By Dan Brady, published on 23rd June 2011
Have you come across QR codes? Maybe you recognise the funny-looking square images but aren’t sure what they are? We’ve just created some new business cards which have QR (short for Quick Response) codes incorporated into them.
Essentially they function like a barcode and can contain any data information you like, eg contact info, URLs, discount codes. You’ll need a QR code reader to be able to make use of them; these are most commonly found on smartphones (eg iPhones, Androids, Blackberry) – downloadable as a free app. ‘Red Laser’ is a particularly useful QR reader and one of my favourites.
What are they for?
QR codes are open to many uses, and as with all technology, the key is to make them relevant and useful. In our case, smartphone users can simply scan our business cards and add our contact details straight into their address book. No typing necessary.
Another use might be to share a link on a print poster or flyer that, when scanned by a smartphone, directs the user to a web page promoting an offer. Combining the print and digital worlds opens up significant new marketing potential. Of course, it helps to make sure the target web page is mobile-optimised for the best experience.
You could use QR codes to add links to social sharing sites, events, calendar entries, wifi passwords … and anything else you can think of!
The key is to make it worthwhile, interesting and useful. And like any technology, its power relies on creativity of application.
Any colour so long as it’s black … nearly
Your QR code can be any colour you like, but having experimented with quite a few different options we found that black works best as you need a high contrast. In practice, black simply scans much more easily and quickly.
Create your own
If you want to create a QR code, software is readily available on the internet. You put in the details you want it to show – for example a Vcard (contact details) – and it automatically generates the QR code for you to use. Take a look at http://www.qrstuff.com/ where you can create your own.
Everything is done at such a fast pace these days, and QR codes tap into this need for ‘instant gratification’. And as smartphone usage and the ‘mobile web’ continues to rise, the marketing potential is huge.
Look out for them in magazine adverts, on billboards, web pages, flyers, invitations, events – even on clothing.
What use could you make of QR codes?