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Back in late 2008 when I started Interstate PR (ROICOM Consulting, LLC) with my then business partner, my wife and I had been married for about 18 months and learned we were expecting our first child. I had to make this company a success, even if just for my family. We did relatively well, and supported the needs of my family and my business partner. He decided that he needed a job with a consistent paycheck. I don't blame him, and we remain friends to this day. The one thing that he and I really worked on with the company was to capitalize on the latest trends and how those trends could be applied to other businesses. At the time, social media and mobile friendly sites were brand new. Now these are must haves for any business to survive. 

Today, the landscape is much more vast than having a Facebook page (back in 2008/2009 pages were just being put together), a Twitter feed, and MySpace. Heck, MySpace isn't even relevant anymore - sorry Justin Timberlake, you tired to bring it back. Now we have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, SnapChat and Google+ just to name a few. Not too mention all of the interactive mobile apps that people are using that are connected to social media. In fact, the latest trend is Pokémon Go. In 1990, when Pokémon came out, I wasn't into video games (still not for the record), and I never watched the mid-to-late 90's cartoon, either. Until a few weeks ago, I didn't even know that Pokémon still existed. Then my 4 year old son was talking about looking at Pokémon cards with his friends at school. I did a little research, and thanks be to Wikipedia learned more than I ever wanted to know about Pokémon. That is until July 6, 2016 - if you're one of the 7.5+ million people who have download Pokémon Go, you'll recognize this date. 

Sure, I had heard of Pokémon Go, but had no clue why I would use it or that it might be able to benefit my clients. I mean, it's an app for adults and kids who are into Pokémon - like downloading PacMan for you and your kids to play on your iPhone/iPad. Then it struck me. I was driving back to the office the other day I took a shortcut that goes right by a public park. It was about lunch time, and as I was driving down the street, I saw a car filled with 4 guys stop their car - in the middle of the road - and 3 of them got out. Two guys were in suits and the other one was in a button up shirt with khaki pants. They were glued to their cell phones. I didn't see what the guy in the car was wearing, but he had his cell in his hand and was yelling directions to the 3 outside the car. I drove by slowly - so I didn't hit them, and to see what the H-E double hockey sticks made them stop their car in the middle of the street. If you know me, you'll know that I am not shy, so I asked one of them what they were doing. "Pokémon Go, man," said the guy with the hipster beard, and skinny pants suit on. "We work off of Main St. (actual name withheld to protect the Pokémon Go'ers) and parks are hotbeds for Pokémon," said the other guy in a suit. The khaki guy said they work in the same building and were on their lunch break and decided to check out the park. 

At first I thought to myself, "Really! Wow, these guys are dorks. Eat your lunch boys and go back to work." But then, I realized that they were on to something. Pokémon Go took them to a local park they had never been to before. Sure, they should have parked their car (eventually they did - upon my suggestion), but these guys were walking (at some points running) around the park to get Pokémon. A park they probably would have never gone to before, and maybe never would have gone to had it not been for Pokémon Go. They were talking to each other (while their faces were glued to their phones), outdoors and burning a few calories at the same time. The people at Niantic are geniuses. They're getting people out of the office, off the couch and out doing things, and businesses can take full advantage of this. 

See, I posted on my Facebook profile a question about what is Pokémon Go. People starting giving me tons of feedback. What it is, where to find Pokémon, etc. Turns out Pokémon are commonly found where people go: malls, schools, parks, movie theaters, stadiums, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, office buildings, etc. A lot of Interstate PR's clients have retail/store front locations. Whether they are a restaurant, retail store, bar or like our newest client have a tasting room - they get people coming to their location. So, I contacted a client and asked if any of their employees are playing Pokémon Go. After some research, sure enough they were, and they mentioned that the location had some Pokémon. Well, we got some pictures of the Pokémon and used their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and mobile app to promote that we have Pokémon here! Within minutes, maybe 5 people were outside of the business looking for Pokémon. We put up a sign (it's a restaurant) that said, "10% off your to go order or 15% off your dine-in order by showing your Pokémon Go app!"

In the past week, that client has seen a YUGE (in your best Trump voice) increase in people ordering takeout, or coming by for lunch, afterwork drinks and dinner all because of this little trend called Pokémon Go! 

Michael and his team helped with my nomination campaign for Canadian Senate, their knowledge of how to use social media in politics is impressive. They are well organized, responsive and made understanding how to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter easy and fun. I could always count on them to be up-to-speed on the latest social media trends, and give me the information I needed in laymen’s terms. I highly recommend their work.” - Scott Tannas, Canadian Senator from Alberta
“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing and working with Michael since 2003. He is Reliable, Innovative and an Out-of-the-box thinker. His knowledge of how to use social media is impressive – he has made me a believer in social media.” - Alan Nakanishi, former California State Assemblymember
“Interstate PR (ROICOM Consulting, LLC) is well organized and had great ideas on how to take things to the next level. I was able to get a hold of them at anytime to discuss my needs and concerns. The gave me the personal attention that many larger firms don’t have the time or resources to give. Their rates were reasonable and the developed a package that fit my needs.” - Mark Packard, Carlsbad City Councilmember
“We hired Interstate PR (ROICOM) to help us establish and initially maintain our social media program and presence. They helped our social media grow, and gave us valuable insight and knowledge making the process easy and very understandable. They helped us established a relationship with the military to develop an outreach program for us to honor our brave troops and their families. Their efforts have helped us reach a new level of success.” - Wally Schlotter, UltraStar Cinemas