Pokémon Go is a global phenomenon. Players of all ages have been on the hunt since its launch, searching for more of the virtual reality characters to add to their collection.

Within a week, the app went straight to number one in the app store. Its servers couldn’t even keep up with the rising number of users and crashed, prompting numerous complaints from disappointed players who were missing out on valuable Pokémon-catching time.

And the game isn’t just affecting users. Surprisingly, it’s affecting businesses too. So how can businesses utilise Pokémon Go as a marketing tool?

The game features Pokéstops, which generate free items within the game that help players progress. The game chooses which public locations to place these virtual checkpoints and businesses that are fortunate enough to be located near one, should be making sure to advertise its location to boost business.

In addition, there have been numerous stories in the media of Pokémon Go players who are deciding where to eat based on the availability of Pokémon. Some restaurants are seeing a boost in footfall and profits because of their prime locations, with one London restaurant going one step further and launching a Pokémon-inspired menu.

The bad news is, if your business is in a Pokémon-free zone, you could actually lose customers to the game.

There could be a way around this, though. Despite the fact advertising opportunities have not been introduced within the game as yet, local businesses can still use the game as a marketing tool to keep their customers, and even attract new ones.

But what is the most profitable way to do this? Here are our top tips for cashing in on the game…

Location, location, location

If you’re lucky enough to have a Pokéstop on your doorstep, capitalise on this to boost footfall. Use social media to brag about your location and advertise the fact that by choosing to visit your business, your customers will also get three or four Pokéballs thrown in for free. Or, you could even offer exclusive offers and discounts to players of the game.

Play the game

Invest in the game to get more out of it. One restaurant’s revenue has increased 26% since the launch of the game due to its savvy strategising. The Covent Garden eatery has paid for lures within the game to attract virtual Pokémon characters to a Pokéstop nearby for a prolonged period of time. And any business can do this.

Gotta catch ‘em all

If you are nowhere near a Pokéstop, don’t worry. You can still benefit from this phenomenon. Make sure you advertise on social media if a rare Pokémon appears nearby.  Those keen players won’t be able to resist, as seen at Grand Army Plaza, just outside Central Park in New York, where hundreds of people swarm to see what they can find.  Even Justin Bieber can be found playing the game there!

Become the perfect host

You could even host a special event like Bristol Zoo did. Over 2,000 people flocked to the ‘lure’ party, with organisers forced to turn away many visitors, and the zoo plans to host another event soon. An easy way to attract new customers and increase sales, so make sure you’ve got plenty of stock in – after all, catching Pokémon is thirsty work!

Are you launching a new product or brand and require PR support? The Tonic Communications can help. Contact us to find out more about our track record.


Contributor Katie Lee