PokémOn Hold Concepts


You were all the rage.  Your business was firmly placed on the cutting edge of your industry. This was greater than trending.  You forged in-roads with a growing target market. Your product was simple to use, easily shared, fostered a sense of community, and best of all – it was fun!

Then something happened.  Technology exploded in unforeseen ways and at break-neck speed. You went from popular to passé in an instant.  You managed to carve out a small niche to keep your business afloat.  But, it has been a decade since you were considered relevant.  You know that you cannot continue like this. Eventually the arms of your business will tire from treading water and the inevitable will happen.  What do you do when faced with the ultimate sink or swim scenario?

Swim, baby. SWIM!

Pokémon Go! has done just that.  I can’t watch the news, listen to the radio, or check out Facebook, without hearing about Pokémon Go! It is EVERYWHERE right now.  They have gone from market dominance to virtual irrelevance and then to international prevalence literally overnight. 

One of the keys to success is their willingness to embrace change – the right way for their organization.  We’re not talking the ‘New Coke’ debacle of 1985 here. Pokémon Go changed the technology delivery system of their product to adapt to what is happening now.  However the ‘essence’ of the product remains unchanged.  It’s still fun, simple to use, easily shared, and fosters community.  Only now, it connects people by embracing today’s technology, encouraging both literal and virtual community.

Making changes to adapt with emerging technology seems like a no-brainer, right?  In our industry of providing advertising and music on-hold, we now provide digital audio programming to our clients instantaneously via the web; rather than the auto reverse cassettes we started with back in the 80’s. (Mixed tape, anyone?)  Adapting with technology is essential to continue as an industry leader. However, technology alone will not ensure on-going success.

As you know from your business, connecting with a customer is essential for long term growth.  CJ Casciotta writes about the shift away from ‘branding’ and toward the concept of ‘belonging.’  Brands are cold, distant, top-down and impersonal. Casciotta sums it up this way, “We don’t need more personal brands. We need more brands to be personal.”  Your on-hold program provides an advertising opportunity to connect with your customers.  It’s a chance to reinforce your brand in a personal way. Treat the moment they are placed on-hold as a chance to speak to your customers one at a time

Many on-hold programs make the mistake of focusing the content on how great their organization is. That top-down approach may stroke your ego but in actuality distances the caller from your brand.  This customer has taken the time to call you.  At this point it is no longer about you.  It is about her.  It’s about him. Create an opportunity for them to belong.  It will change the way you approach the content of your on-hold advertising, but will not change the essence of your business.  After all, that essence is the reason they called you in the first place.

Pokémon Go! has shown us a way to embrace change in a positive way and how it can drive growth.  If you are one of the legion of players in search of a Pikachu – great! 

Just, stay out of the road!!!

Tom McTee, Super Genius

Tom McTee