About ten years ago, every publication, leaflet, poster and product seemed to have a QR code on it. The novelty soon wore off, however, when consumers realised they first had to download an app in order to use it. It wasn’t the QR code’s fault, which had been used since the mid 1990s as a way of tracking automotive products in Japan. It was simply that mobile manufacturers hadn’t yet developed the technology to make them as user-friendly as they should be.
Now the smartphones have finally caught up with the codes, you can use your iPhone or Android camera (as long as it’s Bixby enabled), to read a QR code without downloading an app first.
Simply focus on the code and click, get a notification of the page you want to look at, go to the page. It’s as simple as that. Currently Android 9, 8, and Oreo, and iPhones running iOS11 have this capability, while older phones still do not - worth bearing in mind if your target audience isn’t very tech-savvy.
Looking for a Quick Response?
For all businesses, the advantage is that the download is trackable, for customers, that it’s simple, instant and does away with the need to call a number or find and type in a clunky web address.
QR codes have also progressed and can now be customised with different colours, shapes and symbols to align with your brand, even becoming an ad in themselves. This level of digital watermarking may look nicer, but will need explanation to the consumer, as they will effectively be camouflaged as part of the design. Part of the beauty of an ugly QR code is a consumer instantly knows what to do with it.
They are also extremely adaptable. As well as taking the user to a web page or pre-populated email, they can link to a map, to a social media page to share a link or a text, or even to video content on YouTube.
New, more creative uses are being explored in the gifts market with links to a personalised playlists or messages; for immersive experiences in museums and galleries; even in the funeral sector where, renamed Remembrance Codes, they link to a story about the life and times of the deceased person. Quite the epitaph, "lived for all these years and all I've got to show for it is a damn QR code"... spooky!
We’ve recently tried out this old-but-new technology on some comms for our client Crest Nicholson. Recipients of a direct mail postcard can now use the QR code to open the web page detailing the development they’re interested in. We have also incorporated video content onto hoarding and are planning to imbed local stories into a newsletter via a similar method.
It’ll be interesting to see what new possibilities the future holds in the QR code world. Watch this (small square) space for further developments or speak to the team at Key Property Marketing for an equally Quick Response.