After recently posting the completed Scout Cleaning business card project including the use of a QR Code, I’ve gotten quite a few questions… like what the heck is a QR Code?
Surely you’ve noticed a little fuzzy square image like the one to the left, they’re popping up everywhere from magazine ads, sales flyers, even on the sides of buildings! These are Quick Response (QR) Codes, 2 dimensional bar codes that originated in the Japanese automobile industry to scan parts. Their use has slowly spread into Europe and now North America.
So, what are they for? These 2D bar codes provide a direct mobile link to whatever content you are promoting; you scan them with your phone in the appropriate application and it opens the content embedded into the code. For example, the Scout business cards included a QR Code on the back side with a link to the company website- this QR Code could also link to the contact information of the card holder, this way the recipient could scan the card with their phone and save the contact info directly. Should they lose the card, they will still have your contact information. I recently used this application when developing my Infographic Curriculum Vitae, in the hopes that anyone looking to hire me or connect with me can scan the code and save me to their phone, after all it is good business practice to make it as EASY as possible for others to reach you.
So, how do you get a QR Code? You can create your own code from various website generators around the net including goo.gl, kaywa, or QR Stuff. From these you can create a code that links to your website, customer feedback forms, contact information, social networking sites, and so on and so forth. Since they are not a trademarked technology, this is all free for you to generate and use at your discretion.
I’ve got all that, now where do I get a QR Code reader? Depending on your phone type and carrier you can download a QR reader from your “app” (application) store. For example, on my Blackberry I went to Blackberry App World and downloaded (for free) QR Code Scanner Pro. From there I can click “Scan QR Code” or “Show History.” Now anytime I come across a QR Code, I simply hit Scan, my phone app decodes and takes me to the content. All this at my fingertips no matter where I am- shopping, walking down the street, etc. and it’s all accessible.
This is really a very generalized overview of QR Codes. There really is a lot they can add to a strategic marketing plan, but I won’t be going into that at this point. If you want to know more below are some additional resources.