Marketing Strategy

Five compelling uses of QR codes.
Why you should consider using them to help you promote your business.

My first blog post about QR codes was so popular I’ve decided to do a follow-up about these intriguing little ‘bar codes’. Here I’ll talk about the best use I’ve seen of this technology and how you may wish to use them as part of your marketing strategy to help extend your brand beyond static advertising.

If you’ve come here from a link without knowing what QR codes are, check out this post, have a read and come back when you’re done.

Also a little caveat before I begin:

Social Media is the hot thing of the moment. People either love it or they’re confused about it. Many of the people I see who love it, are tending to dive in head first, believing it to be the magic tonic to their advertising and branding needs.

They’re looking at the Coca Colas, Starbucks and IBM’s of this world, believing they can replicate what they’ve done in a few short steps. Putting social media before brand strategy is like putting the cart before the horse. Good luck to them because (cue scary music) it will likely lead to a long and frustrating ride, full of disillusionment.

So let us begin:

Smartphone campaign that brings “boring” museum to life

Situation: Many young people find it boring to go to the museum and are not always engaged when they do go.

Question: How do you engage with a younger generation of people who are often over-stimulated because of their exposure to digital technology?

Solution: QR codes and Augmented Reality.

By utilising QR codes and Augmented Reality a museum in Poland brought their paintings to life, showing stories of love, war, crime, madness and mystery.

An app was created so when users scanned the QR code the painting came to life on their smartphones as they were able to read stories of the origins of the paintings.

Results: Tickets to the museum were sold out for four months to 20% of Krakow’s population.

Kuapay aim to replace credit cards with smartphone QR codes

Situation: Card payments are old hat and users often have many different providers.

Question: How do you speed up payments and make purchase history and loyalty points easier to track?

Solution: Create an app with a personalized QR code which is scanned by the cashier.

According to Digital Media Wire the number of smartphone users is expected to reach over 2 billion people by 2015.

So to get ahead of the curve Kuapay developed an app that speeds up the transaction at point of purchase while also aggregating purchase history, logging discounts and tracking loyalty points.

But “hold on”, I hear you saying, “won’t retailers have to upgrade their EFTPOS terminals and the like?” Apparently not.

All retailers need to do is upgrade their software so they can recognize QR codes and accept Kuapay payments.

So next time you’re rifling through your wallet spilling cards across the counter, think Kuapay.

Korea’s Tesco reinvents grocery shopping with QR code “stores”

Situation: Koreans, according to Tesco, are the second hardest working people in the world. Tesco didn’t want to increase its number of stores but they wanted to sell more.

Question: How does Tesco become the number one grocery chain without increasing store numbers?

Solution: Create virtual stores in subways where people can scan the ‘shelves’ and purchase their items using QR codes while waiting for their train.

Once the shopper has completed their shopping, they pay with their Smartphone and the goods are delivered to their home.

The only ‘bugger’ moment with this technology is that the user can’t view nutritional information or compare items. Tesco have been smart enough to come up with QR code shopping so it shouldn’t take them long to address this gap and make the shopping experience even better.

Musician knows how to get your attention

Situation: Static posters don’t grab people’s attention anymore.

Question: How can an unknown musician overcome a person’s reluctance to buy a ticket to a gig?

Solution: Embed a QR code with a link to a performance.

I see numerous music posters throughout Auckland. They’re everywhere, plastered side-by-side fighting each other for attention and most times I’ll walk right on by without so much as a second thought.

So what’s stopping me from going to a gig? Uncertainty.

90% of the time if I don’t know the music, the rational part of brain kicks in telling me to spend my hard earned money on something that has given me value before. Sensible right?

Now think about this. Wouldn’t the barrier to entry reduce dramatically if the poster featured a QR code that when scanned took us to a Youtube clip where I could watch 30 seconds of the music this artist plays? If I liked the music it’s reasonable to assume that this brief engagement will have increased my likelihood of buying a ticket, or at the very least recommending it to my friends.

The power a dynamic poster has over a static one is huge.

Automatically save a person's details

Situation: We’ve recently rebranded, which represented an opportunity to try something different on our business cards.

Question: How can we stand out in the crowd, test new technology while making the functional act of exchanging details more efficient?

Solution: Include a personalised QR code on the back of each person’s business card.

We’d been investigating QR codes and other technologies for a while and thought it would be a great opportunity to trial them ourselves.

We were aware that many QR codes look horrible so tweaked the look, while maintaining the integrity of the code, so it could be read.

The QR codes were tested on numerous readers, in our opinion i-nigma was the most reliable – download it here for free. While our idea wasn’t as sexy as those above, that wasn’t our objective. We wanted to use the technology to make the process of capturing our contact details dead easy for as many people as possible.

So now when we meet people, they scan our cards where our details, e.g. name, phone, email, website and a brief description, are automatically uploaded onto their smartphone.

No mucking about misspelling the persons name or keying in an incorrect number. Plus when you hand over your card it’s always a talking point – and who doesn’t want to be more memorable?

More and more of our clients have asked us to investigate this technology as part of their wider brand strategy so stay tuned for further updates.