When I first heard about Pokemon Go, I have to admit I was more than a little sceptical. I remember Pokemon from their first inception back in the 1990s (showing my age!) when technology was a million miles away from where it is now and Pokemon was played on Game Boys with Pokemon cards traded at school break-time and Pokemon toys topping our Christmas lists.
The combination of Pikachu and the sophisticated media-savvy next generation seemed an odd one. And yet, it has absolutely worked.
Pokemon Go, the new augmented reality smartphone game that implores users ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’ as they go about their daily life, has been the surprise phenomenon of Summer 2016, almost instantaneously becoming the most successful Android and iOS game ever.
Admittedly, the fact that the app has been the first to really bring a successful augmented reality interface to a mass audience has been one of the key factors in its astounding success but, in my opinion the more emotive success of the game has come from its ability to create a sense of shared issues and community.
"The emotive success of the game has come from its ability to create a sense of shared issues and community."
The original Pokemon may have been re-imagined and enhanced for the smart phone era but, just like us 90’s kids who traded Pokemon cards in the playground at break-time because that’s what all our classmates were doing, the basic human desire to be part of something that brings people together hasn’t changed.
Social Media Connection
Even for serious gamers, part of the appeal of Pokemon Go has been the social aspect and the desire to connect with others through shared experiences. As soon as the game was launched, people were discussing it on social media on a breath-taking scale.
Between 4th and 10th of July, Pokémon Go mentions escalated from zero to more than 1,250,000 in a single day, and more than 4.5 million mentions in six days. The volume of mentions doubled roughly every two days, and the hashtag #PokémonGo made 5,982,616,734 impressions during that period.
Those figures are incredible and prove the appeal of sharing the same experiences as other people. Shared experiences Essentially, people want to feel part of a community and feel that other people are experiencing the same problems, highs and lows that they are. They want to chat about it and hear somebody else say ‘Me too!’.
Craving Shared Experience
In this case, it was all about finding Pokemon but, as it applies in a business context, the same sense of ‘They’re experiencing what I’m experiencing’ appeals to your consumers. People crave shared experiences and your content can create that.
If you can identify and tap into the likes, hopes, fears and frustrations experienced by the majority of your customers, that same sense of community and shared values can be expressed through your content. Provide content that hits the nail on the head and resonates with a consumer and they’ll share it with their social network.
"We all intrinsically want the social and personal validation of knowing we’re experiencing the same thing as others in our community."
If it resonates with them too, they’ll continue to share it with their own network. The more you can identify and respond to an issue that is a shared experience for a large group of consumers, the more those consumers will perpetuate and extend the reach of that content simply because people yearn for the connection of a shared experience.
Although not strictly applicable in a business context, the example of blog content for parents is a worthwhile example because of the scope of how far the most relevant content is shared among the parenting community. A blog post that succinctly and eloquently expresses a struggle faced by a new mother, for example, is shared again and again, sometimes hundreds of thousands of times, simply because it manages to identify and express a common concern and experience.We all intrinsically want the social and personal validation of knowing we’re experiencing the same thing as others in our community.
Lessons for Your Content
Whether it’s a Pokemon Go fanatic wanting to compare their experience of hunting Pokemon, a new mother wanting to compare their experience of dealing with sleepless nights, or one of your customers wanting to compare their experience of not being able to solve a technical problem, understand a process or share a frustrating part of their daily life, the need for shared experiences is universal.
"If your content can identify, empathise with and maybe even add a resolution to that shared experience, you stand a chance of it being shared with a cry of ‘Yes! This company understands me’,"
If your content can identify, empathise with and maybe even add a resolution to that shared experience, you stand a chance of it being shared with a cry of ‘Yes! This company understands me’, creating a powerful connection between you and whoever the content resonates with.
Will it hit home with all your customers? Probably not. But for those who share the same experience, the emotional connection will be made and perhaps your next piece of well-researched, insightful content might resonate with some more.
Customers aren’t quite the same as Pokemon, but maybe that’s part of the content game.