Lack of imagination. I could leave this blog post at that and just about everyone would understand and agree, but for the sake of those who don’t necessarily like to see ideas crumble due to a lack of understanding (myself included) I’ll expand a bit.

Sean X. Cummings wrote the article “Why the QR code is failing” going into great depth on this topic explaining that most people believe the QR code to be useless, though we shouldn’t blame the QR code itself for this but rather the people implementing it. Companies love to pepper these little pixelated boxes on their billboards, posters, fliers and commercials to get you to go to their website. What’s the problem here? That it goes to their website. We can all agree it’s just the same or easier to open up your mobile browser and type in the company’s URL than to bring up the QR reader app, take a picture and wait to see if it read it correctly. There’s no added benefit and no incentive to look at a company website by these means.

What needs to happen is a bit of creativity. Connecting your QR code to something that will engage the audience and make them want to utilize this technology rather than pointing them to a business card when they know just how to find you from your advertisement anyway. Don’t make them do extra work to get to an end they’ve already met. Cummings mentions using a scavenger hunt — great! Maybe it points to a hidden video that describes something about the area they’re in and how your company has influenced it. Sustainability is big right now, right? How about pointing the code to another video explaining the process behind creating the 100-percent sustainable flier your audience is holding in their hand and how they can plant it in a pot of soil and flowers will grow? There are a million ideas you could come up with for QR codes that are far more engaging and useful than the surface-scratching method of attaching your website to it. Tom Fishburn of The Marketoonist (whose image we’ve used above) provides a fantastic example in his article where QR tags in New York City’s Central Park have created a rich and unique interactive experience that brings visitors closer to this historic landmark. Don’t give your audience busywork. Teach them something, reward them with something, play with them. As Plato has said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” What better way to connect with your audience?

Did I mention there are also branding and design opportunities for these drab black and white stamps themselves?

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