Pokemon developed Go to engage the brand’s fans in a way that approached addiction.

How This Offline Brand That Started in 1996 Reached 500 Million Downloads in the Smartphone Era

In a world flooded by brands, it can be hard for many to become noticed let alone to be considered “addictive.” That status does not come by chance or luck. Becoming that desirable in the consumers’ eyes happens only when a brand lays a solid foundation beneath its ecosystem. This sturdy foundation is created when a brand builds powerful connections among the triggers — hints, cues, rewards — that provoke people’s curiosity and incite them to take the time to explore the brand.

From Pokémon to Go.

Undoubtedly you have heard of the brand Pokémon, perhaps through its digital game, Pokémon Go, which launched in July of 2016. With more than 500 million downloads globally in less than six months, it became all the rage. Success came from the marriage of augmented reality technology — making the game more accessible, engaging and rewarding — to a brand that was already loved by the masses. Pokémon Go complemented the brand’s existing offerings, including a trading card game, an animated TV series, and a film franchise.

In 2015, Niantic Labs announced that it was developing an augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, in partnership with The Pokémon Company and its parent, Nintendo, for both iOS and Android devices. Nintendo and The Pokémon Company sought out Niantic specifically because of its demonstrated ability to merge augmented reality and technology within its existing game, Ingress, which launched on Android platforms in 2012. The success of Ingress confirmed Niantic’s capabilities of creating the game that Nintendo and The Pokémon Company had in mind.

By pairing up with the right partner (through a licensing arrangement), the owners of Pokémon were able to capitalize on a new type of technology, supercharging the Pokémon game. It was this combination of Pokémon with augmented reality that created a perfect storm, giving fans more of what they already wanted, whenever they wanted it, for as long as they wanted it. The licensing agreement between these three companies created a perfect recipe for Pokémon Go, one that strengthened the Pokémon brand ecosystem.

Everything starts with the consumer.

Regardless of what program or brand is being considered,…