QR Codes are largely a retailer’s marketing tool but Briggs Communications sees an opportunity to adopt QR Codes in communications strategy for issues of a more serious nature.
QR Code (short for Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of barcode that has fast readability and large storage capacity compared to regular UPC barcodes. They are now regularly used in marketing and advertising as a digital engagement tool directing audiences from promotional material (signage and printed advertising) to particular online information. QR codes are being used more widely as the rise of the smartphone puts an easily accessible barcode reader in the hands of average Australians.
According to a major study released by Google last year, Australia has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world (behind Singapore) with 37% of Australians using smartphones. See Google’s research findings:http://www.ourmobileplanet.com/omp/T2015575670). But it seems we are only at the beginning of an upward trend. Google’s research found that four out of five respondents who have a smartphone said it was their first one, and one in three said they had bought their smartphone in the last six months.
Retailers, especially in fashion and lifestyle, are the leading users of QR codes. When fashion retailer Sportsgirl closed their Chapel St store in Melbourne for renovation recently, they used QR codes to continue shopping capabilities and maintain a relationship with their customers. The shopfront became ‘The Sportsgirl Window Shop’ – a wall featuring images of garments, each with the price and a QR code beside it. Scanning the barcode directed customers to the purchase page for that garment in Sportsgirl’s online store. This strategy enabled 24/7 shopping for their customers even while the store was closed for renovations. Read the story here Sportsgirl Introduces Innovative QR Code Feature.
In a public relations and in particular during a crisis, there’s an opportunity to use this technology more widely in campaigns that address more serious issues. Successful and meaningful public relations is about influence and information transfer. Innovative use of available technology can facilitate more efficient delivery of messages, and a greater impact on the behavior of a target audience.
There is great potential for QR codes to work for awareness and behavioral change campaigns that rely on information transfer in public spaces. At Briggs Communications we believe this tool can be used in communications strategy to improve the impact of safety signage, tourist information, and even messages that are important to the cultural and language diverse community. Consider how a safety information sign on a beachfront could quickly direct an international tourist to a web page showing the translated message in their language, simply by scanning a QR code on the sign.
Applying innovative strategy to tackle important problems can make your public relations plan really fly. From mobile shopping to public safety, the opportunities are there for smart, forward-thinking public relations staff to harness technology and put it to work in communications strategy.
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