Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas recently, WPP chief executive, Martin Sorrell, told a packed audience that mobile advertising has become the most important trend in the industry, thanks to the exponential growth of internet-enabled mobile phones which are key to the industry’s future.

This statement, from one of today’s greatest advertising minds, reinforces the need for those in the offline advertising markets to consider their future business models and evaluate how best to engage with the change in the populations use of mobile technology.

Those in the offline advertising arena are being challenged to come up with creative means for adding another dimension to the once one dimensional media of print.  Whilst printed media will always have a role to play in advertising, consumers are demanding content that engages with their online lifestyles.  There are 5,000,000,000 Mobile handsets in the world today[i] of which 39% are internet enabled[ii]..  This figure is predicted to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next few years, as churn of standard mobile phones is replaced by today’s modern smartphone.

The tech-savvy Japanese market are way ahead of the curve with this challenge and have been using 2 dimensional barcodes on printed media for a number of years.  You will see 2d Barcodes all over Japan, anywhere from food packaging, newspapers, T-Shirts to 48 sheet billboards.  They have even appeared on building facades.  These barcodes are read/scanned using any internet enabled mobile phone with an on-board camera and once scanned; launch the handsets web browser to deliver media rich online content.  Here lies another dimension for print media…

As the US and European markets catch up with mobile handset technology with advent of smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, which are now replacing the standard handset in these areas, we too can now bring printed media to life and deliver the immense mass of online content to the mobile consumer.

Imagine, being able to link online content to a piece of POS, or a Press Ad..  What about personalised Direct Mail?  All of these examples are now possible by simply adding a 2d barcode to your print media and delivering media rich, up to the minute content instantaneously to the consumers’ channel of choice – Mobile.

The most popular form of 2d barcode being used in this emerging market is the Quick Response Code, or QR Code as it is better known.  Originally developed for tracking car parts around the Toyota manufacturing operations in Japan in 1994, the QR code is now being used by global advertising brands to deliver mobile content from offline media.  Whilst the technology is not new, the delivery points are and are destined to become common place in today’s mobile market.

QR Codes can be encoded to contain vCards, VEvents, SMS Messages, Geo Location data, Email messages, Text based content and of course URLs.  As the technology has grown from within the underworld Open Source community, we are now starting to see new and innovative ways in which these amazing barcodes are starting to be used.  In recent months, we have witnessed QR Codes being used for interactions like; Instant Charitable donation giving, Social Media Check-in’s and connection exchanges.  Most recently, pURLs have been embedded within QR Codes for the ultra-personalised mobile experience. We have even seen them appearing on clothing and toilet rolls…

We are not from the stable that believes printed media is on the way out – in fact far from it.  But, Print Media does need that 2nd dimension to really engage with today’s tech-savvy consumer and QR Codes may well be the means to achieve this.

Another major feature of QR Code marketing is the ability to track and analyse consumer engagement with your print media advertising.  Free online services like QRtag provide you with the ability to not only generate your own QR Codes, but also track scan interactions, along with providing you with an amazing array of scan analytics on location, handset and media usage.  Totally aligned to today’s world of measureable advertising, QR Codes will stand up and be counted as part of advertising’s ROI measurement!

To join the QR Code revolution, simply download a QR Code reader app to your Mobile – Text the word i-nigma to: 07797882325. You will receive back an SMS containing a link to the i-nigma software download site – the rest is simple.  I-Nigma is just one of literally hundreds of free mobile bar code scanning apps available across, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian app marketplaces.  If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry, i-nigma will work on any mobile phone that has a camera and web browser installed.

Here are a few examples for you to play with..  Simply scan the QRazyCodes below and see where the QR journey takes you:

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There is a wealth of additional content available online about QR Codes – why not start with checking out the links below.  The authors of this article regularly publish information rich content via Social Media platforms – a great place to gain knowledge from today’s online world:

Free Online Generator and Analytics Platform

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Clothing Web Site

Author:  Martin Rides, CEO, QRazystuff.com & QRt.ag

QR Code Consultants

As QR Codes start to make an impression on the world of marketing, we are witnessing a number of people developing some truly innovative uses for the humble QR Code.  In this post, we feature two of the best applications that we’ve come across from the QR community over the past couple of months.  It’s becoming very clear that as companies and entrepreneurs wake up to the potential to link the physical to digital in a mobile environment, there’s a stampede towards developing innovative ways to apply QR Code technology.  The applications we look at in this post are really just the beginning of what will come as QR Codes hit the mainstream.

X Marks the Spot from Terence Eden

Location Based Services (LBS) are all the rage at the moment and are likely to continue to grow as the ‘check in world’ spreads through the likes of Facebook Places.  The problem, which Terence has tackled head on, is that there are a number of LBS products out in the wild, all of which require you to fire up a proprietary app on your smartphone to enable you to check-in.  Before Facebook Places was launched, the likes of FoursquareGowalla and Rummble already had a massive and active fan base.  These are loyal fans and actually the number of sign up’s to Foursquare and Gowalla has continued to grow even in the countries where Facebook Places has been launched. What this means is that we are unlikely to see a Facebook monopoly when it comes to Location Check-Ins – what we will see is the likes of Foursquare, Gowalla, Rummble and many others happily co-existing in the LBS world.  Not only that, but many people are known to support more than one LBS, so the thought of opening up multiple apps and performing a check in for each is not a great user experience.

The solution Terence has been working on ‘X Marks the Spot‘ (a much better product name than Gowalla by the way), removes the need for multiple apps for a LBS check-in.   The XMTS check in process centres around the use of a location specific QR Code, which once scanned will take you to a Mobile Site with each of the LBS services for that location listed on the landing page.  It’s then a simple process of selecting the LBS you want to check in with and hey presto – check in complete!

As a proof of concept, here’s the XMTS QR Code for the QRazystuff.com HQ which Terence kindly produced for us.

Here’s the presentation for X Marks the Spot Terence delivered to BarCamp Brighton 5 in October of this year.  You can also download the audio to accompany the presentation here

Terence is at the forefront of the UK’s evolving Mobile Tech industry and has been working in the world of QR Codes for sometime.  He’s an active blogger and someone you should definitely connect with.  Follow him on Twitter and don’t forget to sign up to his Blog as well.

Facebook LIKES from Likify.net

With just cause, Marketers are obsessed with generating traffic to their Social Media sites.  It’s a no-brainer that Social Media not only influences purchases, but can also have a significant impact on brand perception.  This and no doubt many other factors have created a desire to drive brands to the likes of Facebook & Twitter in their droves.

Word of Mouth is recognised as the most powerful form of marketing.  In Social Media, the closest you can get to a personal recommendation is probably a Facebook LIKE for a brand.  When you LIKE a page, you are telling your friends and potentially their friends, that this is a Page/Brand that you are happy with and want to share with the world – a marketers dream!

The vast majority of Facebook LIKE actions are currently done whilst someone is sitting in front of their PC (supposed to be working), but what happens when you are out and about and see something or come across a brand you want to connect with or just shout about on Facebook?   As the world becomes more mobile, the ability to LIKE ‘things’ or brands whilst on the move will become common place.   In recognition of this,  Belgian based company Boondoggle Lifelabs has created a new service called Likify, which centres around using QR Codes to generate Facebook LIKE actions from your smartphone.  The service is actually really cool, but at the same time relatively simple.

When creating a Facebook LIKE QR Code on the Likify site, you simply encode your Facebook Page URL, upload an image for the Mobile landing page and then generate the QR Code itself.  Likify handles the techie stuff; automatically creating the Facebook LIKE plug-in script for your page and then neatly presenting the Facebook LIKE button on the Mobile landing page itself.

Click on the image below to enlarge it.  Once done, give the QR Code a scan and slap a LIKE on the QRazystuff.com Facebook Page – it’s magic!

Whilst we acknowledge that the Likify service is a neat way of presenting mobile LIKE actions, it only really replicates what a QR Code can do if directed to a Facebook Page.  The user experience may be simpler and perhaps better from a mobile than clunking around a Facebook page, but there’s no real magic yet.  We’ve also seen reports on various blogs claiming that the Likify service will create LIKEs for products or ‘things’.  The reality is that unless there’s a page on Facebook for the product, you can’t create a LIKE for it.  Can’t really see a Supermarket listing every item they stock as individual Facebook pages..

We’ll be posting more news about innovation from the world of QR Codes soon as well as some of our own innovations, so make sure you sign up for the Blog Updates and don’t forget that all important Facebook LIKE!

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Following our “Building a Music Brand with QR Codes” post, we have continued to track the incredible success of the UK’s latest music sensation, Labrinth.  If you haven’t heard of Labrinth yet, you certainly will do.  He has raced into the UK charts with his single release ‘Let the Sun Shine’ , currently occupying No. 2 spot in the UK  iTunes download chart.  He’s destined to top the charts within the next week, as the single, which was officially released at the weekend gets more play time on the UK’s radio stations.

Labrinth originally came to our attention, having come across the pre-launch social media campaign, devised by London based Digital Marketing agency, Punktilio.  The campaign stood out, as it centred around the use of QR Codes in the creation of the Labrinth brand and the use of QR Codes across the social media platforms like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube & Twitter.  As an aside, we reported that at the beginning of September, Labrinth had attracted 316,413 channel views on his YouTube site – this figure has now rocketed to a staggering 1,293,800, proving the awesome power of Social Media in today’s modern world of marketing a musician’s brand.

The advertising campaign for Labrinth’s single hit the streets of London at the weekend, with a massive urban ad campaign using QR Codes once again.  All across London, we saw Labrinth posters featuring QR Codes, which resolved to a specific page that offered free downloads from the Labrinth web site..  They appeared in every conceivable place from pedestrian crossings to shop windows.

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This form of urban advertising is a radical move for the UK music industry, but one that fits perfectly with the Labrinth brand and also with his already massive fan base.  It’s widely recognised that there is a natural fit with the youth market and their use of Mobile technology, which adds significant weight to the Love Affair between Music and QR Codes.

It was also great to see Labrinth using QR Codes as a response mechanism on his official poster advertising as well.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see a QR Code (with instructions) on the bottom left hand corner of this poster (Click image to enlarge).

QRazystuff.com is really excited about this brave foray into the use of Mobile Bar Codes by the music industry.  There are significant opportunities for the world’s music industry to embrace the youth market through their communications channel of choice ‘Mobile’ .  QR Codes, and perhaps more importantly update-able QR Tags can deliver new and exciting means of brands engaging with their fans via the Mobile channel.

Labrinth is not only known as a leading Music producer and solo artist, but has also made the headlines recently, as one of the coolest fashion icons in the music industry.  He recently appeared at London Fashion Week and has been quoted as “implementing uniqueness into his day to day wear”.  The ‘uniqueness’ comment is also reflected in his management’s approach to advertising as well.

If Labrinth’s management team wished to extend the use of QR Codes and fashion, we’ll be waiting by the phone for that merchandising deal!  We’ve been quoted before in our Blog promoting the idea of musicians using QR Tagged clothing or other merchandise to not only promote a unique style of merchandising, but also providing a means of promoting targeted messaging to a loyal fan base. Wait…. is that the phone ringing?

Meantime, “Let the Sun Shine”…

P.S  When Labrinth’s management team want to get in touch, full contact details are on our web site

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A major feature of the QRazystuff.com site and products is our customers unique ability to change the destination/content of their QR Tags.  Hot on the heels of the site launch last month, we’re delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Update your Tag’ feature as of today (16/9/2010).

Our QR Tags are for life!  So there’s no need to change the design or purchase a new T-Shirt or Hoodie, when you want to change the content of the QR Code on your garments, just simply visit the members section of the QRazystuff.com web site, login and then ‘Update your Tag’.

The next time your Tag is scanned, the content will have changed to whatever you want.  Update your Tag to reflect your mood, or promote your Social Media presence, or why not add your telephone number when out with the crowd.  The opportunities are endless and so much fun.

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Over recent months we have been tracking a Music Artist, Labrinth who is destined to become the next UK artist to hit the big time.   Our interest in this particular artist, apart from the fact he has been signed up by Simon Cowell’s label ‘SYCO Music’, was originally sparked by his use of Mobile Bar Codes (QR Codes) in Lab’s brand advertising.

SYCO Music engaged London based Digital Marketing Agency, Punktillo, to develop a sophisticated online marketing campaign, to establish the Labrinth brand in readiness for the release of his first Single – ‘Let The Sun Shine’ which goes on sale on 26th September 2010.  The campaign has been running for at least 2 months and crossed all Social Media platforms, including; YouTubeFacebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Content Manager Leif Johnson at Punktillo, told QRazystuff “The thing QR codes do for Labrinth is at first glance they look like a ‘Labyrinth’ or maze. So this has made things a little easier for us due the the QR Codes initial aesthetic. Labrinth is best known as a producer and the genius behind Tinie Tempha’s ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’. To start with Labrinth was practically faceless which we used to our advantage by implementing the QR Codes as a way to get to the enigma that is Labrinth. So keeping him illusive and using a QR Code on his facebook rather than a picture of Labrinth himself helped make people use the QR Codes to find out more.”

Central to the brand building exercise has been the use of Video content to deliver the brand message and enable viral video messaging to drive up Labrinth’s following in readiness for his Single release.  The Labrinth YouTube channel already has 651 subscribers and 316,413 channel views.  The first in a series of videos features an animated Labrinth character using QR Codes to deliver hidden messages and set up a campaign that will ultimately engage a mobile savvy audience with the Labrinth brand.

Leif continued, “For the past few months we’ve had to create online content for Labrinth because his single ‘Let The Sun Shine’ was still not released. So we made a series of viral videos with one off tracks produced by Labrinth that you can be linked to via QR Codes. Plus at the end of these videos there are QR Codes that direct people to the facebook, twitter or just secret messages about up and coming shows or the single release.”

Labrinth’s Facebook Page also consistently features QR Codes, which resolve to all manner of relevant content.  Codes have included Competition Entry, Secret Messaging & Video content and we’ve been lead to believe this is just the start of it for Labrinth and QR Codes.

The latest in the series of videos, which was shot at the V Festival demonstrates the QR Code messaging Leif refers to, whereby the QR Code at the end of the transmission resolves to a data collection site for followers to sign up to Labrinth’s newsletters.

Leif concluded “We also had a T-Shirt made to get the idea of QR Codes out there for his performance with Tinie Tempah at T4 on the beach. QR codes are the link to Labrinth’s world and QR Code users will be rewarded for scanning them. Looking forward that’s all we can say as future QR Code ideas are to be kept well and truly under our hats.”

From our perspective, it’s great to see yet another twist in the marriage between Music & QR Codes, this time we applaud Leif and his team at Punktillo for not only delivering a well planned and perfectly executed Social Media campaign, but also for recognising that Labrinth’s target audience will be Mobile savvy and will engage with Mobile Bar Codes, providing there is relevant content waiting for them behind the codes.

Hopefully sometime soon we will see Labrinth hitting the Music industry headlines with a QR Code or two in sight – perhaps we might see a QRazystuff Hoodie on Labrinth or perhaps even Simon Cowell…

Preview the “Let The Sun Shine” Single

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