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The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) industries will grow to $150 billion in revenue by 2020, according to recent studies.

If the recent craze surrounding some certain Japanese cartoon characters is any indication, the convergence of VR, AR, and games is resonating with people—30 million people, in fact. (And that's only a few weeks after Pokémon Go's initial launch, and prior to its much-awaited availability in Japan and several other countries.)

What can we learn from this phenomenon?

In the rewards and incentives space, we rely on the latest technology to make essential connections with reward recipients. To stay relevant and create that "a-ha" moment, we need to exceed savvy target audiences' expectations at every stage of the reward process. Technology innovations (such as a seamless delivery-to-redemption process on a mobile device or API technology to run a program smoothly from start to finish on the back end) play an important role.

In taking a closer look at the newest crazes (which are becoming notable trends), we can apply some lessons to our industry.

People like the chase

Hunting for a colorful little guy with big eyes and super powers? Millions of people are doing it.

My theory about this obsession is that people like the feeling of hunting for something—the thrill of the chase. "To get the best outcomes or products, people usually have to expend effort," states a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "This relationship between effort and value is so closely associated in a consumer's mind that wanting the best outcomes automatically results in increased preference for any outcome associated with effort, even pointless effort."

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image of Jonathan Price

Jonathan Price is CEO of Virtual Incentives, a provider of Visa and MasterCard virtual accounts and Physical Visa and MasterCard Reward Cards serving the incentives market.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Marc Price