QR Code Programs Need Good Brand Execution in Order to Succeed

For those who follow the social media space and are mobile nuts, QR codes add a cool aspect to both online and offline marketing programs.

In plain English, QR codes are basically bar codes that look like a printer spit ink into a square. Like bar codes, each QR code is unique.

When a mobile user takes a picture of the QR code (with the help of any number of mobile apps) he or she will be directed to something -- a website, app download, coupon, etc.

The biggest issue with QR codes is that your run of the mill consumer doesn't know what the heck they are. The adoption just isn't there yet.

The other problem with QR codes is the poor execution by brands.

You see, QR codes have to be visual, meaning they have to be in a position where consumers can literally see them. More importantly though, they need access to them in order to use their mobile device to "scan" the code.

So when using QR codes, here's what I think brands need to do to drive consumer adoption:

  • Location, location, location. It's very important to think visually, how consumers will access the code. Don't have it at a bottom of a poster that is only accessible by bending over.
  • Make them stand out. Call attention to them offline as well as online. Make them literally noticeable.
  • Be sure to explain what it is. Most consumers aren't going yo know, so create teaser copy of some sort that indicates what's you are asking the consumer to do.
  • Be sure to advertise the campaign elsewhere and tell consumers to be on the lookout for the QR code.
  • Provide more than just a link to a website. QR codes are like the X on a treasure map. Make finding that treasure something worth the consumers time -- coupons, sneak peak to conent, contest entries, etc.
  • Test, test and test again. Expect to fail, but learn from your mistakes so next time you execute, you don't repeat

I think QR codes will take off at some point, but all the creative in the world isn't going to drive success. It's the execution where brands will win or fail. 

What's your take on QR codes?