The launch of Pokémon Go has spiked a global reaction and even caused a man to lose his job. Since the app released in the past week, it has added nearly $11 billion to Nintendo’s market value. By July 11, it already has more users than Tinder which marvelled us how people are more anxious to look for Pokémon than their potential future partners. And this was just in US, Australia and New Zealand. Can you imagine the potential once it makes its grand arrival in other parts of the world?
While it is a great game you should totally download and try not to be overly obsessed with it, you should also leverage and ride on the gigantic wave of this game. This revolutionary game is going to bring small businesses to a whole new level.
When the game was launched, little did most of the F&B businesses know the tremendous benefits it would bring to them. Just by putting a signboard in front of the store could bring significant patronage. John Merritt, Manager of CitySen Lounge (an eatery and bar) in the CityFlats Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich, noticed that people were staring at their phones and came up with a signboard which was performing well enough that their team were having second thoughts on buying a lure (a Pokémon Go feature that can drive foot traffic with just $1.19 per hour). He mentioned in his interview with Adweek that “Our sign, all by itself, is doing pretty well for us”.
There are plenty of reasons why Pokémon Go gives us so much potential to do marketing due to the nature of the game and how it works. Simply put, the most important and beneficial advantages it has given to F&B merchants are how it increases foot traffic by driving a consumer behaviour of going out and demanding a certain level of socialisation which can take place in the different settings like a cafe or a restaurant.
How can you ride on the Pokémon wave when it hits Asia? Here are some must know pointers for you.
1) Start ‘fishing’ and throw a lure!
Many businesses are head over heels in love with the lure -- which is presently the hottest in-app purchase.
Drop a lure, Pokémons (and customers) will find its way to you. At an affordable price, you can easily bring the crowd to your cafe/restaurant. Do not underestimate its power. According to Bloomberg, L’inizio Pizza Bar in Queens invested $10 on the Lure Modules and witnessed their sales increased by more than 30 percent over the weekend. A pizzeria owner also commented on Reddit threads that by tapping on the game and using a lure, his business has been boosted by the influx of customers walking in searching for Pokémon.
2) They battle, we support
Pokémon Go has two main locations which are the PokéStop and Pokémon Gym that serve different purposes. Pokémon Gym is the place for Pokémon trainers to battle and if your F&B business is nearer to the Pokégym than to the Pokéstop, you can utilise this great opportunity to hold tournaments and offer discounts to the gym battle winners or members.
3) Start and end the journey right at your F&B store
Organise a Poké-hunt, share the details (date, time, venue - which is your business of course) and you are all set and ready to go. Start the journey by gathering the players at your store and go on a Pokémon hunting journey as a team. Get your staff to join in with your brand’s t-shirts or maybe, make them hold a takeaway cup of coffee with your brand name printed on it (psst… brand positioning). At the end of it, wrap up the fun activity at your cafe/restaurant which provides the perfect setting for people to discuss on their accomplishments during the hunt. Well, hopefully, they will be thirsty or hungry by then.
4) Pokémon wants to be on Instagram or twitter too - Make your F&B business a viral destination
F&B cafes/restaurants are coming up with various campaigns such as “Post and tag us on social media with a Pokémon you catch in our cafe to be entitled a discount”, which is a smart and simple move to promote themselves online. The best part of this Pokémon game is that even if your business is not near a Pokéstop or gym, you would still have Pokémons around your area. So do download the game, keep a lookout and share information online of the valuable Pokémon that appears in your area to jack up the excitement levels of people visiting your store to catch those Pokémons.
5) Online and offline experiences are meant to be synced
For a long lasting effect (before the craze dies down), it might be better for you to grab this chance and leave a deep impression on the users of your online ordering system as a form of customer engagement. Since this current craze drives foot traffic, you can fully utilise this attribute on your store’s pick-up services. Reward customers who catch a Pokémon on their way to your store for their pick-ups (which they have pre-ordered online). The catch to attaining the reward is to find the Pokémon within the time span of the pick-up slot eg; 30 minutes. You can verify through the screenshots that your customers take.
These are just some marketing tactics but do keep a look out as we will update this space with more innovative strategies that you can use for your own F&B businesses. Now, it's time to get prepared to catch em’ all!