What is a QR Code? What can they offer your business?

You may have noticed with the recent design updates to the site, I’ve also incorporated 2 QR codes on site (one for mobile, and one for standard).  So I thought I should explain what these are, and also where to get one for your own site.

So what is a QR Code? A QR Code is a matrix code (or 2D bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.  There are a number of features that sets the code apart and ahead of the standard bar code.

  • Small print out size
  • Kanji and kana capability
  • Dirt and damage resistant
  • Readable from any direction in 360°
  • Structured Append Feature

The Denso-Wave site (www.QRCode.com) offers an English version and demonstrates these features with detail and graphics.

I used Kaywa to generate my QR code for the site, and MoFuse (free mobile version site which I discussed recently) but you can download some premimum software from Denso-Wave.

But it’s one thing to understand QR Codes, but how to use them to better your business is where the real value lies. At the time of writing, MarketingMag actually discussed the topic and their video offered some great marketing tips:

Anthony McGregor Dey answers the questions what are QR Codes anyway and why the hell should I give a damn?

  • Must link to mobile content – don’t simply link them your homepage as this is not a good user experience..
  • make these an extension of your print story/campaign
  • Think creatively about what content you want to display on the mobile device

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 16 comments for this article
  1. Lee at 12:19 pm

    I only recently discovered these actually a friend at work showed me the translation software on his phone and where to get it for my iPhone.

    Interesting stuff and I was happy to say I knew exactly what you were talking about!

    Actually I just saw one on an advert for a phone (I think) on a bus stop.

  2. Jye at 1:37 pm

    It’s a really interesting space that I think is going to see a lot of growth, and as it’s started to pop up a lot more people were asking what it’s all about.

    Hope it helped.

  3. MarketingMag | Scott at 4:00 pm

    Hey Jye,

    I think that QR Codes are fascinating little things, but I’m mostly excited to see how they are incorporated into great executions.

    What examples do people have of excellent executions involving QR Codes?

    That’s my next quest :-)

    Good reading anyway, and you’re officially added tot he RSS reader, so there!

    Catch you soon mate,


  4. Jye at 4:06 pm

    Thanks, Scott.

    I totally agree: and hopefully the more we educate people about the best way to utilise these things the better the executions.

  5. Philip at 12:29 am

    Hi Jye,
    Nice introduction to QR Codes. Currently QR and other 2D Codes are getting more and more attention here in the US as well as in Europe. Ralph Lauren for example started a mobile campaign based on QR Codes not so long ago.

    Personally I am working on http://www.snappr.net, a website to allow you to create a variety of mobile content and link it with a 2D Code. You can promote your blog, pictures or band in an easy way and not only with a QR Code on your website but print it on shirts or similar merchandising.

    Perhaps that’s interesting for you guys. (Especially as Scott asked ‘What examples’ there are)


  6. Jye at 10:11 am

    Well that’s it isn’t – Australia I believe is yet to see a stand out camapaign. There’s even an argument that we’ve missed the boat – that it’s already outdated.

    Another, is that our non-tech consumers aren’t going to be as willing to utilise this service.

    We’ll all keep watching this space.

  7. James at 3:36 pm

    all i know is that when telstra starting using them in their marketing i started hating them. they actually seem pretty cool though.

  8. Jye at 4:10 pm

    That’s an interesting view point: if you don’t like a company, then you won’t like their new methods. Could even stop the technology taking off.

    I wonder if this happens with other technologies and evil corporates. Or it might work the other way round – like if Apple started them first – the fan boys would flock to it, and it might take off.

  9. Matt at 1:28 pm

    Hey Jye, I saw these at Splendour in the Grass and thought they were pretty cool – thanks for the heads-up on the system.

    When barcodes were first invented some Christian groups were convinced they all contained the numbers ’666′ and that Satan was using them to take over the world (read this article from ‘dial the truth ministeries’ if you’re interested: http://www.av1611.org/666/barcode.html).

    I wonder if the fundamentalists will be able spin this one too?


  10. Jye at 1:30 pm

    Oh wow – they were at Splendour? That’s really interesting – mainly because of the setting and demographic.

    Even more so, the context – I wanted to go this year – is like ‘an escape away’ – what kind of links/data did they provide?

    I think a lot of companies are looking at doing this – so if these types of demographics are interested that’s a good thing.

  11. Matt at 5:29 pm

    I don’t know what data was provided but they were on each ticket, so I’m presuming they held info on a person’s name, ticket number and D.O.B. (all of this info is printed on Splendour tickets to stop scalping, and it works a treat).

    You missed an amazing festival too! Splendour is my favourite – not too big, not too small, and everyone who’s there has tried REALLY hard to get there, so there’s no wankers like the Big Day Out.

  12. Jye at 5:38 pm

    Oh – now that’s a clever use. Let’s hope more companies can take that up.

    I saw Sigur Ros for their side show and I was very happy. It was amazing. Oh well – maybe next year.

  13. Jye Author at 8:30 am

    Thanks for the extra info Ian. Hope the readers find it valuable.

  14. Pingback: A Digital Perspective » Perception: QR Codes = Telstra?
  15. Lex at 4:27 am

    Every QR code has 3 cubes, every cube has 6 sides so 666.