Move over Meetup! Pokémon GO is the rising star of casual networking for professionals.
One of the most interesting takeaways from the popularity of Pokémon GO is that it breaks down barriers between people and encourages them to interact while they play the game. People from all walks of life are playing this game, and it has evolved into an experience more than just catching them all.
Networking as Trainers
This same principle of encouraging casual conversation with similar interests applies to networking events and conventions. Instead of industry talk about the latest digital marketing and SEO tactics, we’re all uniting under one goal as Pokémon Trainers first, and then through real conversation, we naturally shift to chatting about ourselves and our other interests.
I’ve seen this in person as large groups randomly cluster around PokéStops with lures to catch the digital monsters. Professionals from all walks of life and industries are going out to new locations on their phones, checking out the Pokémon pickings, and striking up a conversation with others in the area. It all starts when someone begins a conversation about the game like the teams or what they caught. Then the conversation shifts to “What do you do?” and suddenly, it’s like networking at a Meetup.
Just last night I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in over five years and we reconnected. We compared Pokédex, bonded over picking the best team (Team Valor all the way!), and chatted about what we've been up to and where we are in our careers. The next thing I know, we've involved a few more people into our conversation and I ended up meeting an off-duty police officer, an event planner, and digital marketing consultant. We exchanged business cards for a later follow-up over drinks.
The result of this casual atmosphere Pokémon GO generates is it transforms idle game talk into more meaningful discussions in a natural way – and it’s entirely free! No membership fee required.
Know Your GO
With only a few weeks into release, we can see Pokémon GO has become a hot topic and marketing tool. Local shops, libraries, and bars have become your biggest places to network without spending a dime (besides drinks!).
As the game continues to rise in popularity and people continue to randomly meet up, many local businesses are using the game as part of their marketing strategy to reach back out to their local areas. Some businesses have highlighted the top Pokémon you can find in their location, naming drinks after them, or providing discounts to specific teams or rewarding those trainers who set up lures on the stops nearby.
This marketing process will be improved as sponsored locations are launched. It’s only a matter of time before your local bar with a PokéStop becomes a prime location for your next networking opportunity.
Use this data to expand your networking opportunities, capitalize on it in your marketing, and enjoy catching them all.
Comment below and let me know – who is the most interesting Pokémon Trainer you’ve met?