If you've crashed into someone while walking down the street recently, it's likely that one — or both — of you were playing Pokémon GO, the game that has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

Believe it or not, even the most staid financial services companies could learn something from this virtual reality sensation. The lesson goes well beyond plastering a bank, insurance company or investment firm's logo on some aspect of a virtual game.

Instead, it involves paying attention to how Pokémon GO seamlessly blends the real and imagined worlds together into something richer and better than either of them. That blend of the real and imagined could be leveraged to drive financial product and service sales.

The concept is not as “out there” as it may seem.

Retirement: One of the biggest reasons cited for people not saving for retirement is because they can't imagine themselves living in retirement. It's a goal that's too far away for most people to comprehend. Imagine the power behind being the first retirement planning company that helps people realistically see themselves in retirement using virtual reality. Instead of chasing monsters, they chase their retirement dreams. Think about how this could motivate people to save for a goal that could be thirty years or more away.

College and financial planning: Imagine high school students and their parents being able to play a virtual reality game that lets them see themselves in different careers and lifestyle scenarios. Now picture being able to show them how your firm could help them save for college and plan for those life options. Take it to the next level and think about what it could be like if players were able to connect with a representative from your firm right through the game. Would that drive business?

Insurance: People often don't buy insurance — or enough of it — because they can't imagine the unexpected actually happening to them. What if your insurance company was the first to develop a virtual reality game that reveals to consumers the “monsters” in their own homes, automobiles and lives? Virtually showing them what could be lurking in their own real world would be a good way to get them to protect the actual things they value.

If Pokémon GO has taught us anything, it's that the merging of the real and imagined worlds is closer than we thought. It's time for financial services companies to leverage this technology to paint a picture of the future for their clients. It could be the best way to get them to take action to address financial realities.

Looking for help engaging consumers with cutting-edge marketing strategies and campaigns? Contact Carpenter Group to find out how we can work with you to inspire consumers to take financial action by getting them to imagine the future.