3 Ways to Protect Your Business from Pokémon Go

Deborah Sweeney

Contributor at Fundera
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

It’s no secret that Pokémon Go is taking the world by storm—the popular app is breaking records and creating fortunes in the stock market. With all the excitement, it seems that all anyone is talking about is this great phenomenon…

And how businesses can take advantage of it.

However, it’s important to remember to protect your business during this crazy time. With all the enthusiasm, it’s easy to make some mistakes that will leave money on the table and create some unwanted issues.

Here are 3 important things to keep in mind during the Pokémon Go madness:

1. Protect Your Intellectual Property

During a phenomenon like Pokémon Go, the best business owners will have creatively connected their brand with the current craze. While people are busy taking part in the new game, these imaginative efforts usually get people to discover and focus on your brand.

For this reason, new consumers might’ve been introduced to your products in a fog… They could be confused on exactly what you own, what was a part of the trend, and all the things in between. This confusion might lead to some unwanted presentation or attention for your intellectual property.

Another real issue could be the threat of your property being stolen. Last year, we discussed 3 types of protection available for your intellectual property. When taking a part in any new phenomenon, it’s important to make sure all your assets are secure in the long run. The last thing you want at the end of your successful marketing campaign is to see someone else grab a hold of your trademark and start using it as their own.

One good example of all this is Pokémon Go’s Augmented Reality function.

When the AR function is on in the game, the mobile phone’s camera is used to show the Pokémon existing in the real world. This function has made it popular to take pictures of the environment mixed in with Pokémon and post them on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Now imagine that in one of those pictures, a customer had your unregistered trademark all dressed up in Pokémon attire for your fantastic marketing campaign. One of the customer’s friends has just opened their own business, saw your mark, and decided to take it.  They might believe it’s a generic Pokémon character, and so by getting rid of all the Pokémon connections, they can use it as their own. ]

Next thing you know, you’re battling it out in court trying to prevent the other business owner from using your own mark against you.

With the prevalence of social media and the quick spread of information during a craze, this can be more likely than you think. By protecting your assets early on, you can avoid the headache of waking up to some unwanted and unwarranted competition.

2. Keep Productivity Up

Odds are your employees—and you—are also buying into the phenomenon. After all, it wouldn’t be a craze if it wasn’t fun to do!

However, this could lead to some serious productivity down time. An easy solution to this problem is to ban the game during work time. Though this might solve the problem in the short run, it could cause issues in the long one.

Employees caught violating the rules might feel nervous about their recent transgression and make questionable decisions. They may feel that they’re not allowed their break, even though you never gave them any inclination that this was true. Employees not taking their breaks are a large employment no-no. Instead of trying to control the situation in ways that could have bad legal implications, embracing the fad in smart ways can lead your staff to increase their productivity and keep your business on the right side of the law.

Pokémon Go can be a great bonding experience for your team. To create a fun and productive working environment for your business, it’s best to encourage some fun in the work space. Limit the app use to break time—but make a fun team building exercise out of it. Take your employees to a coffee shop and try to catch Pokémon along the way. This will keep your employees happy and engaged while also being a fun way to make sure they’re taking their breaks.

3. Make Sure Your Marketing Matters

Marketing with a phenomenon is a tricky setup. Ultimately, your marketing campaign will depend on another factor that’s independent of your business.

Because of this, there’s nothing legally keeping others from taking advantage of the same craze in the same way. Even if the marketing you perform has a significant financial investment, odds are good that you’ll only have very limited rights to keep others from employing similar strategies. It’s important to remember that significant financial investments alone don’t create the rights your business would like.

That’s why you should invest and market your business wisely. During a craze like Pokémon Go, you want to get the best bang for your buck. Otherwise, your limited rights might not give you the benefits that other types of marketing may have given you.

A lot of small businesses have been using Pokémon Go’s PokéStops to get larger foot traffic by their door using the “Lure” function. Though it’s nice to create large amounts of foot traffic near your business, if you’re the one dropping the lures, make a username that identifies your company. This way, your business gets identified as the neighborhood backer and the sizable amount of players in the area will remember your name the next time they walk down the street.

With smart product placement, you may be able to at least double your benefit return with minimal effort.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Deborah Sweeney

Contributor at Fundera
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

2 Comments

Most Recent

  • Georgia McIntyre

    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    Never thought of that 3rd point!

  • meredithfundera

    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    Never thought of Pokemon Go's downsides!

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