I don’t know if you have noticed, but what is up with this this new game called Pokemon Go? One evening my family and I were driving through Lebanon, past the county court house square. Normally during this time of day the stores put the closed signs out, they roll up the streets and activity is at a minimum. On this particular evening, not so much. What was going on? The town square was hopping. As we watched them, we began to notice that they were all glued to their smartphones. Suddenly it occurred to my wife that they were playing Pokemon.
I must admit, I am not a gamer. It has been a few decades since I ruled Super Mario and Duck Hunt. I have always had other things I would rather spend my time on. Or maybe I was just bored because we only had one game. I don’t even have a clue what the storyline is on Pokemon, but even with my lack of knowledge on the game, I am intrigued by some of the dynamics of this craze.
The first thing I find interesting is that people are looking with a purpose while walking the same streets they have walked many times before. They are walking into businesses and building in search of Pokemon that they would have never stepped foot in before. This game has brought them off of the couch or their desk chair, away from their computers or game systems and into the public. They were once restrained to their homes but are now in the community, interacting with the community.
The other interesting thing that I see is that those who aren’t aware of what is going on or don’t care for this new movement are somewhat annoyed by the sudden activity in their communities. Others have used this to bring people into their places of business and have brought awareness to their services. A local dentist in town is advertising on social media that there is a Pokemon in his office, come capture it and get a bottle of water. I would guess that this dentist will attract several new clients with this free marketing ploy to get new people into his office.
The last point of interest, and time will tell on what will become of it, is how this change in gaming could affect the future on many fronts. There will be a change in gaming just compared the sit-down systems currently on the market, but it will also change the interactive and virtual reality that we know today. What affect will this have on social media, on marketing of products and services, and on life as we know it is? What I do know, is it will change something.
I was talking with a landowner from Oregon this week who had some concerns with their current tenant situation and the gap between long and short term goals. This is not an uncommon conversation I have had with landowners as of late. What I see is very similar to this silly game, but yet very different and very real. Landowners are looking with a purpose like never before and are walking down a street they never knew existed. They are unaware that there are farmers out there who are using practices that they find valuable. And when they uncover this, they are excited about this new-found possibility. They are willing to interact with someone even though they don’t have any idea who they are and are willing to do business differently just because they value the land and encourage its productivity. Why? Because this new landowner thinks about things differently. They know the game is changing. And who is willing to change with them? Will that be you? Will Bird Dog just change the way farmers and landowners do business, or will this new idea of expansion marketing ripple beyond just that? If you could ask the farmers and landowners we are working with, my answer is yes. They are the change makers.