Could a new gaming sensation help to support local businesses and provide a boost to their trade? One council believes so and has been quick off the mark to expore the opportunity...
by Julie Walden
Pokemon Go makes use of real world locations, landmarks and points of interest. We’re urging local businesses to take advantage of the increase in footfall by supporting players and advertising local PokeGyms and PokeStops.
Destinations in Pokemon Go are varied and include churches, historical markers and scenic areas. Selby Leisure Centre has a PokeGym and has already been busy promoting it. Pokemon Go’s momentum can be used to strengthen local communities, bring people together in public spaces and create increased interest and pride in the places we live, work and play.
Players of the game visit locations in real life. The game doesn’t work if you pass quickly through an area (i.e. driving) so it means people, young and old, are physically on your doorstep. We’ve been pushing the message that our towns are open for business recently and as an organisation we want to help support local businesses take advantage of the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
As well as the healthy lifestyle benefits this is bringing for players, it is also encouraging residents to be active in their communities, which can only be a good thing.
So what can you do? There are a number of ways you can jump on this bandwagon…
The game is a huge drain on phone batteries. Players frequently need to charge their phones – could you offer a phone charging point and a discount on a drink perhaps? Open up your Wifi to customers and visitors.
If you’re business is near a PokeStop or a PokeGym let people know – it will bring people to your doorstep. Include it in your advertising and social media.
Download the game and play it. You can purchase – in the game – ‘lures’ which are set off at PokeStops and attract extra Pokemon – and therefore Pokemon Go players – for 30 minutes. Many local businesses in big cities do this at lunchtime, for example, to bring people through their doors. Advertise that you’re doing this – host a Lure Party. Or you could offer to set off a lure when a group buys 15 drinks or spends a certain amount of money.
If you’re a PokeGym location host a gym tournament. When players reach level five in the game they choose one of three teams. Each PokeGym is held by a player from one of these teams who has won the most Pokemon battles. Other players can support this player by adding their Pokemon to defend the gym. You could offer discounts to the players who can show they’re the winning defenders of the gym. Or you could offer discounts for members of the team holding the gym.
Organise a community Pokehunt. In the future it looks like the game may offer the ability for players to trade Pokemon and there are also hints that there will be community-wide events to bring together groups of players to tackle major objectives together. These could bring further opportunities for you to encourage and welcome players.
We support anything that boosts footfall in our local communities. Take advantage – put welcome signs outside your door and talk to the players – and let’s encourage these people with the aim of helping our local business community.
Julie Walden is Marketing Officer at Selby Council