Monday, July 29, 2013

Serving QR Codes.

Quote from the Movie The Game: "You ready to order sir -no I ' m still waiting"

One of the places where I'd like to see a QR Code used is in a restaurant.
Why a restaurant?  The most time in a restaurant you are waiting, it is probably the reason that the person serving you is called a waiter.

What do people do nowadays when they are waiting?

Correct, they play with their mobile phone.

The restaurant visitors should be engaged with the restaurant, and using QR Codes is a great way to point them to additional information on the internet.

A couple of idea's how a QR Code could be used in a restaurant are listed below, free wifi in the restaurant would be required!

A QR Code to check availability, and directly make a reservation.

Use QR Codes on the menu, for each dish a full scale picture could be placed on a webpage, including a list of ingredients, and allergy information, multiple languages could also be supported.

Use QRCodes to alert the restaurant hosts to indicate that you are ready to order, ready for a new drink, ready for the check, etc. Or even make it possible to order and pay via the internet.

Various landing-pages and various tables require multiple QR Codes, with the relink service of Kangaderoo a multitude of qr-codes can be generated while maintaining the same graphical look.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Next generation scanable codes

Quote from the movie TRON: Legacy: "After the Purge, I needed to reinvent myself."

Back to the drawing-board is what they must have thought at Ubleam. A french based company that clearly seen the benefits of smartening your marketing by use of 2D scan-able codes.
The first generation of scan-able codes had their focus on making a printable tag with the emphases on capacity. To secure readability of this high capacity error correction is needed, requiring even more capacity.

These highly compressed 2D codes are then becoming relative large, leaving limited room for graphical enhancement. And this graphical enhancement is key by the time the codes were discovered by marketeers.

The 2D code needed to be reinvented, with other targets in mind. Graphically more appealing by itself, keeping the most important visual location i.e. the center, free for graphical enhancement like customer specific branding.
Since today's smart-codes are mostly used online, some 'intelligence' that is placed in a standard QR Code can also be moved to the reader. By this action the capacity requirement could be heavily downsized. Ubleam codes are using only 80 data-point. This means that the content of a generic code is only a tag and some error correction. When the code is scanned this tag is then send to a central database, retrieving the actual link.

More or less the same action as using a URL shortener, where in this case the URL of the shortener is already fixed in the reader.

Ubleam codes, a new shining star?
On their website Ubleam states that their code is a 3D code. This had me wondering for a minute as well, printed on a flat surface we only see two dimentions; height and width. It is actually a reference to the technique needed to find and read the code. Bleam codes claim to have the best scan-ability compared to other 2D codes with regards to distance, scan angle and rotation of the camera in regards to the code. Since this aspect is clearly linked to the depth dimension the 3D claim can be considered valid. High scan-ability under various conditions, is a mayor plus when targeting a mobile audience.

You could call this code a 4D code, since they claim to be the fasted scanning code, and time being a dimension.

Customization of the complete code, thus including alignment and data-points, is also possible, just as with older generation 2D codes, resolution and contrast are key to keep the code functioning.

My conclusion:

Ubleam is right that the 2D-codes needed to be reinvented for optimal use in advertizement and marketing. Though I would have liked just a bit more capacity in the code, giving the possibility to put an actual (shortened) URL in the code. By using a tag with a central database the code is less open source, good for code security; the tag  being created in two places, in the code itself and in the database, bad for companies like mine that bend the specifications a bit to obtain maximum graphical enhancement.
The code itself is dynamic, at the database site a new URL can be linked to the tag, a plus for re-usability. Having their own reader that also supports QR Code, where there is all-ready a multitude of readers for other 2D codes is a hurdle they have to take. A plus is that the Ubleam reader does also support QR Code.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In QR Codes we trust... or not.

Quote from the movie Moulin Rouge : "Without trust, there is no love!"

I'm reading a lot of success and failure stories about QR Codes. It all seems to come down to trust and love, or the lack thereof. I can understand that if a tool is utilized and it doesn't bring the wanted result, there is disappointment.

There has to be trust and love for the QR Code with the marketeer that is making it part of its campaign. He/she has to know what the added value of this code can be to the campaign. And the task is to make the integration of the code graphically appealing to generate the correct 'call to action', and make it worth while for the targeted audience to scan the code. There has to be a reward for making the small effort to scan the code from the printed media.

If there is no reward, the effort of the user scanning the code will no longer seem small. I've seen remarks that describe scanning the code as a huge task. Most of these mentioned tasks involved picking up the phone, starting an app, etc. These are the task that every smart phone user is doing several times on a daily basis for each of its app. You never hear them complaining that it is hard to start-up angry birds!

By branding your QR Code, your code will stand out from the default QR Codes. And if you make good on your promises, using the same kind of branding on future campaign will already have the trust of your audience since the graphical appearance of the code is remembered and more importantly, linked to the good name of your company.

For the generation of these specialized and customized QR Codes where the same branding can be copied to a complete range of QR Codes, Kangaderoo is the solution for your QR Code needs.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Balance and flexibilty.

Quote from the movie Constantine: "They call it the balance."
balance and flexibility qr code

Balance and flexibility are key aspects when trying to enhance a particular QR Code. Changes to the default graphical appearance could throw the complete code off balance, rendering it useless.

Flexibility with regards to the rules and boundaries that define a QR Code can change a one in a million QR Code into the one out of a million.

The balance and flexibility are also needed when running an advertizement or a marketing campaign.

Be flexible to make your product or brand appealing to the right audience, change and adapt when needed.
Create the right balance between changes and sticking to your product or service, if you change too much, you might end up raising the wrong expectations.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

QR Code inside-out

Quote from the movie Bruce Almighty: "Inside bad, outside good."

Tardis QR Code Enhancing the appearance of a QR Code is nice method to make the image more appealing, or more fitting with the article or advertizement it is accompanying.

This beauty is only on the outside however, it actually is the inside that really counts.

After a code is scanned, marketing wise you made a promise to the persons scanning the code, that the content of the code is actually relevant information, or linking him to relevant information, that can be viewed on the device he uses for scanning.

Since a QR Code can link to all kinds of information on the internet, it is clear that the inside is definitely much bigger than the outside.

If the inside, i.e. the content of the QR Code is bad; it is no longer relevant how good the outside or the codes appearance is.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What direction is your QR Code Heading?

Quote from the movie Full Metal Jacket: "I think we should change direction."

direction QR CodeI started my company when I found out I could do something with QR Codes that was not yet offered on the internet. Having a product that stands out in any way from similar products is not enough however to generate sales.
Most companies will tell you they sell wonderful products, but what are their clients buying?
    In the end they might buy your product, but basically they are looking for a solution.
And as a marketeer it is more important to know what issues your clients have in order to generate the correct solution, then it is to push your off the shelf products.

There is still some reluctance to use a QR Code in marketing campaigns. But why?? QR Codes should not be a hinder to your advertizing campaigns, they should solve problems. And for some problems they might be the ideal solution!

Problems like:
  • You want to offer specific product information. The link to this information is deeply nested on my website, no-one would type the long URL on a mobile device.
  • You want to track the effectiveness of one particular campaign that is printed in a magazine.
  • You want to measure if you target the correct audience, based on location, age, gender, etc.
The last years we can observe a shift in internet usage from desktop use to mobile use. A lot of internet based information related to your campaign effectiveness is freely available, it just needs to be harvested. And with the use of  QR Codes you can bridge printed material to (mobile) internet perfectly and at very low cost.

And with companies, like my own, that graphically enhance the appearance of the QR Code, this bridge can be seamlessly integrated and even enhance your advertizements.

Just as all the other marketing aspect that are in play when running a campaign, it does not happen overnight and will not run by itself. If your current campaign, either with or without QR Codes, is not generating the expected results, check if you are still heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

QR Codes under a magnifying glass.

Quote from the movie Inspector Gadget: "Go, go, Gadget-- magnifying glass."

QR Code Magnified
Whats in a QR Code?

One of the biggest drawbacks of a QR Code is that the outside doesn't provide any information of the content.

What would compel anyone to pick up their mobile, start the favorite scanning application and read the code?

If using a QR Code in a campaign does not meet the expectations, is the answer in analyzing the code? Put it under a magnifying glass?

In order for a QR Code to "work" it needs to offer something that cannot be achieved easy without scanning the code.
    If you print your web URL on a car, and also have a QR Code printed on this car linking to the same URL the chances are that the added value of the QR Code is very limited.
A QR Code with the accompanying text, scan for ..... (more information, discount, free lunch, etc) that actually links to a mobile(!) webpage containing or enabling this offered service has a better chance to meet the expectations. Or enhance you QR Code so that this call for action is in the QR Code itself.

Keep in mind, the goal is not to have a lot of code scan's from just anyone, the goal is to have a lot of code scans from your targeted potential clients. A campaign optimized for a specific target group, should also contain a QR Code optimized in the same way.
Use the same kind of complexity and colors that are already used in you companies logo/campaign documents when graphically enhancing a QR Code.
A bright and colorful code where a company has a monochrome logo is not targeting the same audience.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th July celebration QR Code.

Quote from the movie Born on the Fourth of July: "Ain't he a 4th of July firecracker"

Happy fourth of July.

fourth of July QR Code

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Running a marketing campaign.

Quote from the movie Tin Cup: "No chance to hit it on the green."

Custom QR Code GolfGolf basic rules are easy; hit the ball, get it in the hole. But since there are only a few pro's and a lot of wannabees it might not be as simple as that. The basic rules for marketing and sales are just as simple; get your product to the clients. Again in real live this is not this simple.

There are a lot of aspect that influencing a marketing and sales campaign.
You have a good product, now how to get attention to this product, get this information to the right people, create awareness, etc.

The issue here is that all these aspects don't add up, they multiply. There were 1+1+0 is still 2, 1*1*0 always equals zero. i.e. If you have a good product, but cannot get this information to your potential clients, this will result in zero sales.

Using just a QR Code in these cases will not miraculously increase sales or even increase attention, the QR Code is just one aspect in the chain. For example, your QR Code contains a URL, but this site is not mobile friendly, the second aspect will still multiply your efforts in the QR Code with a value close to zero, rendering all the effort in the (Custom) QR Code a waist of time and money.

Get all the aspects that influence the success of your campaign up to speed, and your campaign might hit the green, or you might even get the hole in one.