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.


  1. This is an awesome article on the potential of QR Codes!

    I usually consider their use from a pragmatic standpoint (less paper, less hassle, etc.). But we often don't realize what a paradigm shift this is in the delivery of data, ideas and entertainment.

    Thanks for framing the future of this technology!

  2. I think the action of a consumer making a "choice" to interact with your brand is a powerful step in deepening the relationship one has with a brand they care about. QR is a great way to further consumer engagement.

  3. It is so true. Smart advertisers are thinking more on media earned that media buy creative placement. Creative concept and QR Code integration + right platform like tappinn means triple fold ROI.

  4. They call it Critical Mass - when 10% inertia causes an irreversible change in 90% of all remaining matter, then an undisputable 'shift' is underway. Clearly this new way of communicating will forever change the way man communicates with each other, by connecting everyday objects "out there" to the ever expanding World Wide Web. It's pervasive, ubiquitous, immediately accessable and always on - anywhere, anytime, anyplace, day or night, 7/24, and all from the furthest 4 corners of the planet. It will be called the "Web 2.0" and it will be the most disruptive technology since the invention of the PC, as the internet has now gone mobile world wide. All objects will soon be tethered to the web via a Physical World Connection hyperlink consisting of a word, phrase, picture, image, logo, barcode, RFID, NFC, MagStrip, etc. and its happening right here, right now - right before our very eyes. There is nothing that will stop its coming. It is approaching like a silent undersea tidal wave and will produce a Tsunami of change the likes of which we have never seen before and never will see again in our life times.

    All the Best, JP