Long before advancement folk debated the merits of pinning pictures or setting up a LinkedIn page, they questioned QR codes. “Why bother?” remains a common response.
But for every black and white squiggle hiding in the New York subway, well out of mobile range, you’ll find engaging and interactive executions if you look hard enough.
Remember that giant Calvin Klein billboard in 2010 that had thousands raising their phones to see where it would lead them? What about this artful execution from the Red Cross to raise recovery funds for the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami? And try and tell me a personalized voice message with your Christmas gift wouldn’t go down well with the grandkids or other relatives.
Institutions are already doing a good job of showing how QR codes can be used effectively. Maybe you want to conduct a campus treasure hunt or virtual tour. How about encouraging people to vote for a faculty member for an award, fill in an online survey or visit your mobile-friendly homecoming site? And with edible QR codes a reality, your next alumni cocktail function could become the talk of Twitter.
A simple way to use QR codes for alumni engagement purposes is to enhance your print publications. Plug in the URL to a Flickr gallery or YouTube video using a free code generator like this one from kaywa, and you’re good to go.
Such executions provide a natural extension to words and images and also offer a powerful antidote to the “Why bother?” mentality. They also help “unlock” multimedia content that all too often is hidden behind layers of webpages that most alumni will never see. Interview the coach or star player featured in a profile piece. Go behind the scenes at your campus museums and show off the collection. Get a donor to speak about what motivates them to give. You can’t show every stunning entry from a student photography prize in print, but you can in a mobile-optimised gallery accessed by a QR code. Don’t forget about the data collection opportunities either.
Some basic QR code tips:
- Integrate codes into the design of print collateral without hiding them
- Always test at the printer’s proof stage to ensure they scan and link correctly
- Make it clear WHY a reader should scan them—simple prompts like “video” and “photo gallery” are often effective
- Provide true value to the consumer with every execution (multimedia, interactivity, an easy-to-use online form, entry to a competition, personalized or otherwise “exclusive” content, a coupon. etc.)
- Mobile optimize landing pages where possible
- Use mobile-friendly URLs for multimedia content—this will also assist with gathering more accurate metrics.
It’s easy to dismiss QR codes as a fad, but providing you use some creativity (and apply some common sense), they may just help you engage with your alumni in new and powerful ways.