Like a typical Barcode found on just about any product in the supermarket, a QR Code is a pattern that can be read by machines. The QR Code, developed in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave stands for Quick Response but you may have heard them referred to as tags or ‘tagging’. Unlike typical barcodes, these highly sophisticated QR Codes can store a lot of information in a tiny square, including instructions, words, letters, numbers, and more. A popular use for them is as a supplement to advertising. App’s on almost any smartphone can use the phone’s camera to scan QR Codes and follow instructions hidden within.
In short, you will be able to supply a potential client a quick and convenient way to access additional information that might not normally fit on your printed material or even store it quickly for later use. Capable of storing as much as 7000 numeric characters in a single code, QR Codes have nearly unlimited uses. For example, one might add a QR Code to their advertisement that included some or all of the following:
- Compose an Email
- Display Text
- Send SMS
- Phone Numbers
The uses for QR Codes is endless and the best part is that you can use any one of dozens of online generators to create your own QR Code absolutely free. But, once you have your QR Code, you must consider how to place it in front of your potential clients in a way that catches their attention and causes them to take notice. sodipop studios has the specialized professional skill set to maximize the effect of including QR Codes in your advertisement media. Afterall, it’s all about getting noticed and standing out from the crowd.
Small, free, specialized applications available for any smartphone turns the phone’s built in camera into a magical barcode scanner. For iPhone alone there are over 50 free apps available for download. I personally recommend Optiscan but feel free to try several until you find one you like. If you are using a newer BlackBerry, you likely have a app that was pre-installed when you purchased your phone, but if not, you can download one called QR Code Scanner Pro. The Android App Market also has several offerings, including one that is commonly pre-packaged with your phone simply named Barcode Scanner. Other popoular Android choices include ZXing and QR Droid. Nokia has palced built-in barcode scanners in some of their models and they should be able to read QR codes.
QUICKSTART for QR code scanners: Find an app for your phone. I bolded a few options in the above paragraph.
There are usually two options you can do; One if you have the image of the QR code in your photo gallery, you can load it into your scanner app.
Secondly, you can use your smartphone’s built-in camera. Load the app point the camera at the QR code, and it will capture the QR code usually leading into some sort of action. Options tend to be, save QR code, share QR code, Or go to whatever the QR code is leading. If it’s a URL then it will lead you to the website. If it’s a vcard, it’ll ask if you want to create new contact, or add to existing, if it’s a map coordinates, it will take you to your map app for the location, phone numbers will just ask if you want to phone this number, etc.
The point of the QR codes is to reveal something extra that is found on your print products like a business card could have all your contact information stored in it, you scan it on your phone and it’s in your contacts list, allowing you to share information without having to give up your business card.
Qr codes should be used very strategically instead of just slapping them on all your marketing.
Examples of bad QR use:
On moving vehicle. Distracted driving laws! And how fast to you have to drive to catch up to scan, only works effectively with a stopped vehicle.
No Wifi nearby. Having QR codes where there is no wifi available for your phone will annoy your potential scanners as it can eat up data.
Not optimizing your mobile experience. If you happen to make a QR code, please make the experience something optimized for web. A mobile version of your site, a link to a video. Test it out on multiple devices first.
Examples of good QR code use:
Realtors for sale signage. As a potential house buyer you sometimes drive around looking at for sale signs. but alas it’s not an open house, drive a few blocks away, shoot I forgot that company’s name…QR codes can be amazing in this situation, have it open up a listings page, or even better a 360 video with your contact.
Restaurant menus. When walking on a busy avenue some stores would out out their menu for potential dinners to peruse. Well you could have the code on window signage with the words see what we’re serving today! Have a delicious photo of today’s chefs special.
Window shopping. Have you ever walked by a store window display after hours and wondered how much that beautiful dress is? Now you can have interactive prices for people to scan and even buy online.
Here’s a new way of making your marketing interactive, it requires a little more thought on your end besides generating a QR code image. It still requires an app download but the possibilities are pretty endless. Augmented reality will use a shape, or a photo to scan instead of a black and white square, so you would have to have specific directions to download app and scan.
Here is a great example of IKEA’s catalog utilizing Augmented Reality.
Until there is a universal scanner built into all phones the technology for these things will always be changing. Make sure you first ask yourself, do you really need it, or are you trying to follow a trend. Will your audience take the time to open a new app and scan?
Contact us we have a lot of ideas to help you get noticed!