QR Codes: New Ideas for 2012

StartUp FASHION QR CodeI was intrigued by an article I saw on Mashable called “10 Creative Ways for Marketers to Use QR Codes”.  Mashable says that even though QR codes have been around since the ‘90s and that in the past 3 months, 20.1 million users scanned these codes, it’s still not a large number. The article also says that analysts do think that usage will still grow, especially with more smartphone users in the market.

We’ve written about QR codes before as they have proven to be valuable for young designers, despite the great debate on whether people use them and their effectiveness. Frankly, I think this debate will go on for quite some time, but in the end, there are those that do and those that don’t. I also believe that if you put information out there in a strategic way, you will get a return from those that do and QR codes is just one more medium.

As far as accessibility, for the most part, generating QR codes can be done quickly, are easy to produce and usually free unless you want to do something a bit more fancy.

Here are a couple of ideas from other brands and observations of the past few months:

Lookbooks and linesheets – During the past few tradeshows, I’ve seen more and more designers using QR codes as a way to distribute their lookbook and linesheets to buyers and press. They’ve put the code in a frame detailing what’s on the code with a call to action like “scan for my lookbook” as one more option for the buyer. (Let’s face it, it’s good to give buyers options on how they can receive their materials—especially since their bags can get heavy). You can also do the same thing with your business card.

Direct mail – If you send out direct mail like a flyer reminding buyers that you’ll be at a tradeshow, information about an upcoming sale or news about your collection, you can intrigue your customer with teaser copy about what’s on the code. Remember to make it something good so it’s worth their while to scan it!

At retail locations – For business owners that signed up and were approved for Google Places, their platform provides information about that business, Google sent out QR code decals to a limited number of registrations to be placed on their storefront. It looks like they are gearing up for their next decal shipment, so if you sign up, you may just be able to snag one. Or, if you can’t wait, there are several decal services that can  create one for your business, along with Twitter and Facebook ones as well.

On Packaging – I’m sure we all realize the importance of packaging and how opening an item is just as important as the product. Whether it’s on a hang tag; which we discussed before, on a box, or a bag, there are creative ways to add in your communications to enhance the brand experience. For example, Mashable mentioned that for the holidays, JC Penny had a promotion where customers could record a voice message to their gift recipient. The QR code was placed on the gift with that customized message. It may be a bit more work on your end, but offering a QR code on a gift, would make a really wonderful experience for the brand and the gift giver.

chocolate qr codeNovelty items: There are of course, some items that drum up some talk value and add excitement to an event or experience. For Fashion Week, Tiffany’s gave out Tiffany colored cookies with a QR code on it that proved to be a hit. There are also places like QR Chocolates where you can make your own codes on sweets.

It seems like the possibilities are endless and their a some pretty neat ideas in the market. Be sure to make sure they fit in with your marketing goals and strategy, but also have fun and get creative.


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