Fresh Marketing Ideas Blog

QR Codes. Build your brand in a snap!

QR Codes. You see them everywhere. They can be a great way to generate interest, build your brand, and SELL. With just a snap of a smartphone camera, they give instant access to your digital message, connecting you with your customers and prospects in new and interactive ways.

QR Codes nearly guarantee instant access to product information. The QR is short for “quick response” and can connect to large amounts of digital information instantly including: URLs, geo coordinates, and text. If you use them to deliver all or part of your message, you are taking the gamble that the consumer won’t connect, but when they do you are often hitting your intended demographic target with greater accuracy than other mediums.

The QR Code is the most popular form of mobile barcoding, but there are many others – including Microsoft’s Tag that didn’t seem to take off as expected. The consumer has to have the app on their smartphone to read the code, but in most cases it’s less than a minute to download. Once downloaded, they’re off and running – free to snap at will. Hopefully they start with YOUR message, creating an even better impact.

What percentage of web searches is initiated from a smartphone?

The funny part about this is there are a lot of articles in print and online addressing this question. It depends on your source, but it appears that more than 50% of all local searches are done from a smartphone. The numbers drop off a bit when you go beyond local searches, but it’s safe to assume that if someone has access in their HAND then they may very well be using that as their primary vehicle for web searches.

How can this technology help you?

NOT having a QR Code at an easy point of contact may not hurt you, but you are probably missing an opportunity. Say, for example, you’re a non-profit looking to entice new volunteers and deliver your organization’s message OR a regional pharmacy that is expanding and opening new locations. In both of these scenarios, a well-placed QR Code on your print ad or in your store can be a quick an easy way to generate new business or create a buzz on your Facebook page. If your ad is on a bus stop, then QR Code away! A local coupon book? Go for it. A brochure displayed prominently at a point-of-sale? Perfect! Your business card? A great way to self-promote!

The most common use for a QR Code is a still a magazine ad. Companies are planting their codes in unique ways to encourage consumers to interact with their brand. Jenn Air – the high-end kitchen appliance manufacturer, ran an ad that included a die cut image of one of their ranges. They encouraged the consumer to hold the stove up, eclipsing their existing stove and take a picture. On the back was a QR Code that when snapped, took the consumer to a site allowing them to see what the product would look like in their kitchen…truly genius. Immediate virtual product placement, directly in their (virtual) homes! You can view more info about it at Luxury Daily’s site.

The possibilities of how YOU can use QR Codes for your business really are endless. Creative and engaging ideas are being implemented all the time. Some of them take hold and go viral nearly immediately, and some fizzle and leave their creators scratching their heads. Here are additional examples of effective uses of QR Codes:

Think a QR Code will work for you?

Chances are – it WILL. As you proceed remember: QR Codes themselves are surprisingly easy to create, so it’s not the QR code that’s the hard part – it’s the message that it links to. If you’re just linking someone to your website, you may want to reconsider. Sometimes, linking to your mobile website is fine, as is the case with Charlotte’s Rose Inn, a small B&B on quaint Prince Edward Island. The B&B has a leg up on its competition, and being close to downtown and easy on the eyes aren’t the only reasons. On the bannister of the steps leading up to the Victorian-era front porch is a prominently displayed QR Code – a quick link to their mobile site with photos of rooms, pricing, and availability. This simple trick avoids unnecessary disturbances of the owners, and gives road-weary travelers an easy way to make the decision to stay there. This is a classic, easy way to make good use of this simple technology.

The best way to use this technology is to link the customer to content that is not easily accessible from your website. Coupons are a great way to encourage potential customers to spend, and a QR Code on a product gives a prospective customer a link to additional information. For a product in the home health care market, the code can link someone to videos about how to use the product or how it can make their lives easier and better. A new dog-training device may have a QR Code that links to testimonials and videos of successfully trained dogs in action. A new restaurant can showcase links to its menu, or local newspaper reviews, or to reserve a table.

Some QR/Tag Tips to Remember:

Having a QR Code on the back of a cyclist’s shirt may SEEM clever, but can anyone grab their phone and click before the cyclist is gone? Probably not. This same principle goes hand in hand with television ads, sides of buses, billboards, or any place that is not stationary or within arm’s length of the public.

Like ANY new technology, there is a furious race to be the one that creates the next best application. There have been some surprisingly creative and useful applications for QR Codes, but be sure that the message is within your brand standards and has links to pertinent information that will keep your customers informed and inspired to shop!

Want help creating a QR Code?

It’s easy! Some sites include:, (that helps you track your QR Code), and If you have your URL ready they are a snap to make.

Final thoughts!

Remember. The 3 important rules of QR Code use: placement, content, connection.

  1. Effective placement will nearly guarantee a snap. Even if your “snapper” is just bored and waiting at an airport reading a magazine, it’s a chance to deliver your message.
  2. The right content generates brand interest. Linking to a static site? Not so much.
  3. This is the opportunity to really connect with consumers. They are your captive audience. Don’t lose that connection with a weak delivery or a dead end – once they connect, they are ripe for additional engagement. By capturing THEIR information, the communication can be a 2-way street.

Of course, rule #4 is – talk to holland advertising : interactive. Let them help you craft the right message to engage, enlighten, and inspire YOUR customers to interact with your brand. We’re the experts that can help your company utilize this simple tool to create a little magic and get people talking!

For more information about how Holland’s fresh ideas and experienced execution can get your company greater ROI on their marketing dollars, call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001 or email him at

Copyright © 2013 holland advertising: interactive.