Many people in the West have long decried the usefulness of the QR Code, claiming that it will never really take off as a successful call-to-action and is basically a technology best left to the machines from which it came. But step off the airport in Beijing or Tokyo and you’ll see the situation is completely the opposite – advertisements are plastered with QR Codes, companies try to outdo one another with colored and branded QR Codes and everywhere people are scanning them.
Moving to Mobile – QR Codes in Asia
So what does Asia have that we don’t? Well, a lot of things. And among them is quick adaption to the mobile technology that is overtaking the stationary technology that most of us have grown up with. Westerners are still slightly behind their Asian contemporaries when it comes to managing our information and moving our data to the mobile world. In China, the importance of your smartphone equals, if not surpasses, your computer and they are quick to soak up all appliances that help make the move between the physical world and the mobile world quick and easy – just like QR Codes.
Innovative Asian QR Code campaigns
Another critical difference is the fluidity and creativity with which QR Codes are now being used in the East. Far from simply leading to a company’s website when scanned, Asian QR Codes are being used for virtual shopping, like the Korean commuters who grocery shop on the subway, or Alibaba who offered a lottery ticket to scanners to promote a shopping event. Chinese people circumvent the complexity of searching for names in Chinese via the social media brands like WeChat, Sina Weibo and Renren by simply using codes that follow accounts when scanned. And another important difference is that Asian companies are much more aware of the importance of appearance – every company tries to make their code more attractive, more colorful and more memorable – Renren has even incorporated Visualead’s technology to offer animated gif codes to their users for their profile pages.
These are all great examples of how the QR Code can be used as a viable, creative tool for marketing, data sharing and social media, among other various fields. If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that the QR Code isn’t a failed technology – companies in the West simply haven’t yet figured out that using attractive codes and innovative ideas is the direction to take if they want to market them successfully to their customers.
Want to join the QR Code revolution?
Share your creative ideas for using QR Codes in the comments below!