Monday, September 27, 2010

QR Codes Symbolize More Than We Know

Okay…QR codes are seriously blowin’ up, homies! I am literally getting flooded with emails and news about NEW campaigns daily. For anyone who has been following the world of QR codes as I have, the hype has undoubtedly reached a fever pitch. The continuous exposure they are getting has been GIGANTIC for awareness, which is the obvious hurdle for the technology. Although QR codes can still only be appreciated by an elite group of smartphone users, they represent much more about who we are becoming as “consumers” and how we expect brands and advertisers to communicate with us. It makes me think about what a “QR code” really symbolizes in this NEW era of “anywhere” web content.

Today, sharp advertisers are thinking of consumers more as “content consumers”, first and foremost. The swift change that the internet brought upon traditional advertising can be attributed to one word, SEARCH. Once digital content around our niche interests and products could be searched and therefore found, the game changed forever. On-demand information and the “long tail” were born while one-way, broad, intrusive messages grew stagnant. So if we can agree that search has had a revolutionary impact over consumer content consumption and advertising, what happens when the ability to search and absorb web content goes completely MOBILE?

Web search is embedded in our culture. Googling words and phrases to find information has become a way of life for most of us. Websites, blogs, reviews, comments, photos, videos, forums, status updates and tweets are ALL considered searchable content. Each form of content serves as unique education to whoever is searching, depending on what they are searching for. There is an innate satisfaction that is had by consumers who are able to instantly feel knowledgeable (or perceive they are) about a brand, product or service that immediately pertains to them by the power of their own searches and clicks on the web. This is where I see QR codes as the trigger to a metaphorical loaded gun, with bullets being content. The user gets a feeling of “empowerment” by pulling the trigger, in this case, scanning a QR code.

Instant Education-Gratification“……. is a term that has been spawned by an online culture and is ripe for QR codes to own. It defines our emotional search for empowerment and feeds our craving for valuable content, instantly. The physical act of scanning a QR code is a lot like typing a keyword into a search box. It’s immediate and responsive with the user having full control. Now brands can deliver unique, valuable, unobtrusive web content to consumers through QR codes and mobile web content while tapping into the “emotional gratification” and “education” that search provides. QR codes are already the ultimate bridge between static physical media and its dynamic digital counterpart. This is a completely new way to think about the satisfaction they can bring if the content is valuable. This is when they become more than just a code, but a way of life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

QR Codes Hit Fifth Avenue Luxury in High Fashion (Press Release)

Luxury Manhattan Retailer Michael C. Fina Adopts New Technology and Builds “Mobile Storefront” to Celebrate NYC Women and A. Jaffe Platinum Jewelry

New York, NY; September 14th, 2010 – TAPPINN Inc., A mobile applications platform and QR code creative agency today announced their collaboration with retailer Michael C Fina, PGI-USA, and A. JAFFE to bring QR (“quick response”) mobile codes to Fifth Avenue. The retailer’s five massive storefront windows on 45th Street off NYC’s famed shopping strip are dedicated to the women of New York and the platinum ring designs that symbolize their character. Each window features a different QR code that shoppers can scan with their smartphone cameras to view facts about the platinum jewelry designs being showcased.

After the QR code in scanned, shoppers connect with a Michael C. Fina mobile-optimized site that includes easy contact (email, call) function, videos, product galleries, pricing, mobile wallpapers, information about designers and product pages with social sharing function including the Facebook “like”. There are 27 exquisite A. Jaffe platinum bridal designs being highlighted in the display, each with its own mobile page that shoppers can interact with and share from their phone. Demo of "Mobile Storefront" site below.

Michael C. Fina is located at 545 Fifth Avenue, at 45th Street, and the campaign will run through October 11, 2010.

“At Michael C. Fina, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with exceptional service for 75 years. This means not only working one-on-one with customers here in the store to help them select the perfect ring, plan the perfect proposal, etc. but also educating potential customers by distributing information in their preferred form; online or through a Smartphone. The QR code technology is going to allow us to reach a whole new range of New Yorkers in a way that is both comfortable and convenient for them. Once they see what makes platinum the most desirable metal choice and A.JAFFE so special, we are confident they will want to come in and learn more.” - Jacklynn Manning, Communications & Creative Director

A 2009 consumer study conducted by PGI-USA (Platinum Guild International) illustrated the importance window displays play in capturing the attention of pre-engaged women and men during the crucial engagement ring research period. More than 54 percent of the study’s respondent window shopped stores during their engagement ring shopping period, and they reported they were more likely to enter a store if they liked the products they saw in the window.

“In addition to revealing the importance of retail window displays, our consumer study revealed that pre-engaged women and men expect online educational content from retailers,” stated Michelle Peranteau, Manager of integrated Marketing for PGI-USA. “The Michael C Fina Mobile Storefront marries these two elements to create the ultimate platinum jewelry retail shopping experience. Before even speaking to a sales associate, shoppers will enter Michael C. Fina with in-depth knowledge of both platinum and their favorite A. Jaffe engagement ring.”

Nick Ford, Co-Founder of Tappinn, believes Michael C. Fina’s storefront will revolutionize the way retailers engage consumers, and do it in a nonintrusive way. “QR codes are rapidly becoming the most exciting thing to hit mobile advertising since the ‘app’ because consumers have control” stated Ford. “The demand for mobile smartphones continues to sky rocket and so will the demand for mobile web content. We believe consumers are craving to connect with their favorite products and stores and share those favorites from their mobile phones while shopping. Storefronts can be the ideal communication application of QR codes and retailers should embrace it.”

In addition to debuting the world’s first Mobile Storefront, the window displays will also feature model shots from A. Jaffe’s new branding campaign, which pays tribute to the company’s rich New York heritage. “Just as New York represents success, magic, romance and charisma, so does the confident woman who chooses a platinum A. Jaffe engagement ring from Michael C. Fina to symbolize her marriage,” stated Pooja Johari, Marketing Director for A. Jaffe.

About Tappinn:
Tappinn is a web application used for the building of web sites and pages that are optimized for mobile. These “Smart Sites”, make it easy for brands, retailers and agencies to deliver customized mobile content (pictures, video, text, coupons, product specs, ect.) to unique shopping environments using mobile tagging with QR codes. Page content can be geo-targeted around physical advertising media such as displays, posters, magazine ads, events, business cards, billboards and other forms of signage. The built in QR code management tool in the Tappinn platform also helps the advertiser generate, tag and track all responses to any QR codes used in a campaign. BEYOND the CODE or follow us at

About Platinum Guild International:
Platinum Guild International is dedicated to promoting Platinum and its pure, rare and eternal qualities to the consumer and the jewelry trade. PGI has offices in each of the world's major jewelry markets, providing information, assistance and education on all aspects of platinum jewelry. For more information please visit

About Michael C. Fina
Michael C. Fina is the perfect place to turn when celebrating all life’s many milestones, big or small. As New York’s premier family owned and operated retail destination, we have been providing customers with quality products and exceptional service for 75 years. The flagship store, located at 545 Fifth Ave. New York, NY, offers a stunning variety of engagement rings, wedding bands, fine jewelry, tableware, estate silver, and bath accessories.

For more information visit our website ( ), friend us on facebook ( ), or follow us on twitter ( ).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 Golden “Rules of Engagement” For Advertisers Using QR Codes

1) This is MOBILE, dude. Content must be mobile and properly formatted for ALL smartphone OS screens (Android, Apple, Blackberry, ect). Speed is everything, design content that can be efficiently outputted on a mobile device. This is a completely different animal than regular web design. Large buttons and easy "touch" navigation are crucial to user experience. Easy "contact" function can win with convenience. Keep the call, email and V-card buttons close by! Also, popular locations services such as Foursquare are becoming popular to incorporate as well.The #1 mistake made by early QR code marketers is using regular desktop pages as links in the codes.

2) People LOVE to share. Sharing content over the PC web has become ridiculously popular over the last 5-7 years. Sharing content over the MOBILE web is still pretty new but has explosive potential. You are already seeing it with adoption of text messaging (texting) and Twitter (tweets) which are both “mobile born” forms of communication. Everything MUST be easy to share on the go (galleries and product pages). Make it easy for users to post content on Facebook and Twitter in seconds. Make sure that the content is accessible on the desktop web also. Mobile to desktop sharing is still prominent. 

3) A new smartphone user is born every day, seriously, THOUSANDS of them. Don’t be discouraged by low numbers/scans. The success of phones like Iphone4, Evo, DroidX and Galaxy are obvious indication that the DEMAND is rising. Focus on the experience and users will come. Every engagement by a mobile user of scanning a QR code is a connection far beyond any traditional marketing thought. This is the first step in a new relationship.

4) Don’t get cute, focus BEYOND the CODE. I’m a huge fan of “designer QR codes” and I think they can serve a wonderful purpose for early QR code campaigns to build BUZZ. However, it’s early in the game and recognition is still relatively low, don’t get lost in the ad! Also, customized “designer QR codes” can’t be duplicated near as efficiently. It gets tricky if you want to run a nation wide magazine campaign with 6 splits a you would want a SEPARATE code for each split in every magazine for each month. Those who want to be specific and run different codes for different media applications will have a hard time achieving results they need with a “designer” QR code.

5) QR Codes are here to stay. There has been an ongoing debate between nerds on Twitter about whether QR codes will hit “mainstream” in the U.S. The answer is YES. Argument over. Deal with it, haters.

6) Deliver custom value wherever possible. In my opinion this is all about CONTENT. The mobile environment is a swirling terrain with unlimited possibilities. Create and deliver content that makes sense to your market and helps shoppers make honest buying decisions. If it's a magazine, consider the readers of THAT magazine and offer exclusives and target content around that group of readers. A QR code that leads directly to video in a loud atmosphere isn't powerful. A landing page where users can select the FORM of content they want is much more effective. QR codes that lead users straight to video are mostly ineffective.

7) Proprietary codes suck. The "QR code" is famous for its "three squares" in the top corners of the code. It's also famous for being OPEN. There are several codes that fall into the "2-D Barcode" family with QR codes but are NOT actual "QR codes". Microsoft Tag, Scanlife's EZ code and JagTag are often mistaken as QR codes when they are not. The problem with these proprietary codes is that they can ONLY be read be THEIR app which has fragmented the sector. So "QR code" readers can't even scan Microsoft Tags, ect. Last we checked there were over 60 different applications that read QR codes, none of them could read a Microsoft Tag, WTF. Get it?

8) Instructions are important. Keep in mind that a majority of users are still "first timers"so making it easy for them to download a QR code reader specific for to their smartphone OS is crucial. Shortcodes can be texted and a link will come back to the user that will download a reader. I prefer to list a short URL that users can type into their mobile browser to retrieve a reader like The landing page is then set up to visually guide people to the correct app with icons for each OS (Apple, BB, Android, Windows, Nokia). Once Facebook updates their app with a QR code reader most of these issues will be resolved.

9) Have fun! It is the dawn of a new day. New forms of communication centered around the smartphone device mean new opportunity to connect with your customers. Get creative and think LARGE.

(10??)BONUS! Oh yeah the biggest secret to all of this that WE built a platform to make all of the above EASY. BEYOND the CODE. Visit us and starting building today! Let's build a community

-Nick Ford