Branding & Identity

QR codes – small, black and white square barcodes (or large, colourful fancy barcodes, depending on your brand), are codes that can be scanned using your smartphone to display a whole host of information about your business, and more importantly, your brand. QR codes used to be used exclusively by high-end businesses, but they are now so easy to create and distribute, they can now be used by small businesses and individuals alike. But QR codes are not effective unless you use them properly, so follow the tips below to effectively integrate and make the most of QR codes for your personal brand.

1) Make It Interesting

If your personal brand is all about fun and creativity, don’t use the QR code to direct the user to a boring page with only your contact details on.  Use it to direct them to a page that makes them laugh, or that evokes interest, or that makes them want to know more about you. Make sure that the page very clearly shows your personal brand – the colours, logo and font that you use will all add up to give an overall impression of you and of what you are about. Many businesses make the mistake of using a QR code just because it’s the “done” thing – but if it’s not interesting, it’s not useful. If you want to use the QR code to convert users into consumers – for example, if you want them on your mailing list or if you want them to sign up to a special offer, keep the opt-in form short and sweet. Asking for just their name and email address is enough – anything more and you’ll lose their interest.

2) Make it Scannable and Accessible

QR codes scan differently on different smartphones, and the more information encrypted into the QR code, the more difficult it is to scan. All you really need to encrypt is the URL and a tracker – nothing more. Keep the information on the page itself relatively simple – fancy flash graphics could slow the whole process down and make users switch off. Equally, you need to make sure that the code is accessible. Test, test and test it again before it goes out – test it on different devices and different platforms to ensure that it works across the board. The last thing you want to do is to put out a QR code that is buggy on the Apple platform, for example, as you’ll cut out a huge proportion of users and you’ll project an unprofessional image – which is no good for your personal brand.

3) Direct Users to a Mobile URL

This might sound completely obvious, but time and time again, businesses use QR codes to direct users to a desktop URL rather than a mobile URL. A desktop URL will not run correctly on a smartphone or tablet device and it will be difficult to navigate – instantly making users switch off. A mobile URL that loads instantly on a mobile or tablet device, that is easy to navigate, easy to use and that doesn’t skip out on any information is the best bet. This projects a professional image, boosting your brand.

4) Track It and Adapt It

A QR code without a tracker isn’t useless, as such, but you’ll be missing out on a ton of useful information. Tracking where your scans are coming from, how long users stay on the page, and what time of day they scan the code will enable you to adapt and change your QR codes so that they are more visible and more useful and so they convert more users into consumers, if that’s your goal. For example, if the majority of scans are coming from your business cards, but none from your personal website, you could have a rethink about where to position the code on your site and how to make it more interesting. Adapting your codes as and when you need to is key to keeping your brand fresh and interesting.

5) Make It Fun

QR codes don’t just have to be boring black and white squares – the codes themselves can be incredibly creative and they can reflect what your brand is all about. You can adapt codes so that they include the colours, style and fonts of your personal brand. Some super creative codes also include images and photographs, some are in different shapes – for example, the Red Cross has a QR code in the shape of a cross, and some are even 3D. One wine manufacturer has created a QR code from wine corks, while another company has created a 3D QR code that can only be scanned during lunchtime when the shadows line up correctly. Try to be creative with the QR code itself and use it as another opportunity to put across your personal brand.

There you have it! 5 simple tips to effectively integrate QR codes into your personal brand.

Author: Laura Francis is a freelancer writer and editor from the UK who is passionate about providing quality, engaging content. She occasionally writes for Noesis.

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