How Nintendo mastered Customer Experience through Pokemon GO


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Nintendo – A name which literally means ‘Leave luck to the heavens’. The world’s biggest video game company who finally took luck into their own hands with one masterstroke. At a time when they were looked upon as an archaic dinosaur, Nintendo flipped the script by coming up with a radical new offering that has made kids & adults alike squealing ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’. As a business, there’s a lot you can take from the apparent success of Pokemon Go. Here’s just a few:

1. Always be open to re-strategizing

Years ago, Nintendo made a potentially fatal decision to not develop mobile games. Their console strategy never panned out and their stock graph reflected their fortunes. Then came the move to re-strategize and the rest as they say is pop-culture history.

Any brand must have the courage to see when something is not working out and take remedial steps, even if it means a quantum change in the way you do business. Becoming too comfortable with inertia will lead to your brand being stuck in a time warp. After all, even Pokemon had to ‘evolve’ to keep winning battles.

2. Never underestimate the power of the mob

One of the biggest factors towards the success of Pokemon Go has been the domino effect it has triggered. Every person who has downloaded the app, has become an evangelist for it. You can now find congregations of people in the unlikeliest of places helping each other catch that rare Pokemon. At the same time, by offering the choice of 3 teams one can belong to, Nintendo has also created little breakout factions promoting healthy competition.

Brands can never underestimate the power of the positive word of mouth. When your customers form cliques around your brand, they will defend you to the hilt. Take the story of Krispy Kreme, who doubled their sales while spending less then 1% of their total revenue on marketing. Delighted customers are your best brand ambassadors.

3. Offer an escape from reality

A failed military coup in Turkey, Britain tottering on the brink of economic collapse, the looming threat of environmental deterioration have all left us with a fairly bleak outlook.

Given an otherwise precarious situation where the people of the world are hanging by a thread with the cloud of fear hovering over their heads, Pokemon offers a getaway into a world that centres around your geography but with a plot that is exciting and rewarding. It is a trip into a fantasy land which can be created right where you are! This is the key to their success – this escape from the fear and gloom. Transport your customer to an alternate reality and he will gladly share his lure module with you!

Your Brand is a potential escape from the day to day stress of your customers’ lives. Make sure you recognize the power that is inherently with you and give them a certain kind of solace that they can find only at your Brand.

4. Never reinvent the wheel

Pokemon is not a new concept. A staple among the kids of the 90s, it is like the sight of an old friend, a security blanket for many of us. Nintendo never tried to change anything. They retained the core ingredients and simply cooked up a recipe with a new flavour.

Customers love familiarity. Most customers want to walk in to a store and see the brand promise delivered. However, a brand must also add certain new, fresh touches that enhance customer experience without taking away from the core brand promise.

5. Recognize the power of nostalgia

Nurturing nostalgia is one of the best ways to make an emotional impact on your customers. Several brands have proven the efficacy of this trick. Pokemon Go is nothing but a contemporary rendition of a memory that most people are attached to, if not addicted to. It’s like reliving a past joy, only that this time it is a hundred times more engaging. It’s a classic emotional connect strategy that has paid off immensely.

People selling ‘pre-played’ phones on Craigslist, people offering to walk your phone, businesses finding ingenious ways to capitalize on being pokestops, Pokemon Go has spawned its own cottage industry. Pokemon Go has truly redefined the word ‘Overnight Success’. And your brand can easily emulate that success, simply by following their blueprint.



And here are some tweets that caught out attention! (Pokemon Go taking even social media by storm)




Now, it’s time you start delivering happiness to your customers, and.. don’t forget to catch that elusive MewTwo!

Ganesh Mukundan
I'm a content marketer at Hiver. I've been writing about customer experience for the past 5 years. I'm passionate about narrating delightful customer stories, researching CX trends, and deep-diving into concepts such as VoC and Customer Journey Mapping.


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