Apartment communities are leveraging the enormous popularity of the augmented reality-based game Pokémon GO, potentially driving traffic to their apartments while entertaining and engaging their residents.
Persons of all ages are participating in Pokémon GO—which caught fire in mid-July, becoming the No. 1 downloaded free app. Inspired by the video game created more than 20 years ago for Nintendo’s original Game Boy handheld device, Pokémon GO is not just for children. The game’s appeal is universal–including apartment residents—with 2 million downloads the first week it was available.
For those who do not fully understand the rules and strategies behind the game, speak to any of its participants (friends, family, co-workers) or search “Pokémon GO How to Play” to gain a basic understanding. Chances are, players are roaming your neighborhood right now.
Based on a recent multifamilyinsiders.com discussion post, as well as comments from other apartment marketers, here are a few ideas that could enable you to be a part of this summer’s craze:
1) Determine if your property is located near a PokeStop or Gym. If so, expect to see more foot and car traffic to your location. PokeStops are places where players visit to collect items such as eggs and Poke Balls, which are needed to capture Pokémon.
2) Promote the fact that your community is near a PokeStop and capitalize on it by acknowledging so on your Internet advertising. The CEO of the game’s manufacturer announced recently that the company will soon be announcing details about how retailers can become sponsored locations inside Pokémon GO.
3) Create fun things for Pokémon GO visitors to see when they visit your property and its surrounding area. Help encourage them to come by buying lures to release all day.
4) Make a fun sign for the office door that identifies the community is a PokeStop.
5) For prospective residents, or as move-in gifts, buy iTunes cards and google cards and suggest that the cards be used to purchase 1,200 Poke Balls (approximate value $40).
6) Encourage residents to post pictures of their gameplay to your social media channels.
7) Host a “Post Your Pokémon Catches” contest on your Facebook page, asking residents to share images of when they have found Pokémon at your community.
8) Partner with your local Pokémon GO league to host an event, or host one for your residents.
9) Purchase a Pokémon costume and wear it as part of any upcoming social activity. Dress as a character, representing your community, when making any other appearances around town. These characters will attract attention.
10) Two staff members from student housing community The Hub in Columbia, S.C., walking their surrounding grounds, asked roaming people if they were hunting Pokémon and handed those who were a battle card for the gym with their marketing message on the back.
The biggest question facing apartment marketers is whether Pokémon GO is purely a fad, or if it is the impetus that augmented reality has been seeking, creating a greater comfort level for consumers with the technology.
One marketer says she already is meeting with her staff about how it can take geo-targeting to another level in her campaigns—Pikachus or not. The public might be more ready to embrace its use.
“Conversely, onsite teams are asking if they want to run as far away as they can from the game, in light of negative news headlines related to the game involving criminal activity and personal safety issues,” says Lisa Trosien, ApartmentExpert.com. “They wonder if their residents, particularly those who do not play, would be turned off by the extra traffic, including by strangers, combing the community, especially in garden-style properties.”
Apartment management professionals Holli Beckman, Lisa Trosien, Kate Good, Brent Williams, Kristi Dingess, Jasmine Brooks and Sondrah Laden and Inc magazine contributed to this article.