QR code mistakes and how to avoid them for your event promotions

There’s a lot of chatter about whether QR codes (2D barcodes) are a technology for the future or are they just another fad. Here’s my take: I think they are still a viable technology for use in marketing and events in the future. The up and coming technology that could replace some QR code use is NFC (near field communications). However, that is a more sophisticated technology, the set up of which is out of the comfort zone of many businesses at present. As well, I find I still have to explain how to even use QR codes to visitors at many events I attend. Their use is still not as commonplace as the media would have you believe.
How to avoide QR code mistakes for your meeting and event promotions
However, I think many of the ways they are being used are fads. Seriously, Google “QR code waffle” and you’ll see what I mean.

Where most people get messed up with using them is treating a QR code like it’s a logo. Unless we’re living in a society of optical scanning robots, a QR code is NOT a logo. But I see so many people get so excited that they have one of these checkerboard wonders that they slap them on everything… and I mean everything! T shirts, knitted in scarves, tattoos… it’s really quite amusing.

That being said, there are lots of ways to integrate them with your promotional products and displays for corporate meetings and events. But keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Out of body experience. Please, people, keep QR codes off of any item that will be worn on the body. Yes, that includes T shirts, name tags (unless you have them on a badge attached to a lanyard), promotional tattoos, etc. Except for badges on lanyards, scanning someone’s chest or other body part is socially awkward. (Do I really have to explain?) Additionally, the codes can get stretched or scrunched while being worn, making them unreadable by a scanning app. Marketing fail!
  • Large and legible. I’ve found that posting a QR code that’s at least about the size of a standard letter size sheet of paper is about the minimum usable size for a sign on a tabletop display. The larger the better so people don’t have to all crowd around one little area to scan. Posting multiple signs with the code is also a good idea.
  • Watch out for curves. If you’re printing your QR codes on paper promotions such as notepads, there’s usually no problem with printing them. But if you do venture into putting them on items such as mugs or desk accessories, watch for surfaces that may be slightly curved. While the codes are printable and may look okay to the human eye, a curve may alter them to the point where they will not be scannable by a smartphone. Suggest doing a pre-production physical proof before doing the entire promotional product run.

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