Monday, 5 December 2011

QR codes, a step-by-step guide

QR code technology was created in 1994 by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave, initially QR codes were developed to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, though we have seen a resurgence in recent years in the realm of advertising.

I always thought Wiki code, would have made a better ‘less techy’ name for the common QR code, either way if you would like to know how to make them, follow the guide below and you’ll be creating them in no time.

According to statistics, the most popular operating system used to scan QR codes in Australia is a bit of a tight rope between Apple iOS and Android. The Apple iOS (iPhone) being the most popular, followed closely by the Android 4.0 (Linux system).

As the popularity of QR codes in marketing grows in Australia, as will the reliance of using this medium as a quick and easy way to move dynamic content and material.

Why use QR codes?
We talk a lot about the social media revolution, think of QR codes like the content revolution, it’s a crisp and creative way to extend your customer’s experience with your brand and more importantly it’s a way to do the same thing with someone who is NOT your customer…yet!

Hint: if you’re looking for a career in marketing or communications and you want to show innovation, why not creatively incorporate a QR code in your application/resume, it’ll be a sure winner.

Tell the story
You can’t always be around to elaborate on your material, so use something that most people have on them all the time…a smartphone.

You can use QR codes on any number of signage, brochures, packaging, etc. just be sure not to use them ‘just because’. With no value add or by giving nothing to a fellow QR code scanner, you take away a possible experience, so always ask you self, ‘Why should I include a QR Code?’.

The end is near, for ‘paper forms’
Even in today's world with all the gimmicks, why do people ask you to sign up on paper? Make life easier for both you and the person signing up and instead, have them scan the QR code, which takes them to a form and a special offer; easy right?

Breathe life into print
Whether you’re building a website, a brochure or simply a one paged publication, it’s all about the user experience. What if you want to deliver more images, video or something more compelling? A QR Code part of the copy may just be the easiest and cheapest way to do this.

Here’s the point: the best reason for using QR codes is to extend the content experience and engagement with your brand. Learn to leverage this for your business and you’re well on your way to building some real digital marketing.

Step-by-step guide to create QR codes that you can track
1. Go to the website http://www.snap.vu/ and sign up to an account

2. Click on the tab named "New web snapcode".
3. In the textbox marked "Web Address (required)" enter the URL that the QR code needs to link to.
4. In the textbox marked "Your Reference" enter a link reference name.
5. Click on "Create snapcode".

6. Then right click on the URL link for the newly created snapcode, and select "Copy shortcut".

[[START FROM STEP 7 (below) IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO TRACK THE QR CODE]]

7. Now go to the website http://www.qrstuff.com/
8. Select the [1] Data Type i.e. website URL.

9. On the [2] Content Section, right click on the "Website URL" textbox and paste the copied link.
10. Select QR Code [3] Foreground Colour and select the [4] Output Type.

QR code size:
Though you can get away with having quite small QR codes, the recommended size for a QR code is a minimum dimension size: 32 × 32 mm (1.25 × 1.25 inches)

NOTE: Make sure you test the QR code to check if it goes to the right link.

THE MORAL:
URLs are old school, and QR codes are new age. With mobile technology advancing all the time, people have a thirst to consume information faster than ever before. QR codes may just assist you in delivering just that. And remember, be sure they add value!

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For the record:
QR Codes are useful but are NOT the next biggest thing. 
My reaction when a client insists they are:
Hosted by imgur.com
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

4 things to do first on social media

You have a website, now what?

It's still somewhat surprising, that businesses (both online & traditional) are still in the dark about social media and what to do first.

So below are 4 things to take care of first, on social media:

1. Get access:
Is your I.T. department part of the silly bunch who still blocks YouTube, Facebook or Twitter? A study conducted by The University of Melbourne has found that, basically, you’re 9% more productive then someone who doesn’t surf the web (non-work related surfing).

Video sum up of the study (University of Melbourne): http://youtu.be/Ga-8__7tgkE if you prefer to read about it, click here.

2. Get a copy of your company’s social media guidelines:
A quick search on Google, for some of the bigger companies such as Telstra, Deloitte, etc have their internal social media guidelines available for download, and if you’re lucky enough to develop guidelines for your company, remind everybody they are called guidelines, not roadblocks.

3. Ask yourself three questions first:
What is your strategy? What do you want to achieve? What is the ideal situation in your view? So, if social media can’t help you achieve your core marketing objectives, then maybe there is no place for it in your strategy at all.

4. Get stuck into some digital exploration:
Companies of all sizes, should know what people are saying about their brand. There is a range of free tools to measure, monitor and listen to what people are saying about you and your brand a couple good ones are:
- http://www.socialmention.com/
- www.boardreader.com

And finally remember, the biggest mistake we see companies make when they first hit social media, is to think about it "as a channel to push out information."

THE MORAL:
The concept of 'word of mouth' has been a part of business since we as humans have been doing business and in essence, this is exactly what social media is…amplified, so this transforms to world of mouth. As far as social medal goes, if you want to see the value in it, USE IT!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Become your case study

Some say that if you wait until there is another case study in your industry or a case study at all, you'll be too late.

If you can find the perfect case study, use it!
Long ago, when modern day social media was merely crawling into our lives it was strange that management was still asking for a case study. Their requests were so specific that what they were actually looking for was a case study on either a competitor or ideally, one on their OWN COMPANY...umm ok?!

Risk for reward
In 2008 when I put the concept of social media forward to the executives of a major plaintiff law firm. It was a relatively new concept for most businesses; in fact many individuals in Australia were still in the experimental phase of it all. So anyway, I was asked for a case study to support the brief 2 page strategy on how social media (Facebook & YouTube in this instance) would work for them and how it would work for an Australian law firm. I can positively tell you, that in 2008, this case study did not exist; in fact, no other Aussie law firm had signed up to Facebook at all! Some second tier law firms were dabbling in Wikipedia, which was great, but no Facebook, a little YouTube, but not a great deal.

They asked for a case study, and...I gave it to them.

I sold the concept of "Let's BE the case study", in the form of "how about I just go ahead and create a...proof of concept..?" and thankfully it worked!

So yes this great Australian law firm, which I love with all my heart was not only the world's first law firm's to be listed on the stock exchange, but they were also the first Australian law firm to have a presence on social media as we know it today.

This may not have been the first chapter in my legacy, but it was a big chapter at the time; a bigger chapter for the firm that was, and the one that is.

The moral:
Become your case study and NEVER be afraid to experiment with your marketing, the WORST that can happen, is that you get a case study out of it.