Let’s talk about Pokemon Go.

They're coming for us!

They’re coming for us!  Look at ’em go!

We’ve all seen them. Dozens of youngish people glued to their phone, but now trudging through the great outdoors! On a related note, here is my cousin’s Facebook status the other day: “Please look both directions before dashing into the middle of the unlit street at night to catch an imaginary creature, because I promise you, my car is not imaginary.” All kidding aside, Pokemon Go lifted Nintendo’s stock by approximately a billionty percent (Editor’s Note: This is not an actual number), so clearly someone somewhere did something right.

Ahhh what's happening?!?

Ahhh what’s happening?!?

In fact, we can all learn something from what made Pokemon Go!’s marketing strategy so successful.

I'm Just gonna hang out here until you catch me!

I’m Just gonna hang out here until you catch me!

Let’s break it down. Pokemon Go is an app designed to get fans of a long-running franchise to go exploring outside their home for digital monsters. Already the app itself is doing its marketing for you. “What are all those young ruffians doing? And why do they look like they’re having so much fun doing it? Hey! Get off my lawn!” – Me, probably. But there’s definitely a word-of-mouth aspect to Pokemon Go that cannot be understated. We were at the aquarium over the weekend, and a ticket-taker asked us, completely unprompted, if we had found any of the Pokemons in the area.

Must...Catch...all Pokemon...

Must…Catch…all Pokemon…

This brought to mind several different thoughts: 1. Cool, I look like the kind of person who’s into Pokemon! …. Oh no, I look like the kind of person who’s into Pokemon! (I kid) 2. Hiding Pokemon in the middle of the shark tank would be the work of a truly diabolical mastermind, and now I’m ashamed I had that thought and 3. Wow, this game is truly getting people to talk about it everywhere.

A few factors that have undoubtedly worked in Nintendo’s favor.  They really took advantage of SoLoMo (or Social Local Mobile) marketing.  The game was released in the middle of summer, when kids are out of school and have all the time in the world to bumble around outdoors with their friends. You know, like we did in the good old days, when a young scamp could entertain himself for hours with a stick and a hoop (Seriously, did this ever actually happen for real?).

No more rocking horse rides for little Ethel

No more rocking horse rides for little Ethel

As we said, it’s also catering to fans of a now twenty-year old franchise, the oldest of whom are now at a point where they’re starting to settle down and have more disposable time/income, and the youngest of which are… not in school. We saw a similar phenomenon this winter with ‘Disney Prints A Lot Of Money’, excuse me, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

One Disney Dollar = $50 American Currency, right?

One Disney Dollar = $50 American Currency, right?

So how can this help with video marketing? Basically, the Pokemon Go phenomenon is a great example of how knowing your brand translates into an incredibly successful product. Nintendo saw that they had a potentially huge market of people who loved to run around and be social outside, and also saw that the video game industry they were a part of had an (deserved or not) reputation for getting kids to sit on the couch inside all day and collect flies (real ones, not Poke-flies. I don’t think Poke-flies is actually a thing, but I’m going to continue this newsletter like it is). Nintendo thus went about trying to figure out a way to kill two birds with one stone (There’s another Pokemon joke in there somewhere, but I’m going to take the high road here for once), and released the most successful app this summer as a result. They knew their brand, they knew how to attract (and maintain) an audience, and they knew when to release it. Not bad.

Now, they just need to address all the bugs and crash reports, and I’d say they could call it a day. Which brings me to my last item: If you release a product out the door and it’s not quite finished, your success will be your own worst enemy. Which really, isn’t the worst enemy to ever have, but what can you do.

Have a great August!