They’re everywhere. On transit shelters, in newspapers, on real estate signs, store front windows, at trade show booths, and even on your case of Heineken. QR codes are spreading like butter on warm toast.
I’m what is aptly referred to as a Digital Native. I am technologically savvy, I write and speak around the world on digital trends, I have a smart phone, an iPad, and close to 80 apps…and yet, there have been but a small handful of times over the past few years that I have scanned a QR code. I have never scanned a transit shelter, a newspaper, a real estate sign, store front window, trade show booth or even a case of Heineken. Why? Because there wasn’t a compelling enough reason.
The other day, I wrote on the importance of the idea behind the tool. QR codes, although au courant, are simply pixelated barcodes. The problem with racing to create a bunch for your business is that I’ve never heard anyone say, “If only I could scan a pixelated barcode…I’d finally have someone to give my business to.”
QR codes themselves are not bad. It’s usually the ideas behind them that are. Ideas are the spark that have made some who implement them into their marketing successful. Specifically, ideas that are rooted in relevance, meaning and usefulness.
The most important question to ask yourself is will QR codes add value to my business and customers or am I running to keep up with the hype?
More reading on QR Codes:
A good lesson both on and off the track.
Every business needs to recognize the just like a horse controlled by a jockey, tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in themselves don’t define success. It’s the ideas behind them, or lack thereof, that help to determine the outcome.
Photo via r w h
Many event industry professionals I’ve spoken with have fallen victim to photography plagiarism. They work tirelessly to get the opportunity to work on an event, stretch their creative limits to define something worthy of being talked about, and, once the event is complete, proudly display the end result on their website…only to find out that another company has taken the image and passed it off as their own. The sad fact is that those are the lucky ones. Most companies never find out that their images have been plagiarized.
The issue of photography plagiarism is growing. Intentional plagiarism has gotten easier for the violator. Companies readily share images not only on their websites, but on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and a plethora of other sites. Additionally, Google, and other search engines, often reference these photographs in their image search, making it very easy for people to stumble upon your images. This is where unintentional plagiarism comes to life. Sites like Pinterist, Storify, Tumblr and a whole host of others allow people to share images they love with others. Although each of these sites have legalese that speaks to image rights, it doesn’t always mean that people follow the rules (or know that the rules exist). One person’s negligence can result in your image being shared between thousands of people…without attribution or your consent.
Google recently made a change to their image search function and it makes finding cases of photography plagiarism easier. Visit Google’s image search page, click on the camera icon in the search box and upload the image you’d like to track on the web. Google will show you the specific websites that have used that image. Although it doesn’t solve the plagiarism problem, it’s certainly made it a little simpler to track.
Home page image via Paula Bielnicka Photography
There was a lady who lived in a small town. She had operated the town’s one and only hairdressing salon for many, many years. One day she was told that a new hairdresser was coming to town, so she arranged a meeting with this new merchant.
“There’s enough business to go around. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know. But, what ever you do, just don’t undercut my pricing”, she said. After all, she had been very fair to her clients for many years, charging them $15 a cut – a price that both covered her expenses and earned her an honest living. He nodded in agreement, they shook hands and he left.
The next day she looked out her salon window and saw that he had opened up shop right across the street. Proudly displayed in the front window of his shop was a sign that proclaimed: $10 Hair Cuts!
Disappointed but not dismayed she began working on her window sign. The next day, she hung it in her window:
“I fix $10 haircuts”
All too often we see businesses responding to a competitor’s low price with an even lower price. A lower price, they assume, is better than losing a potential client. The net result is often an even lower price by your competition and thus begins a frenetic race to the bottom, leading to a slew of challenges:
This quote, by an unknown author, sums it up beautifully, “There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.”
It’s easy to sell cheaper. It’s far more difficult to convince your market to pay more for you than your competitors.
Personality is one of the 3 core components of your brand. It’s the style in which you convey the soul of your company.
On the highway today my husband excitedly pointed out a truck with decals proclaiming: “KICK ASS Rock & Roll – the city’s best wedding DJ”. A divisive statement, sure to shock some and excite others. Another example is Redhead Ranting, a blogger who regularly swears, is controversial and whose site is peppered with funny (if you enjoy her humor). Her blog acts as a filter – people who don’t get her or her style go away and those who do become avid fans. My friend Ken Kristoffersen of POP, a corporate planning agency, recently underwent a re-branding. His site feels different. It sounds different.
Are you playing it safe? When you created your website, wrote a blog post or launched an ad, did you write copy that could appeal to anyone? If you removed your logo, could your copy be mistaken as your competitor’s?
Creating personality is not simply about being controversial or different. It’s about being authentically you. Is your voice authoritative, is it funny, is it brash or maybe quirky? Define who you are and find ways to thread your personality through everything you do.
We do business with people we like and we do our best work with people we enjoy. You can’t do business with everyone, so why try?
When I worked agency-side, we had tonnes of courier companies vying for our business – we were sending packages out of our office every minute of the day: from mock ups to creative concepts to print proofs to proposals. They sent us mailers and emails on a daily basis claiming that they were the “fastest” and the “cheapest”. One day, I returned to my desk from lunch to find a wrapped package sitting on my chair. I opened it and inside lay a perfectly intact egg and a letter. The letter said (something like this): “We know you take great care and attention with every package that leaves your office. This uncracked egg should show you how much care and attention we put into every package we deliver…” This courier company was the antithesis of “fast” and “cheap”. Fast and cheap meant nothing to a business shipping items that were, in many instances, invaluable. Instead, they spoke in a language that MEANT something to us. It wasn’t about schtick. It was about meaning, relevancy and proof. It got my attention. It spoke to me. It resulted in me giving them our business.
For me, great marketing has always come down to understanding your customer, their problem(s) and communicating a solution that speaks to your core competencies with creativity.
Do you have an example of a company that effectively used marketing to get your sale? You can also weigh in on our LinkedIn Group page: What are the best examples of marketing you’ve experienced?.