“Public relations are a key component of any operation in this day of instant communications and rightly inquisitive citizens.” — Alvin Adams
The QR code has been around since the mid-90s. Originally invented to improve the manufacturing process of vehicles and parts, they are now being used for a myriad of applications, including for facilitating touchless food orders and entertainment access. The world of marketing and public relations was among the first industries to apply QR codes outside of its original purpose. So, what are some of the best ways to use QR codes in marketing communications and public relations? Read on.
History and usage
Although QR codes have recently become more prominent, the technology goes as far back as the 1960s. According to this article by QRcode.com, it started with the QR code’s precursor, the barcode, which started in Japan during a period of economic growth. As more people went to supermarkets, cashiers had to manually put in every code for items, leading to repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. With the creation of barcodes, cashiers were able to scan the 20-character alphanumeric code and alleviate this problem. However, they had their limitations as only so much information can be stored in 20 characters. It was from this necessity that the QR code was born. With a 2D code that can store much more information, the QR code is now used globally and has seen increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic. As this article by Martech Alliance mentions, the global market size for QR codes are projected to reach $1268.1 million by 2026, leaving much opportunity for professionals to take advantage of their utility.
How to use a QR code
As this article by PRSA explains, one of the first and more popular ways that professionals are currently using QR codes is for sending consumers and media directly to a site for information. But these codes are not limited to simply sending someone to a website as the article elaborates further by mentioning how they can be used to create flyers, create easy access for media and press kits, and can even be added to television and online commercials. Yet another instance of how the QR code has been used is at smaller institutions such as museums to help people engage with Facebook pages and post their own experiences. With all of these possibilities and more to be discovered, the article concludes with the statement that “the sooner we understand mobile technology’s capabilities via the QR code, the better.”
How to make a QR code
Now that we have a gist understanding of what the QR can do for the professional, it is time to know how to make one. This article by HubSpot contains a form to create a QR code. However, it also provides further step-by-step information on what you should have in mind before proceeding. This information includes: “choosing the type of content you’re promoting, entering the data in the form, considerations for a dynamic QR code, customization of the code, testing it to make sure it scans, sharing it once it has been made, and tracking and analyzing its performance.”
For more information on the differences between barcodes and QR codes, how they work, and the do’s and don’ts of implementing them, you can visit the mentioned link. In essence, QR codes can be put to good use in business-to-business marketing communications & PR. Contact St. Conti for your trade industry public relations needs.
A version of this post was previously published on the St. Conti Communications blog; reprinted with permission.