Friday, January 28, 2011

QR Codes Meet Digital Printing at PODi AppForum 2011

I will be speaking with Sharon Buntain, president of Tissot Watches U.S., at PODi AppForum 2011 at The Mirage in Las Vegas Jan 31 - Feb 2nd. Also on the guest list are Hamilton Chan from Paperlinks and Val DiGiacinto of The Ace Group... That sounds like a pretty solid crew to share experiences and insights involving QR codes and digital printing. Scan the HOT QR code above to see the Tappinn mobile site we made for the event! Follow on Twitter #AppForum11. VEGAS baby!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

TIME Magazine QR Codes on Billboards

Pictures of a TIME Magazine QR Code billboard advertisement on 51st and Broadway near Times Square in New York City. These designer QR Codes, created by SET Japan, have been popping up within the pages of TIME magazine for months, linking readers to additional (non-mobile) web content. While I'm definitely a fan of seeing TIME Magazine use QR codes, the same cannot be said about my impression of the overall effort. While these QR codes may look "cool", the content connected to them in underwhelming from a mobile context. Also, most SET codes are NOT friendly to majority of popular QR code readers, most notable, ScanLife. So in essence, you have an enormous billboard in New York City featuring a 'designer QR code' that can't be read by a majority of readers, and links to a generic non-mobile website. Meh.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Grammy Goes To... QR Codes!

The Grammys are using QR Codes to promote the 53rd annual music awards event on CBS. I have to say that I am really impressed with this QR code advertising campaign! Last week I posted, Music Needs QR Codes, but didn't have a great example. THIS is a great example!! Scanners can sample tagged music by participants and read user comments. Check out the video and pics below and the campaign site, Music is Life is Music. Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Music Needs QR Codes

Music is ripe for an advertising renaissance. QR codes and mobile tagging are poised to take this industry by storm introducing a plethora of new ways to promote music to smartphone mobile devices. Mobile digital downloads, sharing, and music samples can incentivize and augment advertising in newspapers, magazines, fliers, cards and posters like NEVER before. The opportunities to incorporate music downloads and artist info into traditional "brand advertising" are endless in this new mobile universe of "anywhere" web content. QR codes are the PERFECT vehicle because they "prompt" people with their engaging appearance and perceived value. The invention of the internet devastated the music industry over a decade ago, NOW the emergence of the MOBILE internet might be the BEST thing that ever happened to music culture. 

We  are starting to see some mainstream music artists use QR codes in advertising and packaging but this is only the beginning. The future will involve much more "collaboration" between music and traditional adverting and a model will emerge that brings value to everyone (music artists, brands AND mobile consumers). QR codes will be a fundamental new catalyst transmitting music from the physical world to a mobile digital one.

Here are some examples of Taylor Swift and Soulja Boy using QR codes and an awesome VIDEO example below from Japan.

his QR code marketing campaign from Leo Burnett Hong Kong was designed to promote alternative music label Zoo Records in Hong Kong. By carefully placing visuals of an array of animals, comprised of download codes, people could take cell phone pictures of the animals and stream new music to their mobile devices instantly. This campaign resulted in sold out records, immeasurable street cred for Zoo Records, and the widespread dispersal of an underground sound.

Monday, January 10, 2011

QR Codes In Advertising

Originally posted on QR Codes In Advertising

QR Codes in Advertising (Mobile Tagging)

QR codes have stormed traditional advertising and it will never look the same, literally. Innovation surged this year in mobile marketing with huge breakthroughs coming in the QR code advertising sector. To put it mildly, QR codes are blowin' up! The opportunities to augment and track ‘old’ traditional print media with QR codes and deliver targeted mobile web content to smartphone users are ‘game changing’ for today’s professional advertiser. Successful QR code advertising campaigns go beyond the QR code and offer a unique mobile web experience tailored to the advertisement and media outlet. The early days of generating a QR code for a generic website and slapping it on your advertisement are over. Advertisers must now focus on strategy, design and context to get optimum results and deliver the value that will keep consumers scanning. Whether it’s for mobile shopping, commerce, mapping, apps, mobile vCards, signups, music downloads, social, coupons or rewards, consumers are finding new reasons everyday to scan QR codes on advertisements with their mobile smartphones. Team this with the analytic software available that most QR code management platforms offer and you have a powerful new dynamic evolving in the advertising world.

Today’s 5 fundamentals of using QR codes in Advertising 

(1) This is MOBILE, dude. The #1 mistake made by QR code advertisers is using generic desktop web pages as their ‘QR-connected’ landing page.Web content that’s tagged for a QR code must be mobile and properly formatted for ALL smartphone web browsers (Android, Apple, Blackberry, Windows, ect). Speed is everything so make sure to design content that can be displayed on a mobile device quickly after the scan. Remember, this is a completely different animal than desktop web design and fresh perspectives must be considered. Large buttons and easy "touch" navigation are critical to prompting action on the phone. Easy "contact" function can win with convenience alone. Keep the call, email, map and V-card buttons close by! QR codes are by for the best way to prompt users to action in the physical world. Anybody who says that QR Codes are ugly is right, it's this 'ugliness' that makes them eye catching, recognizable and engaging to mobile consumers!

(2) Mainstream QR code adoption in advertising is a numbers game, smartphone numbers. There has been an ongoing debate between tech nerds on Twitter about whether QR code usage will hit mainstream status in the U.S. To bet against this is like betting against smartphone growth altogether.  The consumer demand for web-enabled smartphones is ridiculous right now with Android boasting over 300,000 activations daily! These phones are all capable of scanning QR codes quickly and surfing promotional mobile advertising for coupons and rewards within seconds. The number of NEW mobile web users will increase by over 100 MILLION devices in 2011 and advertisers who have been using QR codes as early as 2008 have seen scans increase by 400% over the past two years. The future is bright for smartphones AND QR codes.

(3) If mobile CONTENT is king, CONTEXT is GOD.
The Yankee Group has coined this as the ‘anywhere’ era of web content because today’s content can be consumed anywhere from a web-enabled mobile device. We already live in an on-demand digital culture where one-way advertising is mostly ignored but authentic, exclusive CONTENT is craved and searched for. QR codes offer advertisers the fastest and most recognizable outlet to deliver ‘context aware’ mobile content to the real world in an on-demand nature. The mobile advertising environment is a wild terrain with unlimited possibilities for marketers to deliver unique value to smartphone users. Advertisers must build and deliver custom mobile websites and landing pages that make sense to their market and helps shoppers complete buying decisions. If it's a magazine ad, build a landing page considering the readers of THAT magazine and offer exclusives and rewards to only that particular group of readers. A QR code that leads directly to video on the same ad in multiple publications isn't very powerful but a custom landing page where users can scroll from a catalog of mobile media is much more effective. QR codes that lead users straight to video are mostly ineffective and overused in general
(4) Stick with QR codes. Don’t be fooled by imposter (Proprietary) 2-D Codes. The 2-D barcode advertising world is complex due the closed, indirect proprietary codes on the market. This has contributed to the early adoption problems that have faced the technology often confusing the end user. The QR code is the only open format (direct) code that anybody can generate for free. The data stored in the QR code is a universal (direct) link as opposed to data stored in proprietary codes which only makes sense to the particular app that’s decoding. Make sense? Not only that, there are over 100 different apps that read QR codes due to their openness as opposed to the closed proprietary market where codes can only be read with app specific to the code (ex. The only app that reads Microsoft Tag is Microsoft Tag). This is why I believe that the QR code makes the most sense for advertisers in the long run. App creators are starting to think differently about what apps to build QR code reading function into. Now, large retailers like Best Buy and social networks are building QR code scanning function into their apps. We’ve seen this movie before and OPEN wins.

(5) Use a QR code management platform. Generate QR codes and view analytic data from a QR code management platform. This is the best way to run efficient and influential QR code advertising campaigns. A typical QR code advertising campaign will utilize 100’s of unique QR codes to optimize analytic results. The advantage to this is having a complete platform making it simple to build, organize, deploy and track 100's of custom mobile landing pages and QR codes all under one platform. Advertising campaigns are robust in nature and mobile content needs to be targeted at publications, retailers, T.V. and the web with a variety of intentions in mind. There are several platforms on the web dedicated to QR code advertising management but I have only found one that combines page building, code management and tracking all in one solution.

The Tappinn QR code advertising solution.

Mobile site and 'QR-connected' landing page building on Tappinn
-Upload images on pages and link them anywhere on the web
-Create links that will prompt the phone to call or email a specific contact
-Build mobile user submission forms (email, name, age, address, ect.) within pages to collect user info (enter to win or signup)
-Create links to social profiles and blogs
-Virtual address cards (vCards) that can be downloaded directly your phone with one touch
-Customize button and background colors for a unique combination
-Tappinn pages automatically include share links to FB, Twitter, email and "like" button
-Pages can be turned into QR codes to share  
-Update and change page content in real time  
-Alias URL's for targeted branding

QR Code management and tracking platform on Tappinn
-Name and categorize QR codes for every application
-QR codes are stored on the platform under the pages that they generated for.
-Easily generate QR codes use them immediately in your advertising.
-Unlimited QR code generation and scans are allowed for no additional cost
-View top hit codes and pages, recent scans and pages landed on from the dashboard
-Track everything (page views, landing code, scans, geo locations, devices) and run CSV reports instantly

The question to use QR codes in your advertising has been answered. Now it becomes a matter of HOW. Remember, think BEYOND the CODE.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Designer QR Codes by Tappinn

Branded QR codes are awesome. There are so many possibilities with QR codes from a design perspective to make them unique. This process involves time and testing which is a drawback especially for a GIANT QR code campaign that deploys 100's of unique codes on different medias. The initial days of generating a QR code for a generic website are over. Strategy and design innovation are taking this channel to new levels and blurring the lines between "traditional" and "new" media. Scan this QR code and see for yourself!