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the business talk: pokémon go…or not to go?

The latest digital phenomenon, using the smartphone camera and GPS, is Pokémon Go, which blends virtual with reality. Users try and catch the virtual creatures in actual locations.

This in turn, takes people – and lots of them – to places they wouldn’t normally visit.

In other words, just what every business would like to achieve in a marketing campaign. There can also be a big flurry of activity with tweets, Facebook comments and videos.

However, whilst 60 percent of Android users are playing the game and businesses are now getting in on the act, just what are the advantages and disadvantages of playing ‘Business’ Pokémon Go?

Whataburger in Texas pitched it just right by blending their offering with the fun: two Pokémons could be cleverly caught in their drive-through.

The Australian ME Bank breathed welcome humour into their brand: when you just want to withdraw cash but first you have to catch a Meowth Pokémon Go.

Waterstones bookshop also attracted favour with their catchy tweet: If you’re playing #PokémonGO then you should know our bookshop is full of them! Come browse and catch them all!

And what better than a food shop to place a Pokémon: @fuzzystacoshop: Just another reason to come by #FuzzysTacoShop today. #PokémonGo

With a topic that is trending, expectations and competition will be high. In order to keep on top, businesses need to post messages that are relevant to their focus and keep away from random stabs like this one:

Hunting for Pokémon around Sunnyside? Come on in! Our servers are never down!

If the bar had offered Pokémon users something to entice them inside, and stay longer, like free charging or finding a Pokémon, they might have avoided poor exposure.

Nil value came from this outlet too: Don’t forget to make a stop @7eleven and get your favorite drink while on the #PokemonGO –> 7/11 Day.

To include Pokémon Go in their content strategy, businesses need to provide a connection, even if it has no relevancy to the brand. Just by using a hashtag or a reference to Pokémon go to promote your brand will not encourage or be that effective and could irritate users who expect more.

Users of social media will always appreciate a clever or funny post but it’s important to keep expectations at the right level. A popular topic doesn’t necessarily get instant attraction.

In other words, by all means join in the chat, but only if your brand can gain from it.

Offer a bonus, something to entice, please and provoke humour or goodwill and leave that vital impression: a brand that loves its people and rewards them.

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