Monday, November 26, 2012

QR codes are bad for your brand

The much hyped QR code has crashed as fast as The Philadelphia Eagles season.  But unlike the Eagles, I like the QR code and believe it has it's place (I suppose the Eagles have their place too hopefully helping teams like the Bucs earn a wildcard spot.  Go Bucs!).  But I digress.

Putting a QR code on a promotional product is bad for your brand.  A QR code essentially hides valuable information and requires someone to scan the code to find the information (and that requires someone to have the app installed and know how to use it).  When it comes to using promotional products, this is not such a great idea. Why fill space with an image no one will scan?  The power of promotional products it to promote your brand. Put a logo in that space, not a QR code.

Sure, there are exceptions, but they are very few and far between.  And there are ways to make it work, but why?

QR codes are not all that great even on paper, but at least on paper they make more sense.  Here are a few potentially good uses of QR codes:

  • Put a QR code on the back of your business card with all your contact information.  This allows someone to scan your contact details rather than rekey it.
  • Put QR codes on packaging to take someone directly to a webpage on a site related to the item purchased.  This is great for wines and food to help provide more details about the product or to take someone to a product manual.
  • Put QR codes on posters to make it easy to get more information.

Very few people will take the time to scan a QR code.  Very few.  In fact, I personally prefer a short URL like http://ow.ly/fA3PT.  You can have your own custom URL tool from services like bit.ly which allows you to buy your own URL shortner (so Geiger could buy Geiger.co and all Geiger links could be something like geiger.co/x34s2).

So don't waste your clients brand putting a QR code on promotional products.  Recommend they steer clear of them unless you are managing their packaging or other print related materials.  Or just ask them when was the last time they scanned a QR code?