It’s about a 4 min. read.
At this month’s IIR Omnishopper conference, all anyone could talk about was Pokémon Go. Several research suppliers told me they’d downloaded it and everyone was marveling at its stellar adoption and usage rates. I had my 13 year old son’s account on my mobile device, so I began the conference naively thinking ‘I’ll go out before the sessions start and catch a few Pokemon for him.’ I couldn’t stop, and despite the fact that CMB works with leading gaming companies, and we’ve got more than a few die-hard gamers on staff, I don’t consider myself a gamer.
How had I morphed into Cheffen Yobs from the moment I began to play? The answers are a case study in consumer motivation:
Questions and excitement about Pokémon Go also found their way into the conference sessions. The Mall of America’s Emily Shannon talked about the Mall’s digital strategy. There’s the mundane—assigning every bathroom a different text number so you can text that the bathrooms are dirty, and there’s the delicious—hungry shoppers can ask ‘where can I get a great ice cream?’ and because the Mall of America has 12 ice cream stores, the Mall staff ask further questions about the ice cream preference (via text) and deliver an exceptional experience. Shannon said that the Pokémon Go was definitely delivering the excitement and enthusiasm that are central to the Mall of America’s value proposition, so they were meeting and selecting strategies to increase engagement and delight among mall goers. In the week following the conference, the Mall of America has launched a Trainer Lounge and tips for playing Pokémon Go at the Mall.
The conference was exactly about engaging consumers along the path of discovery through purchase and repurchase to loyalty and advocacy. Each presenter had a different take, and each brought us through their approaches, from full body Virtual Reality to eyeglass technology, cash register data, landscape assessment, qualitative consumer diary, strategy platforms, ideation, and survey trends. Many speakers, including Ron Wetklow of Treasury Wine Estates, to Scott Young of from PRS IN VIVO, and Laura-Lynn Freck, of Red Bull talked about digital engagement driving physical engagement.
In the consumer insights industry, engagement, primary and secondary motivations and unintended consequences are central to our work. In the weeks since the conference, I’ve logged in a few times, but I don’t feel motivated to play. Why? 1) the history of my suburb just isn’t that exciting, 2) there are only a few stops near my house and it’s not that interesting to go to the same spot 10 times 3) thanks to in-group norms—I’m not going to stand outside the library with 10 kids under 18 years old to play a game on my mobile device because they’re ‘not my tribe’. But, combine the game with my frequent traveling and make me learn stuff on my timetable and maybe even talk to people and I’ll play every time. It’s been 10 days since the conference and I see the game everywhere, my bet is on the brands who can “catch” the opportunities that come from these uber-engaging tech-enabled phenomena.