortune reporting Nintendo’s market capital increasing to $42 billion since the release, is its ability to capture the hearts of the three generations that it impacted greatly in the 1980s till the early 2000s. The 80s kids first experienced the handheld gaming trend in the form of the Game Boy. The 90s kids embraced the comics, television series, movies and card games. The other kids continued enjoying the improved effects of gaming and media like Nintendo DS and newer movies being released. Within the game, certain locations are “Pokestops” (where players reload their Pokeballs and other in-game items) or “Gyms” to battle players of different teams to stake their superiority and move up skill levels. These “Pokestops” and “Gyms” are real places and are causing a surge in tourism. Local restaurants are taking advantage of this Pokemon craze and coming up with Pokemon Go related promotions to get more customers. Figure 2: Image retrieved from – http://www.moneydigest.sg/ion-orchard-treating-complimentary-pearl-milk-tea-catch-pokemon-6-21-aug/ With businesses taking advantage of this Pokemon Go phenomenon, what can PR practitioners learn from this?

  1. Network Yourself ConstantlyThe game causes players to step out into their neighbourhoods (unless you are a GPS spoofer), and even venture to other neighbourhoods. Players of the same team have been seen to form alliances by going to new neighbourhoods, catching Pokemons together or battling Gyms owned by other teams.PR people should be doing that on a daily basis, going out and meeting new people to build on existing networks.
  1. To be the very best, like no one ever was!PR professionals should model their professionalism according to the theme song which goes, “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was, to catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause. I will travel across the land, searching far and wide, each Pokemon to understand, the power that’s inside. Pokemon gotta catch ‘em all!”We should constantly take in knowledge and read up on the industry and clients we are servicing and aim to know the client better than the client themselves so that we are better positioned to serve the needs of the client.
  1. Being In the KnowPR firms need to be on the cusp of all things new and all things trending. Pokemon Go shocked the world and sky-rocketed Augmented Reality to the new frontier. As PR practitioners, we should take notes and keep tabs on new happenings and be in the know so that we can offer better services and advice to our clients.Pokemon Go has shown great success in uniting generations and this is going to cause companies to look for new ways to unite target markets instead of targeting just one market. Public Relations in games like Pokemon Go are just about to take off. Sponsorships of “Gyms” or “Pokestops” to raise publicity and brand recognition and awareness are already underway.

In the future, more companies will look for ways to unite multiple generations, instead of aiming for just one target market. Public relations amongst games like Pokemon Go is just about to take off – company sponsorships of gyms and Pokestops are already being requested in hopes of increasing publicity, business and name recognition. Pokemon Go has such great potential that it has found its way onto the political trail of the United States election of their 45th President. The viral nature of this game has caused businesses to want to be a part of the game, leading to a desire to be featured and even hoping rare Pokemons would be released near their location to draw large crowds. Figure 3: Image retrieved from – https://www.newscientist.com/article/2097445-pokemon-go-away-who-owns-the-augmented-reality-we-play-in/ This is but augmented reality’s first proper introduction into the market and the results look promising.  Last year, Virtual Reality was introduced to the market when Google revealed their VR googles. VR and Augmented Reality are the new frontier and Pokemon Go is proving so. What can public relations and marketing professionals take away from such a trending game such as Pokemon Go? Businesses must constantly be forward thinking, aiming to utilize pop culture’s current and future trends before the competitor does. If they miss out on the opportunity, it will most likely be hard to hop on the bandwagon. Pokemon Go is still fresh and developing, giving businesses the opportunity to join in on the craze before it ends – if it ever does. So what are you waiting for? Go out, be the very best and start your quest to catch ‘em all!

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