Pokémon Go has been the gaming success of the summer. Within days of its release, it had been downloaded 50 million times, and soon overtook popular dating app Tinder. According to analysts Techcrunch, in July 2016 it had overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users, and people spent more time on the Pokémon Go app than they did on Facebook.
The huge popularity has somewhat started to wane in the past month; New figures from Axiom Capital Management reveal that daily users and engagement is slowly declining.
Despite this, there’s no denying Pokémon Go’s achievement. Nintendo's stock has surged in price and even became more valuable than Sony at one point.
Source: Axiom Capital Management, reported by Bloomberg
In short, Pokémon Go has still been a runaway success. But one that poses a serious question for manufacturing.
Namely, what can manufacturing businesses learn from that success?
Because—believe it or not—there are lessons for manufacturing businesses in how Pokémon Go was conceived, designed, developed and delivered.
And for proof, look no further than one of the world’s most successful manufacturing businesses: Apple.
Design, design, design
For a start, Pokémon Go’s design is simple and easy to navigate, with no real instruction needed. Such simplicity is a powerful aid to adoption, clearly highlighting—as if we didn’t already know—that innovation doesn’t need to be complicated.
Apple understood this decades ago, of course. Under the impressive Steve Jobs, Apple redefined product category after product category, gaining first mover advantage by creating innovative products that were both stylish and simple.
The iPod, the iPad, the iPhone, the Macintosh computer, Apple’s elegant iOS operating system, iTunes—the list goes on and on.
Design, in short, matters. And the contrast between good design as exemplified by Apple and Pokémon Go, and not-so-good design, is major.
The instant success of Pokémon Go epitomises the importance of branding. Simply put, without the Pokémon name, the game may never have become so successful, certainly not as quickly.
Again, among manufacturing businesses, Apple stands out as a company that understands this brilliantly. How else could it have become so disruptive in so many product categories, so quickly?
Take the iPhone. A computer company becoming a phone company? And not just that, but the manufacturer of the world’s most desirable phone, all within a handful of years? Most manufacturing businesses would kill for such success.
It all boils down to brand, brand, brand. And the lesson is that a manufacturing business’s brand is a huge asset, and one that mustn’t be squandered.
Steve Jobs drove his employees ruthlessly to create disruptive products that would live up to the Apple brand, and he wouldn’t release them until they did. It’s painful, and can delay product launches—but the rewards are undeniably bankable.
Technology as a differentiator
Finally, let’s turn to technology. To many users, the appeal of Pokémon Go is that it uses an innovative blend of augmented reality and GPS, allowing them to roam both the real world and the Pokémon world, simultaneously.
It’s clever, and catching (pun intended). And, in retrospect, obvious.
But as with Apple, it holds a valuable lesson for manufacturing businesses. Namely, that investing in innovative technology is not an option. For manufacturing businesses with any aspirations to survive and prosper, investing in technology is essential.
So at a time when manufacturing is at something of a crossroads, with much talk of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, Pokémon Go — and Apple — should serve as a stark reminder that compelling technologies bring their own reward.
What’s your take on the Pokémon Go phenomenon? Has this blog Pikachu’d your interest?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below: