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QR Codes: Transforming Consumer-Brand Interactions
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QR Codes: Transforming Consumer-Brand Interactions

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Reaching a consumer has never been easier for companies – they have tried placing a huge hoarding in the sky, spend crores on a TVC, and invested considerable time, energy and money to take its brand …

Reaching a consumer has never been easier for companies – they have tried placing a huge hoarding in the sky, spend crores on a TVC, and invested considerable time, energy and money to take its brand to the remotest corners of the world. And then the wave of social media revolutionised consumer-brand interaction. And today we are not even talking, we just scan and click...Quick Response (QR) code is the word! The marketing circles have started embracing this technology with lot of zest and enthusiasm. Some experts still wait for every chance to write it off as a passing fad, even as the technology is being picked up rapidly by companies globally to send a message to the consumer. The crucial question – are QR codes an emerging trend to stay alive for some decades, or will they be gone by this time next year? If the recent developments, innovations and results QR Codes have shown are anything to go by, be rest assured well be scanning at least 10 times more QR codes by this time next year.

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  • 1. customer centriaThe Customer Engagement & Experience Company Decoding the QR code Date: 02/11/2011 www.customercentria.com
  • 2. Reaching a consumer has never been easier for companies – they have tried placing a huge hoarding in the sky, spend crores on a TVC, and invested considerable time, energy and money to take its brand to the remotest corners of the world. And then the wave of social media revolutionised consumer-brand interaction. And today we are not even talking, we just scan and click...Quick Response (QR) code is the word! The marketing circles have started embracing this technology with lot of zest and enthusiasm. Some experts still wait for every chance to write it off as a passing fad, even as the technology is being picked up rapidly by companies globally to send a message to the consumer. The crucial question – are QR codes an emerging trend to stay alive for some decades, or will they be gone by this time next year? If the recent developments, innovations and results QR Codes have shown are anything to go by, be rest assured well be scanning at least 10 times more QR codes by this time next year.Understanding Technology QR Code is a 2D barcode carrying relevant information about the product or the company, depending on the campaign. It can lead you to a web page, text or other data resource. QR codes need to be scanned, and for that you dont need dedicated scanners. You can scan it with your smart phone, tablet, laptop and even your PC; provided these devices have an attached camera and the requisite software installed. Leading barcode scanner developer ScanLife in a report claims that use of QR Code has grown to over 600% over the last one year. The study further states that 2D barcode scanning is currently outpacing the growth of 1D barcodes, a major shift from 2010 that shows how user engagement is growing with marketer interest. Scans come from over 125 different countries around the world every day.The story so far After becoming a huge hit in the United States, Europe, Korea and Indonesia, Indian marketers are also fast at picking up the trend and making the most of its exclusivity. Even Google Trends QR Codes report lists India among the Top 10 countries at No 9. Especially for India, QR codes are rapidly moving from the realm of being used only by “geeks” to the mainstream. With technology adoption with the digital consumer being almost instantaneous, and with the rapid penetration of smart phones, QR codes are a great tool to keep consumers engaged, and connect with you on a different platform. Clients have slowly started to recognise this, and are willing to experiment, especially when targeting Young and Upwardly mobile India. The ScanLife report states that over 45,000 2D barcodes were generated from the ScanLife platform in the 2nd quarter, a 300% increase from last year. Over 400,000 unique UPC codes, or products, were scanned by the ScanLife app in a single month. Android OS continues to be the platform that generates the most scans. However, the share of iOS increased 7% compared to Q1, 2011 while Android and Blackberry has a 4% and 3% decrease, respectively. The existing smartphones and the evolving future versions will play a crucial role in QR Code acceptance and growth in coming times. www.customercentria.com
  • 3. QR Codes in Action QR codes are everywhere – even in the skies, as a leading airlines in-flight magazine shows a QR code that lets one download data including flight information. They have been on cookies from Tiffany leading you to an invite to a concert with Leighton Meester. They were on Barbie doll displays in stores that when scanned offer a chance to win designer clothes. QR code technology was featured by CSI New York in the plot, and Fox Searchlight Pictures used it in its poster campaign for Notorious. Taking a cue from the global acceptance and success of QR Codes, some big Indian companies used the technology to tap into their users. Ford Figos print ads displayed a QR code, which when scanned took the user to a page to download Fords application. And the downloaded application would then play an advert of the car by using the devices Internet connection. Mid-Day used QR code to promote the movie Housefull, where the user would scan the code, and be led to the movie video. Cybermedia, publisher of magazines like PCQuest, DQIndia and Voice & Data started using QR codes in print editions of PCQuest for web pages, adverts, contests and events. McDonalds India is currently testing out QR codes usage from a marketing perspective. Blackberry has made optimum use of the technology, for promoting BB Messenger service, both through print and TV commercials. Summarising the use of QR Codes by firms worldwide, the following areas are most vital: Promotional landing pages and entry forms/surveys E-commerce and M-commerce Product demos, presentations, videos and reviews Reservation systems Virtual business cards Downloadable and scan-able couponsMaking a case for QR Code A recent campaign run by Verizon suggests that the QR Code techonlogy if applied well can provide your sales figures a staggering push, as high as 200%. The promotion was executed through a unique Hipscan-generated QR Code, wherein the store customers would scan the code, and reach a contest to win a smartphone, via sharing on social networking site Facebook. And if one of the users Facebook friends buys a Verizon mobile phone, the user gets a free smartphone. And the result was visible – in hard figures, Verizon made a whopping $35,000 in additional revenue during the promotion week, against an investment of just $1,000. Credit also goes to the marketers who dared to marry social commerce and QR Code technology. The sales revenue got a major boos no doubt, but at the same time the brand visibility itself took a quantum leap by coming into direct contact close to 25,000 Facebook profiles. www.customercentria.com
  • 4. QR Codes and Usability 1 Language Brands have the option to supply different language versions of some information in the print format. This works very well for India due to its multi-language culture. 2 Information Additional information can be provided by the brand itself through a QR code that can point to a property. 3 Cost Additional information can be provided by the brand itself through a QR code that can point to a property. 4 Visiting Cards QR codes are being widely used on visiting cards that can store information like name, number, E-mail address etc. 5 Reach QR Codes can help send information to remote areas - government authorities can use it effectively.The Road Ahead The early adopters of the technology range from food, hospitality and retailing to automobile, telecom and technology. Kim Saldanha, Vice President-Marketing, Customer Centria, says: "QR codes are turning out to be the perfect marketing package — a brief, compact, message driver and engagement tool — all loaded in one single code." Customer Centria has worked on engagement programs using QR codes for campaigns like the one for Godrejs social networking site GoJiyo, Taj Hotels holiday packages branded Safari, and the soon-to- be-launched promotion for Cottonworld. Now that one can customise QR codes with signature colours and mnemonics, they can slowly move to becoming an integral part of the brand identity system. In fact, the advent of QR Codes also marks the beginning of a phase, when smartphones manufactureres would rethink about the devices to make them more QR Code friendly. And the future definitely also ensures smoother execution of QR Codes, with improved processes and software. Well see many players using the technology for the heck of being QR code friendly, but then only the ones with a clear vision of their goals and a sense of QR code unctionality ti achieve it will utlize QR Codes effectively. www.customercentria.com
  • 5. Bottomline This simple-looking barcode has seriously raised the bar for marketers and brand managers. What does one make of an opportunity that allows a company to share the desired information with their consumers through a code that demands some seconds of labour on part of the user. Indeed a lethal marketing weapon that commands attention and appreciation. The magic is not in the technology, but in the creative ways in which marketers across the globe can use it to create delightful experiences for their customers and consumers! www.customercentria.com