Marketing Innovation: QR codes – The Quiet Marketing Revolution?

We have all seen QR codes – perhaps tucked into the corner of an advert in a magazine, or on the back of a piece of packaging. But some brands have been applying innovative thinking to this technology for some time now, and really putting PR codes to work for their branding and marketing activity. Is it time for every brand to think about how QR codes can help them reach and engage with their customers? 

QR codes – or Quick Response Codes – were invented in 1994 as a better alternative to barcodes, and Toyota led the way in seeing the potential of the QR code, using the codes to identify and track automotive parts during the manufacturing process. Since then, brands have seen how the humble QR code can be an effective way to connect their customers with marketing and promotional information. 

Yoobi, a London sushi restaurant, was scheduled to open in March 2012 and during construction, the owners connected with potential customers by displaying QR codes on vibrant, printed fish. The codes allowed smart phone users to obtain discounts and view promotions for their grand opening. 

Denim brand Diesel used QR code technology in 2017 to create an ‘authenticity tool’. They produced a heat-printed label which was sewn into the waistband of Diesel jeans that customers could scan to verify the denim’s authenticity. 

And the sky is really the limit when it comes to how brands can incorporate QR codes into their marketing. Japanese game development brand Cygames celebrated the first anniversary of one of its video games with a drone battle that took place in the night sky in Shanghai. After the show, the drones assembled in the air and formed a QR code which spectators could scan, access information about the game and download it onto their phones. 


And if you think QR codes are all black and white squares, it’s time to think again. QR codes can be designed in multiple ways without losing the scannability and can be aligned with your brand, using brand colours, shapes, fonts or even your logo – or a combination of all of these to ensure it fits with your branding and engages your customers. And of course, dynamic QR codes can be tracked, giving you fantastic insights into customer engagement. 

QR codes can be used in so many brand touchpoints, and open up a world of engagement and information for the user. Are you using QR codes to connect with your customers? 

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Until next time,