Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you know that Pokémon GO is all the rage. Thousands and thousands of people of all ages from all walks of life are busy keeping an eye out for Pokémon and battling it out to overtake a Gym.
I was working at Wizards of the Coast when they launched the Pokémon Trading Card Game, even then we didn’t know that it would be such a phenomenon. Twenty years later the cards are still one of the number one sellers at retail and now Pokémon GO has become the largest downloaded mobile app in history.
Though the Pokémon brand is here to stay, there is something to be said about capitalizing on a fad. Though fads tend to come and go quickly not offering much to the consumer or filling a need in the marketplace, they can benefit a company in the short-term. So how can companies make fads work to their advantage?
– Pet Rocks and Silly Bands: Identify the fad. Watch the market; keep a keen eye on social media and an ear to the street. Easier said than done I know. In 1999 I gave out first edition Pokémon cards to the janitor of the Toy Building because I didn’t want to incur the expense of shipping them from NYC to Seattle once Toy Fair ended. That’s before they became so sought-after, who knew?
– Spin it!: Make the fad work to your advantage. Some of the local San Diego businesses have been doing a good job playing up the current craze with offerings of Pokémon merchandise discounts (Hot Topic), listing the best restaurants to catch Pokémon (Eater San Diego) to buying a lure to attract Pokémon which will in turn attract customers (a coffee shop). But keep in mind, a tie-in for tie-in sake won’t work, you have to make sure that it’s in-line with the essence of your brand and customer.
– Last one in is a rotten egg: Don’t be late to the game. When it comes to fads, first one out of the gate usually wins. Identifying the fad early will help you to quickly analyze its impact and put in motion the appropriate product extensions and marketing campaigns.
– No lollygaggers: Be able to turn around on a dime. Marketing and product related to fads need to be executed quickly. This is no time to dilly dally over rounds and rounds of meetings, revisions and feet dragging.
– Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Capitalizing on a fad can be a quick boost to revenue but don’t abandon your company’s core principles and bread and butter product.
Ooo, my eggs are hatching and I see that an Abra is one footprint away, sorry gotta GO!