Friday, August 30, 2013

Benefits of using bar-codes.

Quote from the movie Fallen: "Where is the fun in that?"

The first generation of linear bar-codes were a revolution in tagging products in supermarkets. Not only the checkout became easier, with the cashier computer recognizing the product and add this to the tally, the inventory of the shop could directly be updated and the complete checkout process was tasking significantly less time for the customers.
And  now with the introduction of the 2D bar-codes a lot more of information can be stored in the bar code.

Why are there so many stories that a QR Code powered campaign is not working?

At the release of linear bar-code there was a clear win-win situation for customers and companies, and yes at that time there was already a discussion going on concerning the graphical appeal of these code. The linear codes were and are a big succes.

One of the issue's that I see is the unlike with the linear bar-code, where customers do not need to actually scan the code itself, scanning the code by the customers is required in the case with the 2D Codes used for campaigns. This means that besides the effort needed to make a campaign both offline and offline, were both campaigns complement each other, the QR Code itself and the way to use it also has to be promoted.

Since more and more successful QR Code usage is reported these days I would suspect that in a couple of years time the QR Code promotion itself, including links of where to download readers will no longer be needed.

Monday, August 26, 2013

QR Code Hype?

Quote from the movie Contact: "Will history repeat itself?"

Second Life designer QR CodeSince 2D bar-codes like the QR Code have sometimes being looked at as a hype, I was looking for an internet hype to look for parallels. One of the best example I of a recent hype I could find is Second Life.
Second Life could be looked at as a social environment where your avatar could walk around. On the top of its popularity in 2007 everybody needed to be part of this social network. Companies and schools represented themselves in their own virtual offices.

My experience with Second Life is that controlling my avatar was difficult, and this world was too huge. I was just browsing, more or less afraid to miss the next best thing, but I had no idea where to go or what to do.

Participant of a hype will prolong its live longer then people who are just browsing. Businesses looking for new ways for marketing and sales need people who embrace the hype, not people standing at the sideline that are just looking what is going on.

There are some parallels with regards to 2D bar-codes. Businesses are (mis)using these codes just to have a feeling not to be left out of a potential new sales channel. Not all the time the implementation is fully thought trough; mobile unfriendly websites, links to sites that don't offer relevant information, etc, etc. And customers are looking at their QR Code, and don't see real difference to standard bar-code they can see on the products they seen in the supermarket. Who actually scans bar-codes in supermarkets? So why make the effort of scanning a QR Code?

Both companies and customers must see a benefit of 2D bar-code usage, like a more mobile and  interactive experience to respectively promote and sell; find more information and buy displayed products.
If this benefit is not found by both parties, QR Code might make the long list of hypes that had the potential but just didn't make it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The QR Code hassle.

Quote from the movie Point Break: "Think it through, man."

I came across a blog entry the other day that was claiming the QR Code being death. Again.....
Sure the QRCode will not live forever, but using the following reason got me thinking. Again...
Custom QR Code Angry Patrick

The stated main reason the QR Codes are dead and NFC is the future:

It is a too big of a hassle to take out your mobile phone, start an app, scan the code and wait for the browser to load a page.

How would you expect NFC to work? The steps include taking out the mobile phone, starting an app, holding the phone real close to the NFC tag, wait for a browser to load a page......

Don't these steps seem very familiar?

With or without QRCodes there seems to be a consensus that the internet will be used more and more using mobile devices or even newer technology like google glass. I don't own a google glass, but it looks like this technology is also trying to bridge the real world with the digital world. In order to create this augmented reality, real world items must be linked to online items. And since we cannot place click-able hyperlinks in the real world, technologies like QR Code and NFC can fill this gap.

The only reason QRCodes or NFC tags would fail in the future is not thinking the offered mobile experience through. Using these technologies is only a doorway to a (mobile) internet experience that should offer some kind of reward to the person scanning the QR Code or NFC tag.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Keep your eye on the QR Code.

Quote from the movie Forrest Gump: "Never, ever take your eye off the ball."

For each aspect defined in you marketing and advertizement campaign ask yourself the question: "how will this aspect help me to obtain my goal." It is a question I started to ask myself when I started with my QR Code business. Trying to find the answer is not simple, actually it raised more and more questions.

The first step is to actually define your goal.
It seems simple; business makes a product, product needs to be sold.
But is there a market for your product? and who is your client? It is wishful thinking that the whole world is your target, a smaller target audience is easier to identify and reach. Is anyone really waiting for this product, does it solve real problems? The original reason for you to generate the product, might not be the same as the key selling points.

Trying to answer these question might help to get a more clear definition of the goal itself. It helps defining your target clients. And by defining your clients; specific needs and interests of these clients can be addressed while promoting your product.

This step can help to avoid to do things for doing sake only, and avoid to add aspects that are distracting, since distraction will  move your clients away from the set goal.

The whole process is not static and needs to be measured, reviewed and adjusted constantly. But each time you feel
an adjustment needs to be made, remember to "Never, ever take your eye off the ball."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Solving Puzzles.

Quote from the movie Dead Poets Society: "As she pieced the puzzle together..."

In my simplistic view doing business is closely related to solving a big jigsaw puzzle.

Generate  the ideal balance!

The client want's the puzzle to be complete and show an specific predetermined image.

Marketeers are the fist to act, they have to be sure the same picture is set as goal, and all the jigsaw puzzle pieces are identified. Identification of these pieces is then communicated back to the sales and technical department to determine if these pieces can be made, and at what price.

Followed by continues good communication back and forward with the client and all departments should result in each piece to be specified and a project plan being made. From the plan a quote can be generated, one that a client could accept to raise an order.

When the balance is disturbed.

In real live sometimes steps are skipped; usually one of the skipped steps is linked to communication with the client, or between departments. The obvious result is that not all players have the same image as goal.

This results in puzzle pieces that are in no relation to the puzzle that a client want's to solve. Trying to bang puzzle pieces together that do not fit; or placed at a wrong location altogether. And the once 'solved' puzzle doesn't show a picture that is in line with the original image, or even looks like the adjusted image at the point where the order was raised. In the worst case it will all fall apart.

And here the relation to jigsaw puzzles comes back. Pieces only fit if when shapes are correct and the displayed image on these pieces align. The puzzle is only ready when all the pieces are place. And if you have a puzzle with one or more pieces missing it will usually be thrown away.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Death of the QR Code?

Quote from the movie RoboCop: "He signed release forms when he joined the force. He's legally dead."
superposition QR Code

Stories about current status of QR Codes seem to move towards superposition and quantum mechanics.

Nowadays there are just about equal amounts of claims that QR Codes are dead as there are claims that QR Codes are just starting to starting a (new) life.

I tried to capture both these claims in a QR Code with the story about Schrödinger's cat in mind.

In this story the actual state of the cat can only be determined when observed, but before observation the cat holds both states.

When used correctly the QR Code will not only show to be very much alive, it can also kick new live in marketing and advertizement campaigns. And by graphical enhancement of the code this effect can gain an extra boost.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Famous QR Codes.

Quote from the movie Young Guns II : "I'll make your famous!"

Being famous, or having a (bad or good) reputation that interest a lot of people can gain a lot of followers.
It it one of the goals with marking; building a brand name that is famous, remembered and link to your company and product.
A process clearly used in the advertizement world, where suddenly actors or other famous people promote a product, using the fame of the actor to generate awareness for a product.
It is a formula that has been used for years, so it must work.

So in order to make QR Codes more famous, I use the same concept in this blog post.

Do you recognize the famous people in these QR Codes? And yes the QR Codes themselves all work.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Inviting a QR Code.

Quote from the movie Four weddings and a funeral: "I think we both missed a great opportunity here."

I just read a couple of interesting QR Code applications that hit the news the last couple of day's.
One was of QR Codes being placed on tombstones and the other was using QR Codes in obituary's.
The fact that both are related to death is a coincidence. It just proves that the QR Code itself is very much alive and in these examples performing an invaluable addition.

In these examples the QR Code is used to generate a link to additional information. The location where the code is placed is limited in printing space. Where a whole  live story can be easily be hosted online using a qr code linking to this content.
Wedding custom qr code

The same setup can be used for all kinds of invitations. The room for text on an invitation is usually limited. The QR Code can be a link to an online page, that only invitees can access; maybe even add their own content.

An example that springs to mind is a wedding, were guest have access to a website providing information about bride, groom; and where guest can drop their own story and or photo's.

Using a Custom QR Code that is graphically in line with the invitation itself is an opportunity that should not be missed.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cutting edge technology: The Custom QR Code.

Quote from the movie Vertical Limit: "It was cutting-edge stuff back then."

The QR Code has been invented in 1994, and it was invented due to limitation in the standard bar-code that exist from the 1960 area. The QR Code has been reinvented to use in combination with smartphones by the time the phones themselves became smart enough to read the content. These day I read a lot of articles that already declare the QR Code dead and or obsolete.

Just as the QR Code has added functionality to the standard bar-code with regards to capacity and possibilities, all products in a supermarket are still holding the normal bar-code for identification.

For the purpose of adding a link to additional information to a printed media like a billboard, advertizement in a magazine, business card, shopping window flyer, etc. the QR Code doesn't run into limitations that call for a new technology.

The appearance of a QR Code might not be to everybody's liking, but the same could be said for the old bar-code, and that one is still around. And there are still a lot of companies, including my own that offer graphical enhancement to make a custom QR Code that is graphically more pleasing.

The Custom QR Code as a means to connect printed media to the internet is in my opinion still cutting edge technology.