Pokemon Go: The Real Business Lesson

Posted by
Kevin Oakley
Date
 July 14, 2016

Pokemon Go is essentially a remake of a game that has been around since 2012 adding a bit of nostalgia and easily recognized intellectual property. Making that connection of a marginally popular “old” app (named Ingress) and the opportunity that could be created it by combining it with Pokemon is so far worth well over $8 billion dollars according to the stock market and has famously gotten couch potato kids to head outside again.

There are lots of ways to create “value” in the world. That’s the lesson. I’ll leave it to other writers to argue whether this app in particular creates lasting value or not.

You can create something completely new – be a pioneer – and see how the world accepts it. Being a pioneer is exciting, but pioneers are also “the ones that get shot in the back.” The world needs pioneers. Not every kind of company does. A pioneer says “WOW – let’s make our OWN version of Pokemon Go for real estate!”

You can also make new connections between existing products, processes, or technologies. It may not carry the same thrill or risk of being a pioneer, but Pokemon Go has shown that you can still have tremendous upside as a connector. Connecting is more efficient and usually less risky than being a pioneer. A connector says “how can I insert my builder into Pokemon Go to attract some attention?”

There is a third approach (which many of you will stick up your noses at, and I’m ok with that too) – as a practitioner. Seeing the untapped possibility of what you already have right in front of you. Making sure you have a process in place to get 30+ HD photos of every home, 4K drone video of every community, words that describe your product in such detail that your customers are able to feel what it is like without yet having visited. To keep going deeper into the product than any of my competitors (giant listing companies included) ever could. To make sure every customer is treated throughout the process like they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with you. A practitioner says “I’ll keep my eye on Pokemon Go, but until I truly understand how it works and how it may (or may not) legitimately extend my brand promise to build amazing homes in spectacular communities with exceptional customer service I can’t justify it distracting me from my mission today.”

All three approached take time, energy, and money. Yet we often romanticize the pioneer, and respect the connector. It is a mistake to dismiss the practitioner. Remember the tortoise and the hair?

A few questions to ask yourself or your team:
Are you a new home marketing pioneer, connector, or practitioner? Be honest.

Does who you are fit with your builder’s culture and approach to the business? If not, everyone is going to be frustrated.

Why do you take that approach – to satisfy your personal interests, or to create value for your customers by delighting them? Check to see if the depth of content you currently offer matches your customer’s expectations.