Guest Blog Post

Our associate, Los Angeles-based communications professional Gabrielle Boyd has written a guest post for the AHA blog on the overwhelming success of Pokémon Go.

 

dreamstime_xs_74773726As a public relations professional, I was simultaneously astounded and envious by the success of the Pokémon Go launch. You couldn’t turn on any radio station, television news or even go on Facebook or Twitter without hearing some story about Pokémon Go. Hate it or love it, everyone was talking about it and aware of it – which is the goal of most brands. And almost two months after the game’s release, it is still making headlines! Here I am being envious again…

Here are five reasons why I believe Pokémon Go grabbed the attention of people worldwide:

Nostalgia

As we have seen with recent trends, there’s a yearning for nostalgia amongst many of today’s consumers. For example, many long-cancelled television shows have been rebooted in a remake of the series (new X Files, 24: Live Another Day, Arrested Development, Fuller House and Gilmore Girls). We are seeing unofficial national holidays arising from popular movies (for example, last year’s Back to the Future day). It reminds us of a time when things were simpler – especially in this post 9/11 world, where we worry about our safety and security. Pokémon Go capitalized on this, where fans of the original Pokémon card games can now relive great times by playing this new game.

Using the latest trends and technologies

Pokémon Go was at the forefront of the augmented reality trend and was one of the first times that it found a way into mainstream culture. This hooked a younger audience that didn’t have the nostalgia factor, using cool and trendy new technology. The younger demographic loved seeing and catching Pikachu in their living rooms, down their street and on their block.

Great user experience

Unlike many mobile games, there are no frustrating pop-up ads during Pokémon Go, which makes for an amazing user or player experience. This seamless playing experience resulted in people becoming hooked on the game quickly. And because they’re happy with the game, players would be even more likely to spend a few dollars at the Pokémon Go shop, which extends the experience.

Strategy

Pokémon Go may appear to be an easy concept – catch them all! – but the more you play, the more you learn strategic ways to improve your game. As the game is so complex, it hooks their players for longer as they find ways to get even better – such as making sure you evolve your Pokémon that have the highest CP (Combat Power), as the CP level carries on to the evolved Pokémon. And the higher the CP, the better you are in Pokémon gym battles. There is an element of challenge here that appeals to players.

Fun!

Maybe, most importantly, Pokémon Go is fun. I believe this is one of the biggest reasons for its global PR domination – people just can’t stop playing and talking about it. And the media can’t stop covering it!

When you think about the success of Pokémon Go, are there ways that you can help your brand appeal to your target consumer? Not everyone has the opportunity to reach as far as Pokémon Go has, but what are the elements of their success that you can translate to your brand?

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Each month someone from the AHA Crew is given a small budget and sent out to do a random act of kindness. For August, our fabulous PR Coordinator Laurie Hanley was given the job. Below is her blog post. — Ruth Atherley

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you ever searched for an empty parking space in your hometown? This is not an easy task in any major city and Halifax is no exception. It’s just brutal. It takes its toll on even the most delightful Pollyanna-type personalities. So when I was given $50 to do a random act of kindness, I ended up choosing to brighten the day for busy drivers who might have felt a little down in their search for a parking spot.

My kids and I went into the bank and got two rolls of loonies. The teller smiled and asked “Laundry day?” “Sort of,” I smiled back. Armed with 50 shiny coins, we set out on foot for Spring Garden Road, where we immediately bumped into my brother-in-law (Halifax is a largish city but also a very small town) who was keen to break in a new pair of sneakers – so he joined us.

We walked and we walked… all over town. It was a gorgeous day – blue sky, hot sun, cool summer breeze. We spent the afternoon looking for our target: an empty parking space just waiting for someone to pull in. And when we would finally find one, we’d sit down on the curb and wait. Sure enough, within minutes, someone would pull in… forwards, backwards, getting the car lodged in there, just right. Then there would be a moment of quiet. A quick cellphone check, some deep breathing, a fumbling for coins. And out of their car they’d step. That’s when I’d call: “Go!” and one of the kids would run up to the meter and pay for their parking. They would give a little wave and say: “Have a wonderful day!”

The reaction to this was amazing. Watching the person’s face as it turned from completely rushed and frustrated into the biggest grin was so worth the wait. “What are you kids up to?” said one smiley man. “Here, buy yourselves some ice cream,” said a woman trying to hand us money – which we, of course, politely declined. “Here…” said a very grateful man as he reached into his shirt pocket. “Oh no, it’s all good! Happy Friday!!” we said. But he kept on coming closer… his hand coming out of his pocket so eagerly… “I have candy! I have four of them here… and lots more in the car.” Is that a Werthers? Well, I wouldn’t want to be rude.

We did this all afternoon. It was the best Friday I’ve had in a long time. We got completely immersed in our random-act-of-kindness bubble. Normally, walking around downtown, I am like everyone else – on a mission. I have a limited amount of time to be somewhere and I don’t notice anything or anyone. But our Random Act of Kindness Day was different. We relaxed, took things in, and connected with people. And believe it or not, we still have so many loonies left. These empty parking spaces are hard to find. So one sunny day this week, we’ll pick a peak time and head back down to finish the job.

People are busier than ever these days. But what I was reminded of on Friday is that underneath the serious business face, there is still a human being. There is genuine good spirit. And we all have a need to give back. People want to connect – it’s just a difficult thing to do when we are rushing around, trying to be in 10 different places at once. But it’s so good to know we can still take the time to make eye contact and smile and make a difference in someone’s day.

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AHA - Valerie LappWhen Paul and Ruth suggested I become part of the “Random Act of Kindness” movement for AHA Creative Strategies, I immediately called a family meeting and explained the premise to my husband and two children. “We have $20 to do something kind right here in Peterborough.  What do you think we should do?”

We talked about the amazing men who drive the recycling truck, and about the always-friendly crossing guard.  They had been kind to us – they were deserving of some kindness back.

And then we thought of something.

There’s been an ad on our local TV station recently, a fundraiser for the YWCA’s Crossroads Shelter for abused women and children. A child’s voice sings, “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…” while a voiceover makes the chilling statement that there are three calls every day about domestic violence in our small town.  Three calls a day?  1,000 a year? How was this even possible?

Our decision was made.  We all liked the idea of brightening the day for scared, but courageous women and their families at the shelter, who were taking their first steps towards a better life.*

The YWCA loved the idea, when we contacted them. We suggested flowers for the women, or perhaps toys for the children – but the YWCA opted instead for the Universal Canadian Symbol of Good Will: Tim’s gift cards.

Personal delivery to the shelter itself was out of the question, as security there is very tight.  The shelter houses almost 300 women and children each year, and is only effective as long as it’s safe.  As one former resident put it: “I’ve got a great job and my kids are all doing really well. But even now, so many years later … I wake up from the fear, from that horrible icy terror that makes my heart beat so fast I think it’s going to burst… You know what calms me down? The memory of my counsellor at Crossroads telling me… we’d all be all right—because we were finally in a safe place.”

So, instead, we delivered 10 identical $2 gift cards, each in a cheery gift envelope, to our contact person at the YWCA office.  She assured us the cards would go straight to the shelter, and she thanked us with a warm smile.

I still feel the warmth in that smile, and in fact, I feel that really I should thank her.  She gave me the opportunity to feel just a little better about being human.

P.S. There’s something I noticed about this Random Act of Kindness thing.  All the kind thoughts or feelings in the world mean exactly nothing, without the actual ACT.

* A plaque on the living room of the YWCA Crossroads Shelter in Peterborough, says: “This space is dedicated to those courageous women who take bold steps toward a safer course, and to all those who help them find their way.” – Anonymous Supporter

Valerie Lapp is one of the AHA Crew based out of Peterborough, Ontario. Check her out her bio here.

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Each month, one of the AHA Crew receives $20 and is asked to initiative a “Random Act of Kindness.” For December, we asked our Calgary PR Coordinator Kim Wong to do something nice for someone in the world. Kim took the assignment to heart – she tells us about what she did below.

On Friday, I was told that it was my turn to do a Random Act of Kindness on behalf of AHA. My first thought was how do I take the $20 given to me and turn it into more than $20? I remembered that the previous day I saw an advertisement at McDonald’s that if you buy a $10 gift card you also get a coupon for a free chicken wrap and drink. So I went to McDonald’s and purchased two gift cards and made a plan to give the gift cards and free coupons to some people in need.

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