Pokemon have been around for a while now, and have celebrated its 20th birthday a few days ago. Happy birthday, Pokemon! Pokemon have more or less been in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s a worldwide phenomenon, spanning animated series, trading card games, and video games. It’s impossible to ignore the cultural importance Pokemon have, and the number of kids growing up with Pokemon can be counted in millions. But, most importantly, we can all agree that Pokemon are pretty awesome, right? I mean, there isn’t a feeling that can match playing early Pokemon games on GameBoy. It’s one of the experiences that sparked my interest in gaming, one that continues to this day.
But what did Pokemon teach me about life, and personal branding? Can a cartoon/game even do that?
The answer is – of course it can, and during this article I will show you just what can we learn about digital branding and social networks from watching and playing Pokemon.
1. Your Followers Are Your Brock and Misty
This is by far my favorite correlation between Pokemon and branding. It’s so true, and yet so brilliant. In the first editions of Pokemon games (Red, Blue and Green) there were more than 150 Pokemon you could catch in the vast region of Kanto. The brilliant twist here is that you can’t have all 150, unless you trade with other people. It’s necessary to interact with other people to acquire all Pokemon, which is similar to branding on social media.
You can’t “win” if you’re alone, and you can’t “win” if you don’t interact with people. You need the power of your desired public – you need for people to help you get where you want to go by following you on social media.
If you don’t interact with people and convince them that you are worthy of their time, you won’t succeed in branding yourself the way you want, same as if you don’t find people to trade with, you can’t have all the Pokemon.
2. Be The Best, Like No One Ever Was
For this one, we’ll go to the animated series. Even though the main hero Ash is a young boy from a small town, that doesn’t stop him from becoming the greatest Pokemon trainer of all time.
Because he had a vision. He did not give up and surrender to Team Rocket, or stop being a trainer after his first loss. No, he KEPT.ON. GOING. What I’m trying to say here is that if a little kid could spend months upon months training Pokemon and trying to be the best, you can too. Unfortunately, you can’t train a real Pokemon, but you can train yourself to be better at social media, for example.
In our guide, we explained how to start your own personal brand, but we know that the process takes a lot of dedication and work to be considered successful. You’re the one that needs to put that work towards your goal and not give up if things aren’t going the way you hoped. There will always be setbacks, but even though Ash woke up late and almost missed the opportunity to have his first Pokemon, he got Pikachu.
That tells us that even when you mess up a little, there’s another opportunity right around the corner, so if you do something foolish and lose some followers, don’t worry, you’ll get more opportunities, just don’t give up.
3. Your Goal Is Your Pokemon League
Pokemon games are known to be enormous time wasters. More often than not I’ve found myself dedicated to the game to such extremes that I managed to neglect my friends, school, and family. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it did give me a skill I cherish a lot these days, and that is, well, focus.
This version of tunnel vision you get when actively pursuing your video game addiction is something very peculiar. It’s a skill you can use for great things, but also one that can utterly ruin you. The good thing is, if you focus enough energy on something, you’ll eventually become extremely proficient in it. That mostly goes for all things, of course. Be it a foreign language, or branding yourself on social media, it’s basically the same.
If you want something to work, you need to work on that something. If you direct all of your attention into finding out the best way for gaining followers on Twitter, you’ll figure a lot of things out, and some of those things will indeed help you brand yourself and make yourself known on social media.
And people say gamers are lazy….
4. Memorable Brand, I Choose You!
The brand here is, well, you. But we’ll get back to you shortly. Right now I’ll ask you a quick question – who’s the most famous Pokemon?
That’s right, it’s Pikachu.
And why? Well, that’s simple. He’s entertaining, loveable, a nice guy, a good friend, and is omnipresent in the entire Pokemon animated series, in addition to being the official Pokemon brand mascot. What you need, is to be Pikachu! You need to make your brand memorable in more ways than one, and you need to be as relatable and as amazing as Pikachu.
Pokemon taught me that if you are dedicated and have character, you will be memorable. The same goes for personal branding. You need to stand out from the crowd, be different, be a little bit weird. Anything that you think that can be described as an advantage you have over others can be used in making you a brand.
It’s not that difficult, but it will require same effort. You’ll definitely be recognizable and have a lot of followers as soon as you realize that. Also, a good brand will keep people coming back for more, so your followers will recommend you as a brand to their friends!
5. Make Your Brand Evolve – Like Pokemon!
Back when I was really into Pokemon, there were around 150 of them. That sure seems like a lot, but a quick Google search will reveal that more than 700 of them exist now. That sure is a lot. And that brings me to my final point: You should never settle for what you’ve reached.
Be it a thousand followers, a revised business plan or something, you should always push for more. There’s always something more to do, and there’s always that one ability you haven’t taught your Gastly or a cave you haven’t visited. Even if you’ve visited them all, there’s probably a 1% chance you’ll encounter some special Pokemon in there. And that’s a reasonable chance for Pokemon fans.
Even if you one day become an internet sensation, and brand yourself the correct way, there’s always more you can accomplish. And even though you will sometimes settle for something, you should always explore the ways to make yourself even better. Self-improvement is the way to go, and improving your own presence on social media without incentive from somebody else will help you succeed.
What other ways do you see that Pokemon can teach us about personal branding?