Wednesday, September 7, 2011

7 Triggers of Fascination in QR Codes

Sally Hogshead’s book, Fascinate, explains the 7 triggers that ignite fascination and ways you can incorporate it into your brand. The book was fantastic and it immediately got me thinking about QR codes and what makes them fascinating to the masses. Since our brains are wired to crave fascination, 2D barcodes honestly look like the perfect prompt heading into a mobile future with faster devices and cheaper data plans. Here’s why.

QR Codes really do fascinate people. I’m not just saying this because I have a blog about QR codes and a company based around them. I think it can actually be proven.  There’s a unique combination of mystery, expectancy and empowerment behind QR codes that cannot be explained by previous generations of marketers. Sure, there ARE other emerging technologies that bridge the physical-digital world gap, but can any of them compete for fascination with QR codes?

Take one look at Patrick Donnelly's designer QR codes (above) and tell me they aren't fascinating 

Sally makes the case that the first 9 seconds are most critical to any personal introduction. You can easily argue that the same rules apply for 2D barcodes and the branded content that is behind them. QR codes start a conversation with their natural fascination triggers, but the brand must deliver the correct experience to extend the conversation. This is where relevancy and value come in. The voice that your brand sends is return of a QR code scan can make or break your first impression. This is why custom mobile landing pages built around context are so important to successful QR codes.

Sally Hogshead's 7 triggers of fascination are below along with my two cents about how each can influence QR code scanning. According to the book most brands dial in on a primary and secondary trigger that work off each other. You could make the case for several of these could be primary triggers for qr codes. I say all these triggers can be influences for QR codes!  Leave a comment and let me know what triggers of fascination you think QR codes ignite.

#1 Power – Knowledge is power. Consumers want command. I call this "instant gradification-education" The act of scanning a 2D code produces instant results. Like search, power shifts to the consumer who is hunting for content. 

#2 Prestige – Taste makers. Tech snobs? This was a primary trigger in the beginning of QR code marketing, before they became so accessible.  It was prestigious when Ralph Lauren put out the first QR codes in the U.S. They were a symbol of the future without being useful. 

#3 Mystique – All about arousing curiosity. Hmm, big win for QR codes here! This is where “QR codes are ugly” actually helps. They have a maze-like aesthetic and are mysterious. We all naturally want know the answer to the puzzle. QR codes are ripe with mystique and a puzzle that's fast to solve.

#4 Alarm- Visual urgency.  This can definitely be a huge trigger for QR codes. Also, QR code frames play an important role.  The more value that is built in beyond the QR code, the more people will be likely to scan. I think this will be huge for QR rewards in the future. 

#5 Vice- QR code scanning is a quality pleasure? Not yet, but could be considering the offer ;) 

#6 Passion- Cash in on your passionate followers. These are people who will scan your QR code because it's YOU. Please don't let them down. 

#7 Trust- This is what QR codes lack. The reason for this is complicated. As a marketing community this is what we need to build on. Actually there IS a great way to recognize and trust a qr codes experience. Scan one with the red square in the corner


  1. Hi,

    I have gone through from your post it is nice. you have good defiend the QR Codes, it is barcodes used in advertising and marketing. To know more about the QR codes kindly visit at QR Codes

  2. Great vid. Gonna start pulling triggers.

  3. QR codes have recently introduced a significant impact on mainstream marketing landscape, the people who buy through their smart mobile device product and service mode.

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