No PR for QR

Here’s the problem we face, no one knows what these strange boxes are. Well, saying no one is a little to harsh, it’s more like 1 out of 5 of us know what they are. The percentage gets even lower when you figure in how many of the 1 in 5 actually scan them.  Needless to say, QR has a major PR problem.

There are a lot of marketers out there that think flooding the print ad world with QR codes will work. These marketing types think people will be curious enough to figure it out for themselves, what the strange boxes are and how to scan them. That’s all well and good if everyone is like me, but they’re not. I can count on one hand the amount of people I know that understand enough about QR codes to scan them regularly. This flood the market mentality is obviously not working.

It’s not a matter of the technology being useless, or even if we’ve passed it by. A well placed QR code can be very helpful. The problem is that the public has not been properly educated on QR codes. Currently, when QR codes are being used the most instruction you’ll see is “Scan this.” This leaves the normal person asking, “What is it? Scan it with what? Do I just take a picture of it?”

We need to treat QR like a cup of McDonald’s coffee.  Coffee drinkers know that the coffee inside the cup will be hot, but the unaware need a little warning so they won’t burn their tongues. An instruction if you will; “Contents may be hot.”  The same goes for QR codes.

We need to help the passer-by know how to get a scanner (Search your device’s app store for a “QR Reader”), how to scan the code (open the scanner app and hold it over the code), and what will happen after you scan it (Facebook page, entry form, map location, website, instructional video, etc.). There is nothing inviting about just seeing a QR code if you don’t know what’s going to happen when you scan it. A little instruction will go a long way.

We can’t just let this bridge between static advertising and dynamic digital interaction just fad away. We must try harder to educate, and use QR codes in a manner that makes sense. Otherwise,  

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