Why Pokémon Go is a Next Level Small Business Marketing Gem


App developers and business owners alike for many years have known that there is promise in the rise of the number of mobile device users enabling location-based services. Some thought that it would be easy for stores to push coupons to users’ mobile devices nearby. Others have dreamed that the technology could be used to influence potential customers to walk right into their store without direct prompting.

Nonetheless, retailers, small businesses and developers have had little success in overcoming the privacy barriers that are involved in getting the mobile access they need to influence user behavior.

Enter Pokémon Go, an augmented reality-based game that incentivizes the user for moving around in physical space. At its core the game brings to your pocket the themes of the older Pokémon games where you capture, train and battle Pokémon — but it adds a real-world twist. You discover virtual Pokémon to capture and train only by moving around in your physical world. Real world places correspond to the location of Pokémon Gyms (training centers) and PokéStops (places to retrieve items) in the app. You might say its somewhat of a cross between Zelda and Geocaching. If you want to progress in the game, you must go to the physical locations.

People are often more suspicious when they perceive that you are trying to get them to do something than when you are inviting them to have a fun experience. The Pokémon Go universe is nearly over 21 million users strong. It has access to the location data about all of these users and employs reliable mechanisms to influence users to move to specific locations.

It’s undeniable that the app has been influencing users’ real life behavior. It’s been getting people to go out in parks, walk along streets and to take impromptu trips. This uncommon behavior has even been noticed by law enforcement and has prompted more than one or two conversations with citizens.

Some businesses that are near Pokéstops have seen a rise in sales or have offered deals to Pokémon Go players. One couple is experiencing unexpected people traffic in front of their home (once a historic landmark) as visitors use their front lawn as a Pokémon gym. Meanwhile, health advocates are lauding the app’s ability to get people taking more steps.

It would seem that the entertainment gained through Pokémon Go fun is a semi-permanent veil that provides the makers with the ability to get in-depth user data points and influence users’ moment-by-moment location. I will not be surprised if revenue, as a result of Pokémon Go, outpaces that of Facebook in the coming months. Many advertisers and marketers may be looking to create partnerships with Pokémon Go to connect with its massive audience. How many of them have you caught already?


WIRED, Edgewell Personal Care & Chevrolet Let Emojis Poke Some Fun into Business as Usual

Most of us probably interact with at least one emoji a day. We see them in our private text messages, personal emails and now they’re a meaningful part of the greater media machine that saturates modern life.

Emojis have been creeping their way into our mediated communication steadily over the past decade. Creator, Shigetaka Kurati invented them as an easy way for cell phone users to communicate sentiment. He was looking for a way to make expression of feelings more simple and direct. This was similar to the shortcodes people used on pagers. Remember 07734, turned upside down (looks like hello!) ?


Emojis now show up in consumer goods commercials and even on the cover of magazines. WIRED magazine’s cover, a 2016 Finalist in the ASME’s best cover contest – Brainest category –  featured one simple emoji and a few dots.


The magazine said of its cover:

“Creating a cover for WIRED’s first Sex Issue was a delicate task. We spent many months crafting balanced and thought-provoking editorial for the issue, which touched on all aspects of sexuality through a WIRED lens. But coming up with a singular image to represent this breadth of content was a challenge, and we went through nearly 50 cover options, ranging from sexy to scientific to quirky to safe. Ultimately, we arrived at the most WIRED cover possible: the emoji for sex, followed by the three dots of anticipation.”

An ad released last month by Edgewell Personal Care, the owners of Schick® & Skintimate®, brought emojis to life by depicting some of the most common emojis by actors in this music video-esque spot.

So, not only are we seeing more emojis in general but new expressions of them in conjuction with more traditional media/advertising formats. See the Chevy Cruze’s use of emojis in this common ad scenario – real people (not actors) try it.

Some find emojis integrated into advertising to be insulting. Yet, more Google searches including ’emoji’ are occurring now than they have in the last five years prior.





Oprah’s Joy of Bread Starts Bachelor Night

Monday evening of this week, I was hanging out with my Dad getting ready to watch the latest episode of the Bachelor on ABC. We were all hooked up with our usual: wine glasses brimming with a nice varietal and a pepperoni, cheese and cracker plate that we deemed Instagram-worthy.

While we waited for Ben and the girls to come on, we were beckoned by the soothing voice and familiar visage of Oprah Winfrey. Appearing on screen exclaiming passionately, yet without context, “This is the joy, for me, I love bread.” I looked over at my Dad then back at the screen unsure at first at what I was seeing, but, paid closer attention. Here’s the spot for you to see yourself.

Oprah appears so authentic, so sincere and so forthright, I felt compelled to mosey over to weightwatchers.com.

Sometimes you just have a feeling about something, a little intuitive nudge that makes you want to look into something further, some call this a hunch, gut-feeling or if you’re Marvel a spidey sense. When you look further, sometimes you find that there was something to your pinch from the universe.

That night, I decided I wanted to write about the ad, it had such pure, relatable emotion.

Leaving no time wasted, after hitting TV with the spot on Monday night, Oprah tweeted on Tuesday “Eat bread. Lose weight. Whaaatttt? #ComeJoinMe” with a link to her “I eat bread everyday” moment.

Apparently, my hunch to write about the ad had something to it, because it’s been reported that response to Oprah’s Tuesday tweet made her $20 million by up-ticking Weight Watchers stock.

So many of us love our bread and we’ve demonized it so severely that when Momma Oprah helps us see the light of moderation we think she might be onto something good. 

“Let me take a Selfie.”


Some people are early adopters of tech gadgets, I’m a late adopter of any software update ever known to man for my phone or computer. I can’t count the number of times I select, “Remind me later.” So, when I got a new phone with iOS 9 and imported my pictures, I was surprised by many photos auto-sorting into a folder called Selfies. I learned that this folder is pre-defined by Apple and there’s no way to delete it. I asked around and many of my friends had a similar experience! Is this a smart way to increase the amount of Selfies people take? Maybe. It’s at least one way to create a database of people’s portraits.

In 2013, “Selfie” was named Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, and has since swelled in popularity, becoming the name of a 13 episode TV show by ABC and a fun song by the Chainsmokers. New gadgets like selfie sticks are available in any fine retailer near you. Some say this is evidence that we live in a culture increasingly interested in ‘me’. But, self-portraits  are some of the most popular types of paintings and have been around since ancient Greek and Egyptian times. Today, most Americans carry a ready-made artist in their pocket that can produce a self-portrait in 1.5 seconds flat. Good thing Apple has now created a way to organize them!

T-Mobile Ups the Stakes in the #NeverSettle Match

t-mobile welcome

While AT&T and Verizon are duking it out for customers, T-Mobile jumps into the fight to give consumers yet another option. Calling itself, the “un-carrier,” the telecommunications company is looking to persuade diehard Verizon fans to switch to their service with this tempting offer: try the T-mobile network risk free BEFORE switching.

The #neversettle trial offer started in the middle of May and will extend until June 27th allowing Verizon customers to port their numbers to the T-Mobile network for 14 days. If trialers like their experience, T-mobile will pay for their early terminations fees sanctioned by Verizon (that’s up to $650.00!). Even, if they decide not to go with T-mobile, T-mobile will pay any Verizon re-activation charges.


The average consumer can be set adrift by any ad campaign that keys into their instinctual needs and desires (read: I need cheap phone service). But, when you throw in benefit-rich, emotionally-driven, value-compatible messaging (read: We’ll take care of you and give you the freedom you desire, we’re the “un-carrier”), even the savviest technophile may start to consider alternative options.

What’s of more interest is T-mobile’s use of the same hashtag that Verizon featured in their commericals: #Neversettle. Hashtags aren’t trademarked or reserved in any way (at least not yet) and they are an easy way to catalogue all of the conversations that are happening and content that’s being created surrounding the topic. What’s more, T-Mobile has turned the #neversettle hashtag on it’s head to include #NeversettleforVerizon.

What’s great about America is that our advertisements are far less regulated that other countries. You’d never get away with directly challenging the competition in other countries’ campaigns.

See the #Neversettleforverzion ad here:

Will you give T-Mobile a try this month? I probably won’t, but, I do applaud them on their savvy campaign execution.

4 Things that Make Every Marketer Give Thanks

This Thanksgiving, we’ve put together a post that highlights 4 things marketers can’t live without and are mighty thankful for.


A brand platform lets you create a voice and an image to share in the public’s mind. A brand is a locus of attention on a specific idea, feeling and promise. Without brands, it would be exceedingly difficult to communicate differentiation to today’s consumers.


You need to sleep sometimes, right? Companies, teams and individuals can gain better reach when they add content scheduling and automation to their interactions. You should still add that personal touch to your communications but you can make a larger impact if you are able to message many people at once.


These tell you how well you are doing. Someone once said “if you aren’t measuring, you aren’t marketing” and it couldn’t be more true! Analytics show you how to improve and where your successes lie.

Curated Content

“The highest form of flattery is imitation,” is a well-known paraphrase from authors Jeremy Collier and André Dacier in the early 19th century. This relevant idea plays itself out in today’s world by giving many variations of a content theme through curation. Because who has the capacity to come up with “original” ideas all the time?

No matter what your profession, what are you most thankful for?