A side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that small businesses are suffering from forced closures and social distancing, but game developer Niantic has a solution.
In addition to donating proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest ticket sales (at least $5 million) to fund projects from African-American game developers and AR creators and to support US non-profits in community rebuilding efforts, developer Niantic has come up with a way to use its game to help promote small businesses.
Here's how you can support your favorite local shop through Pokémon GO.
Starting on June 15, you can visit Niantic's website to nominate a local business of your choice. The deadline for submissions is July 31 at 11:59 pm Pacific time.
Hit the "Nominate Now" button to begin, then tap the "Sign In" button to login with the credentials that you use to play the game.
Once you're logged in, fill out the form for the business you want to nominate. Eligible businesses must be local and small, with five or fewer physical locations. The promotion is open to businesses in the US, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain.
You can be either the owner, an employee, or a customer of the business. If you're a customer, you may need to do some additional research, as the nomination form calls for information such as the owner and the marketing lead and whether the business participates in giving back to the community. Once you've filled out all of the required fields, accept the terms and conditions then hit submit, and you're done.
According to Niantic, the top 1,000 nominees will get complimentary access to the Sponsored Locations service in Pokémon GO for a year with no charge. A standard subscription to Sponsored Locations runs $1 per day billed at $30 per month, while a premium subscription, which enables businesses to serve as a Pokéstop or Gym, costs $2 per day billed at $60 per month. The timing of when the benefits will start will be determined, dependent on the relaxing of social distancing measures.
It's unclear at the time of this writing how the top 1,000 will be selected. Nonetheless, with the limited recipients and the quota of one nominee per player, you'll probably need to do some grassroots organizing to ask for others to also nominate your chosen enterprise and push it into the top percentile. Jump on social media and promote!
According to Niantic, businesses selected to participate in the program will be able to activate their own in-game events, such as raids at happy hour, distribute special offers, and access related marketing data.
For your business to benefit from this program, playing the game will help. So, install the game and get to it!
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