Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Those Funky Looking Ink Blots

Do you know what a QR code is? It is a barcode designed to be read by smartphones that take people to a specific place online. Try scanning this one and see where it takes you:

Nick Jerome has more:

QR Codes: Thinking outside the square

(posted on

QR codes are quickly becoming a part of any integrated marketing campaign. We all know they’re great for offering coupons and additional product information, but the possibilities for using them are really endless. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small non-profit, creative use of QR codes can help people engage with your brand. Here are some examples of “outside the square” thinking:

San Francisco was the site of a pilot program between CitySearch and Antenna Audio. QR codes were posted on the city’s historical landmarks and restaurants. When scanned, they produced information about the site or reviews on the restaurant.

Eventbrite is starting to use QR codes at registration desks. Event attendees register online and receive a QR code on the confirmation. Event coordinators can scan the codes at the registration table and gather attendee information quickly and accurately.

Starbucks made QR codes a successful ecommerce solution. Starbucks Card Mobile Application allows customers load an account with money, and the pull up their account’s QR code at the register for convenient payment.

The Smithsonian used QR codes to increase engagement with their Neanderthal exhibit. When visitors scan the code they are sent to a website where they can take a picture of a friend with their phone, and the program shows what they would have looked like 30,000 to 50,000 years ago as a Neanderthal.

These are just a few examples of the creative ways QR codes can be used. The bottom line is that a QR code should always provide added value for the user. That value can be a discount, information, convenience or just plain fun, but it represents an opportunity to engage with people in a new way.

About the Author

Nick Jerome is a marketing services manager at FASTSIGNS®, a visual communications services provider with more than 550 locations around the world.

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