QR codes have been around for over a decade but it wasn’t until the pandemic that people and brands really started to make the most of them.
Now, they are a popular marketing tool that gives businesses so many options to direct clients to their online platforms.
What is a QR code (and what does the QR stand for?)
QR codes, or Quick Response codes, have actually been around since 1994, when they were invented by a Japanese automotive company. They are basically a faster and higher-capacity version of a barcode that can store and link to URLs and other information.
To activate a QR code, all you have to do is open the camera on your phone. It will recognise it and direct you to the assigned web link.
Because QR codes are quite strange looking and people weren’t sure what to do with them at first, the technology languished, with its potential largely ignored for many years. However, during the pandemic, QR codes were placed at the front of almost every building. Once people finally got comfortable with using them, brands were able to leverage their incredible powers.
QR code ideas
Companies of all sizes are now using QR codes in a range of practical, creative and entertaining ways. Here are some ideas to take you into the new year:
QR codes on trade show displays and gifts
Having QR codes on your trade show displays and corporate gifts (or on the packaging) is an excellent way to gather customer details or continue the ‘conversation’ online.
Pop a QR code on your booth banners and on all your gifts (where appropriate), and you can steer potential clients to your website, to a sign up form or to a survey.
One idea is to use a QR code to allow people to enter their personal details for a brand activation. It’s faster and easier than using a web link.
Gift box QR codes with promotional offers
Gift boxes or packages are an excellent way to court leads or to keep your relationship strong with current clients and partners.
If you’re sending a gift of some branded merchandise, add a QR code that links to a promotional offer or additional information about your business. This can potentially give your website some additional traffic, which helps for SEO.
Don’t forget to track activity to see how effective your strategy is.
QR codes on business cards
Another one of many QR code ideas is to add a QR code to your Linkedin profile to your business cards. This way your clients can connect with you in a more permanent way.
Using a QR code is far easier than typing in a link! You can play around with colours; your code doesn’t have to be black and white.
Want more ideas? Have a look at 10 creative ways to use the mighty QR code
If your company ships products, then you should definitely consider QR code packaging if you haven’t already.
Big names like Coca-Cola, Amazon, and Pepsi-Co have all embraced QR codes on their packaging. Big brands like Hershey’s are using them to fight counterfeiting and Coca-Cola has found ways to make QR codes increase customer engagement and share information about the product’s journey.
How to create a QR code for free
QR codes have that unusual look about them, so many people assume they are tricky to create. However, making them takes a handful of clicks.
There are plenty of free tools online to create a QR code in a shape or colour you like.
A quick Google search for “free QR code generator” brings up dozens of options. Many of these free QR code generators can even place your logo in the centre of the QR code for some extra brand awareness. All you have to do is choose your design preferences and nominate the link you want the code to take you to.
Once you have created your QR code, you can download it and use it wherever you like.
Want to add QR codes to your next branded merchandise drive? Talk to us about your options.