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.