QR you?

Last week, we were in Berlin for a meeting. Amidst the anticipated misty November cold and the seemingly constant aroma of bratwurst and cinnamon roasted almonds, I was surprised to see QR codes almost everywhere I looked.

This got me thinking about QR codes and why we don’t seem to have embraced them in Britain as much as our European counterparts.

Let’s start from the beginning.

What are QR codes?

Originating in Japan, QR codes have been around for a few years. QR stands for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by mobile phones). They work like barcodes by directing anyone who scans the code to a piece of information (usually a webpage). Typically, they’re used for marketing purposes on print media (like magazines and flyers), billboards and even promo hats and t-shirts.

QR codes Berlin

Reading a code

You can read a QR code either with an application that you’ve downloaded or via software that’s already on your phone.

Creating a code

There are lots of websites that generate QR codes for free. You simply enter the target URL and the tool will generate a downloadable QR code. Good free QR code generators include GO QR, Kaywa and QR Stuff.


Personally, I’m unsure how I feel about certain uses of QR codes. A lot of companies have misused them in the last couple of years, which has led to many people considering them as a little bit gimmicky.

Having said that, there are many great ways you can use them (I have one on my business card). If using a QR code will benefit the user in some way (save them time or effort, for example), you can justify using one. However, it’s important to proceed with caution and remember that users have certain expectations when they scan a QR code, so don’t leave them disappointed; make sure it’s worth their while.

Think about practicality. Consider whether they will be able to get close enough to the QR code to scan it. It doesn’t make much sense having one high up on billboard on a busy road. Nor does it seem like a good idea to have one on the bottom of a Boeing 747.

For tips, advice and support on all things digital/markety, get in touch with Group Dane.


Learning from Obama

US President, Barack Obama, has just won a second term in office. What can your business learn from his election campaign?

Take gambles

Sometimes you just have to take chances. The Obama campaign made a big gamble when they turned negative after Mitt Romney captured the Republican primary. Obama’s attacking rhetoric branded Romney (a former investment manager) a corporate vulture, accusing him of putting good Americans out of work.

Clearly, this approach worked well for the President, but taking this line was a big gamble at the time. I’m not suggesting you verbally attack your competitors, but if you want to be victorious in business, you need to take gambles.

But remember that it’s crucial to take educated risks wherever possible. Don’t forget that Obama’s gambles were highly researched, carefully planned and always executed with a comprehensive fall-back strategy.

Albeit on a smaller scale, you need to do the same in business decision-making. When making decisions, calculate the probability of each possible scenario and plan for best, moderate and worst case outcomes.

Show strength

With the bin Laden raid and his war on terror suspects abroad, Obama adopted the image of a steely commander-in-chief keeping Americans safe. He used this as a key symbol of strength as a unique selling point.

If you’re going to instil customer confidence in your business, you need to show strength in areas your competitors can’t demonstrate.

Think about your unique selling point and exploit your competitors’ weaknesses or lack of experience in these areas.

Take a new approach

For the second election running, Obama’s campaign reinvented the way presidential elections are won.

The President’s path to victory lay in the most sophisticated voter targeting and turn-out methods in history. Think about how you can target your customers more efficiently and encourage them to “turn out” for you.

People don’t vote for political parties; they vote for people. Similarly, customers don’t choose to buy from companies, they choose buy from people.

Think about your customers and their needs. How can you make a real connection with them? Let your unique voice speak through your business.

Going Social

If ever there was an example of the power of social media it’s the latest presidential election. As expected, Obama echoed his 2008 campaign by demonstrating his social media prowess. Although Mitt Romney increased his social media presence hugely compared to 2008 candidate John McCain, Obama remained in poll position. Pre polling day, Obama achieved 1,124,175 Facebook likes, compared with Romney’s meagre 633,597. On Twitter, Obama was retweeted 150,106 times compared with Romney’s 8,601.

Some of the fastest, most effective ways to reach your audiences include social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Think about how you can use Obama’s online campaign as a model to help you gain competitive advantage in your business area.

For a social media campaign fit for a President, get in touch with Group Dane.