Four lessons brands can learn from Pokémon Go

Whether you’re trying to catch ’em all yourself, or you’ve merely been mystified by scores of people running around your neighborhood, phones out, goofy grins plastered on their faces, you’ve inevitably crossed paths with Pokémon Go.

With 21 million daily players, Pokémon Go is the most popular mobile app of all time, beloved by its mostly millennial fans. So what’s its secret to success?

Image courtesy of Flickr user iphonedigital.
Image courtesy of Flickr user iphonedigital.

Recently, Landor investigated the most discussed, yet most misunderstood, generation; you can read all our findings in the “The millennial paradox.”

The short answer to what makes Pokémon Go so popular? The app knows how to catch ’em—millennials’ hearts, that is—by appealing to their often-conflicting desires.

Here are four lessons your brand can learn from Pokémon Go:

1. Tap into nostalgia, but give it a modern twist

Want to reflect on your own mortality? Ponder the fact that the Pokémon brand has been around for more than 20 years. That means today’s 20-something consumers grew up with Ash and Pikachu, playing the original video games, collecting the cards, and watching the cartoons.

As our findings explain, millennials crave experiences that are simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic; Pokémon Go literally modernizes childhood memories by putting familiar characters into augmented reality.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Michael Newman.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Michael Newman.

The lesson

Brands shouldn’t be afraid to tap into nostalgia and help millennials relive their favorite firsts. Just be sure to focus on modernizing memories and melding the latest technological innovations with childhood fun.

2. Build community

In a world of snaps and swiping right, millennials are starved for more meaningful, real-world connections.

Pokémon Go not only encourages players to work together, the game gets them out of the house and gives them a compelling reason to explore their neighborhood and beyond. That telltale goofy grin at a phone held high provides the perfect excuse to strike up a conversation about a clearly shared interest—and maybe even join forces.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Rich Howells.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Rich Howells.

The lesson

Digital communities aren’t going anywhere. But if brands can tap into millennials’ desires to interact more meaningfully with others in the real world, they can win their hearts and keep them loyal.

3. Give them something to share

Whether players sprint across the park to catch a Squirtle or pursue a Pikachu at their corner pub, Pokémon Go adds a touch of magic to daily routines.

It provides endless fodder for amusing anecdotes, Snaps, and Instagram photos that keep players thinking, laughing, and posting about the game whether they’re actively playing or not.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Simon Hurrell.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Simon Hurrell.

The lesson

Imagine what shareable moments your brand can encourage. Then help your customers make those experiences their own, and support them in crafting and sharing their stories.

4. Stay agile

Pokémon Go feels so fresh it’s easy to forget that it’s part of a two-decades-old brand franchise that includes everything from cartoons to cards.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker.

The lesson

Never stop moving. Be smart and smooth about innovation; keep tech advances relevant. Dream big. Evolve.

Where can your brand go next?