What Can Digital Enterprises Learn From Pokémon Go?

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So, you’ve just spent (or wasted) a decent chunk of your weekend on the newest craze: hunting for Pokémon! You are certainly not alone; Niantic/Nintendo’s wildly successful, free, augmented reality game has been sweeping the globe. There were 10 million daily players at last count, creating huge profits for the parent company and others, such as Apple.

For those not familiar, the franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995 in Japan. It involves fictional characters called Pokémon (short for pocket monsters), which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other. If you are a business leader in a digital enterprise watching this and dismissing it as a fad, you might want to think again.

I see Pokémon Go as a master class in building engagement through content and visual storytelling. Digital evangelists within enterprises should view Pokémon Go as a lesson in how to re-energize a fading brand through omni-channel adoption—creating a consistent, unifying experience in both the physical and digital worlds.

As Nintendo did with Pokémon Go, every digital marketing team should synchronize the technologies at their disposal (specifically digital asset management, analytics, social sentiment mining, and immersive experience) with their physical marketing campaigns. The objective is to stitch together a cohesive brand experience along with a compelling, continous visual narrative and an intuitive transactional capability. The focus should be to get the right content (such as real-time product and pricing information) spread virally to the right users, anytime, anyplace, and expedite online transactions (similar to add on purchases in Pokemon Go).

Pokémon Go is also about game mechanics: the art of harnessing the basic human instincts of collaboration and competition. HR and line-of-business heads would be wise to create policies and initiatives that foster employee collaboration and track how teams collaborate across silos. Collaborative teams can expedite cross-divisional processes, reducing overall customer friction.

The basic activity of hunting for monsters in Pokémon Go is not much different from executing enterprise or divisional goals and receiving real-time feedback and rewards (something not enough enterprises are doing today). Imagine a customer- lending project that spans multiple divisions such as document gathering, underwriting, accounting, loan onboarding, and loan servicing. Each division is likely to take a month or more for their portion. The same process could be accomplished in a day or two if employees in each division worked to “capture the same monster,” i.e., align around common goals with shared incentives while competing with other virtual teams in the enterprise.

Pokémon Go maybe a short-lived fad like Angry Birds or Candy Crush, or it may turn out to be timeless like Pac Man or Space Invaders (my favorite). However, regardless of its longevity, it offers powerful lessons for business leaders on how to kick-start their company’s digital roadmap by using advanced mobility and storytelling to create a compelling brand.

Post Date: 7/31/2016

Vivek Mehara - NTT DATA Vivek Mehra

About the author

Vivek Mehra leads NTT DATA's Digital Experience practice in India, helping clients realize the business value of digital investments for competitive success. He has over 20 years of consulting experience in IT strategy, systems integration, and digital technologies implementation. Previously, Vivek served in leadership positions at Wipro/Nervewire, Pioneer Investments, State Street Global Advisors, and Cambridge Technology Partners.

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