Look to Pokémon Go for your next wellness campaign

Gonchar-JessicaBy now, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go, the augmented reality craze that is sweeping the nation, one Pokémaster at a time. For those who have managed to avoid the app that has been downloaded more than 100 million times, Pokémon Go is a free mobile game that uses location-based technology, enabling players to capture, train, and battle Pokémon creatures overlaid on what you see in front of you. It’s fun, addicting, and everyone is playing it.

It’s also no secret that Pokémon Go encourages physical activity. You can’t expect to catch a rare Blastoise by staying inside all day. Players easily get swept up in the hunt for Pokémon, and before they even realize it, they have walked miles. But there are other ways Pokémon Go can help benefits professionals to effectively communicate aspects of health and wellness. Here are five elements of Pokémon Go that make it successful and ways benefits professionals can incorporate them into their wellness programs.

1. Community
The Pokémon Go community is so enormous because anyone with a mobile phone can play free. Often, players will gather in groups to scour a city for Pokémon or hang out together at Pokéstops, engaging in conversation with people they wouldn’t normally talk to.

Team wellness challenges create a sense of community and foster increased productivity and teamwork. Emphasizing a shared goal, such as walking a collective number of steps in a summer, can lead to a more connected and healthy workforce.

2. Customization
Pokémon Go allows users to fully customize the appearance of their avatars, from hair and eye color down to backpack style. This customization allows players to express themselves and encourages a personalized connection between themselves and their virtual reality selves.

Customization is critical for active participation in any employee wellness program. Employees are much more receptive to a program that is tailored to their needs and interests than to a generic wellness package.

3. Technology
Part of the appeal of Pokémon Go is its use of relatively new technology. By integrating both the smartphone and augmented reality, Pokémon Go has attracted a lot of media attention and keeps people interested.

Keeping up with technology trends can make your wellness communications relevant and powerful. Try highlighting the cool tools available through healthcare and wellness apps.

4. Nostalgia
Many of the people playing Pokémon Go are Millennials who remember the original Pokémon cards and cartoons. Incorporating the old game into a new platform allows players to indulge in their childhoods while staying relevant in modern culture.

Incorporating targeted messages for different generations can resonate deeply with employees. For example, a campaign to encourage more daily movement could rely on memories of hula hoops for Baby Boomers and Wii Fits for Millennials.

5. Fun
Let’s face it: Pokémon Go is so popular because it’s fun. Players never know what Pokémon they’ll stumble upon, they get to watch their collection of Pokémon grow, and it makes otherwise boring activities fun.

The key to getting employees interested in a wellness program is making healthy activities fun. For example, you could host a lunch break cooking class where employees learn how to cook a healthy meal and then enjoy it together afterwards.

Pokémon Go can be a great model for health and wellness campaigns, so next time you need some inspiration, try one or two of these out… or maybe even catch ‘em all.