Content Strategy Lessons to Learn from Pokémon Go

Jun 16, 2018

Every month for a few hours Pokémon Go Trainers all around the world celebrate Pokémon Community Day, by meeting up in their local community parks with fellow trainers, all eagerly waiting to catch a special Pokémon. The first Pokémon Community Day was celebrated on January 20, 2018.

In case you didn’t already know, Pokémon is a huge collection of “pocket monsters”.

More than a game – a phenomenon

The launch of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality app, was tremendously successful and resulted in over 650 million downloads in iOS & Android as of February 2017! The game brings to life one’s childhood dreams of being a Pokémon trainer, roaming through cities with Ash and Pikachu, catching Pokémons, training them for battle and winning championships.

With the help of Google’s advanced mapping technology, Niantic Labs were able to develop Pokémon Go which was then published by Nintendo. In the game, the monsters are left to roam around the lands. The job of the players is to get hold of these pocket monsters and capture them to be trained to fight against the other players.

There is no denying the fact that the Pokémon franchise has enjoyed immense popularity among players of all age groups by creating a completely new and exhilarating experience for players each time.

Pokemon Go

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Content strategy lessons to learn from Pokémon Go

According to Business of Apps, Pokémon Go earned a total revenue of $268 million as of August 2017 and has a daily active user base of 5 million. The game offers useful content strategy lessons to marketers and online entrepreneurs. Let’s have a look at some of them here.

Put everything in context

Contextualization refers to the adaptation of a concept to the framework of its target audience, making the message more acceptable. The game offers an interesting roadmap that allows you to catch Pokémon with the help of your GPS-enabled smartphone. The game’s environment adapts seamlessly to your current location. This means, while at the park, you might end up finding grass versions of Pokémon, and the chance of bumping into a nocturnal creature will increase at night. The game also stays true to the popular TV show of the same franchise, giving fans an opportunity to engage more interactively.

Pokemon Go 2

When applied in content marketing, contextualization is a powerful technique. Nike has been able to build a community around the brand with Nike Plus, a digital platform built to deliver tailored fitness content to its health devise users. In this case, data collected from the health device builds the context for the content.

Allow content to evolve

It’s easy to come up with an original idea. The real task is to come up with an idea that can evolve and stay relevant over time. Pokémon was traditionally a Nintendo game released on February 27, 2017, which then became a popular trading cards game, and then a television show. It wasn’t until July 6, 2016, that it became an augmented reality game that could be played on a mobile phone.

Nintendo strategized to make use of its existing content, which fans already knew about and could easily relate to. This allowed the gaming company to reignite audience interest and fuel sales.

Similarly, it is important to create versatile content that can be repurposed in multiple formats. For example, a webinar can be turned into an e-book, a blog article, or a slide deck.

Create timely content

While it’s true that the actual content is an extremely critical factor in determining the success or failure of a branding/marketing campaign, timing is key too. Consider this: Nintendo decided to launch Pokémon Go during the summer break.


Because this is the time when a majority of kids and teenagers have the time and liberty to explore their neighbourhood. The extended daylight hours allowed players to venture out into their neighbourhoods and try and find Pokémons for hours at stretch.

In case Nintendo had decided to launch the app in winter, there would have been very little chance of people spending time out in the cold trying to find a Pokémon.

Content marketers can rely on tools and trends to deliver timely content and improve engagement too. For instance, Google Analytics allows you to determine when your website traffic peaks so you can align your publishing schedule with these times. Similarly, Facebook Insights shows you when your followers are most active.

Tell a story

Who doesn’t love a good story? Pokémon Go players are thoroughly intrigued by every character in the game as they each boast unique superpowers. They enjoy cheering for something brilliant while playing the game. It gives users something more than just a product, it gives them an experience that motivates, inspires and surprises them.

Building stories that your audience can relate to will help your content succeed. Always a women’s sanitary products company struck a chord with its audience through the “Like a Girl” campaign. It tells the story of how doing things like a girl has become an insult over time. This powerful advertisement with girls and boys of all ages shows how it is important to believe in and be yourself.

Try gamification

Gamification is the process of adding game mechanics to motivate people to engage by offering them incentives. Pokémon Go itself is a game – it has levels that can be completed, Pokémons that can be caught, along with battles and badges that can be won. This encourages players to keep coming back for more.

Remember getting excited about quizzes? We’re excited because they present us with a challenge or an incentive. That is exactly what gamification does. Take a look at food delivery app, Uber Eats. It provides a referral code that users can share with their friends. When they use the app for the first time they get rupees 50 off and so will you! That incentives trying the app.

Uber Eats

Build a community

While playing Pokémon Go, a player is likely to meet and interact with other players within the community. This gives them an opportunity to discuss levels, fight other teams etc. Community building allows users to share their experiences and solidifies their relationship with the brand. An active community translates to more engaged users.

The Harley Owners Group is a great example of brand communities. It has outdone itself by creating a space for passionate bikers from all around the world to interact and exchange their ideas and give each other support. For these bikers, owning a Harley Davidson represents a way of life and the HOG is a community of people with common interests.


Keep learning

Yes, Pokémon Go lets players spot a Pokémon within the area, but the player still needs to keep walking around and stay alert to upcoming opportunities. The game is designed to always keep the user on their feet so that they continue to explore and strategize. The game also comes up with new updates to ensure that it can add to the user experience.

Just like the game, your content must consistently educate and enthral your audience. As a content marketer, you need to keep your fingers on the pulse, learning about your audience to create content that will interest them.

Your turn

This month, Pokémon Community day is on June 16th. Go ahead and catch Tyranitar’s exclusive move for the month!Pokemon Go

Got content strategy lessons of your own? Go ahead, share them with us in the comments below!

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