Pok’mon GO: A Brand in Rebirth

Pok'mon GO has captivated users, becoming the #1 most downloaded app in history. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)
Pok’mon GO has captivated users, becoming the #1 most downloaded app in history. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

Recently, I was unpacking some moving boxes and I stumbled across my old Gameboy Color and rebooted my love for an original game ” Pok’mon Yellow. I quickly reverted back to my 12-year-old self, plopped my character in Pallet Town, and set out on my quest to catch ’em all. This obsession was pretty short-lived, though. About a week into my Pok’mon-induced coma, a friend of mine texted me to gush about the newest, hottest app on the market ‘ Pok’mon GO.

Nostalgia creates value

Rooted in nostalgia, Pok’mon GO has captured the hearts (and mobile data) of old and new trainers alike. Despite the little marketing put in place before its release, the app has skyrocketed to one of the most downloaded apps of all time. People of all ages are hitting the pavement in cities all over the world in search of Pok’mon, living out dreams in an augmented reality of being a Pok’mon trainer. For those of you behind on the latest trends, here’s an explanation of Pok’mon GO.

What’s truly amazing about this app is how the Pok’mon brand has driven the hysteria surrounding the game. Pok’mon never died, there have been games released on multiple gaming devices over the years, but no game has caught on quite like this. Why? Pok’mon GO goes back to basics. With the original 150 Pok’mon available, millennials, myself included, have taken a trip down memory lane.

Pok’mon GO has massive marketing potential

The gamers aren’t the only ones interested; with popularity soaring, marketers are scrambling to harness the game’s energy for effective communications. Once the creators of this powerhouse app are able to figure out bug fixes and server glitches, Pok’mon GO could be open for business.

Currently, the download-for-free app makes money off of in-game purchases ‘ a good move for a game that targets the younger generation. Don’t be fooled, though; Pok’mon GO is worth its weight in gold and shows no signs of slowing down. Shares for Nintendo rose 53% in just three days after the app’s release. Pok’mon GO is a prime example of a brand cashing in on emotional currency and it is taking steps to increase its value by providing an incredible platform for marketers.

This may be an uphill climb for Nintendo, given just a few weeks after the game’s release shares for Nintendo then fell about 18%. It’s important to remember that Pok’mon GO is still in its infancy, of course it will be subject to fluctuation as it finds its way in the market. It’s hard to believe that a game with such reach and popularity would already cash in its chips and take a loss. ‘

Soon enough, businesses will be able to register as a Pok’stop, a place where trainers can go to collect items that will aid them on their travels. This could be more beneficial in smaller cities where ‘organic’ Pok’stops, are few and far between. My neighborhood especially needs to get with it.

It’s interesting to see how businesses are working under the current version of Pok’mon GO. Right now, businesses are using in-game purchases of Lures, things that attract Pok’mon to your location, to bring in trainers. At only $1.19/hour, this is a small price to pay for increased foot traffic to a storefront. It remains to be seen how much it will cost to register as a Pok’stop.
As this game grows in popularity and reach all over the world, how will marketers use it as a channel for communications? That’s unclear at the moment, but what we can be sure of is that Pok’mon GO is here to stay, at least for a little while, and Pok’mon as a brand has been brought into the spotlight once again ‘ this time expanding its horizons and attempting to reach a wider demographic.