QR codes turn dynamic

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March 15, 2013
QR codes turn dynamic.

When I write about the black and white, crossword puzzle-like QR code, I feel like I'm talking about the stone age of human development.

The few years of existence for the QR code in marketing efforts, seem like they were first experienced by our grandparents when you look at how the code itself has evolved to walk upright. Whatever you read in this article, chances are, as with buying a new mobile phone or computer, it will all be obsolete almost immediately… or possibly not with this latest step.

First, there were those who decided they could beautify the ugly codes with color. Then, savvy coders learned that codes had a 30% error correction and images could be inserted into the codes for a more enticing design for businesses. Some went as far as building codes out of objects such as bottle corks for wineries and bottle caps for breweries.

It didn't take long for enterprising websites to pop up that allowed people to design their own QR codes, mixing in images and logos without the bother of experimenting with error correction or the guessing game of dealing with several QR scanners and whether the final QR code would read across those different scanners.

Finally, someone figured out that QR codes could not only be created with all the design qualities creatives and businesses wanted, but could also incorporate the needs of business marketers to build QR codes into print pieces and campaigns.

The new age of the QR code

uQR.me, a thriving startup in the U.S., created a site chock full of tools that create, manage and track dynamic QR codes, keeping social media capabilities at the forefront.

The idea behind uQR.me is to be able not only to create QR codes, but to change their content every time it's needed. Let's say you printed a million or more labels for your product or service with a QR code pointed to the company Facebook account, then you change your mind and decide you'd like to point that specific code to a promo video, that would be a problem. Normal (static) QR codes won't allow changes. They will be just what you've created them for and once created for a specific target point, you are stuck. With uQR.me, you are able not only to change where to point that QR code, but also you will be able to retrieve stats out of each QR code.

Then, of course, you can create a mobile landing page for your QRs, point them to a vCard and, of course, you will be able to change your vCard contents inside those QRs too! These new dynamic codes attach files to your QRs, embed videos... receive Paypal payments and much more. While there have been nay-sayers to the use of QR codes in the past, this evolution of functionality should make them rethink QR codes as an integral part of any marketing and communications effort.

The three principles of uQR.me, CEO Diego Gopen, CTO Mauro Casula and COO Hernán Redin are rightfully excited about what they bring to the market. The evolution of the service they offer is unmatched by any other QR generator sites to date.

"The dynamic QR code," says Gopen, "is the natural evolution for the static QR code that you can get in any QR generator site. Users need to be able to control the published content and retrieve stats from it. To change the contents in an already printed magazine, label of a product or business card, is every publisher/marketer's dream. That's what we set out to create and succeeded."

"It's not only a QR code generator, but a 360º mobile content manager," adds Casula.

"The tool is free of charge and it has what we call the QR code beautifier. But we also have Premium plans with advanced features and statistics, for those who need to manage several dynamic QR codes from one account," Chimes in Redin, keeping an eye to the business end of their services.

"Beautify" your code

"uQR.me lets you give your QR code a little more pizazz with its Beautifier," explains Gopen. "You can make it bright pink with rough edges if you’re feeling wild! Pick green with smooth edges if you're feeling Zen! Or add a logo or picture to your QR code if you want to make your mark! Just click on the color palette and see what piece of art you can make out of your QR. This beautifier works for all your QR codes. We say pick, play and choose. First, think of the color you want your QR code to be based on what you will be using it for. Then, pick the background color. Something that matches or clashes…no biggie, just make sure that the inside of your QR code is darker than the outside. This will save you lots of headaches. If the inside of the QR is too light, people won’t be able to spot it easily! After you are done giving life and color to your QR code, give at an edge… literally."

"If color and shape isn’t enough, then stick a picture on it. Maybe it’s your company’s logo or a picture of your beloved pet. Maybe you’ll choose the picture that best suits your QR code. Are you selling a bike? A TV? Your car? Put a picture of it on the QR code and catch the attention of the passerby. Who knows! All we know is that we want to see more beautiful QRs out there, so go ahead play around!"

Customize your redirecting page (Bridge) and landing page (Leaf)

Gopen continues by explaining part of their service."Whoever spots/scans your dynamic QR code will be directed to your Bridge before taking them to your landing page or mobile landing page. The Bridge will give you a chance to briefly share, your logo, banner or image with text to your users. You can use it to present a brand/product, sale offer or whatever you like."

"You can switch out our (uQR.me) logo for yours and personalize the Bridge (aka re-directional page), with the colors and images you prefer. You can graphically adjust it to your Leaf/mobile landing page on uQR.me, giving consistency to your contents."

Upload files to your QR codes

"The phrase 'you can’t always get what you want' doesn’t apply to uQR.me and that’s because we give you just what you want and need," adds Gopen. "You want people to download your band’s latest song on mp3 through your QR code? You got it! You wanna update your resume and link it to your business card? Why not! You wanna share your app with the world? uQR.me says OK! We have launched our brand new File feature just for that. Imagine updating a document you’re working on and instantly sharing it with your team, wherever they are."

"Just go to your 'my QR code' page on uQR.me, click on 'Change my QR link' and look for the paperclip button. You can upload ANY kind of file to uQR.me and make it available to anyone spotting your code. You want to update it? No problem: remember that our QR codes are recyclable, so you can change their link any time you want, or switch to another option like the URL to connect it to your website, the share option to get Facebook likes, tweets, or G+1 on your desired content, or 'PayPal' to easily get payment from your customers on the go."

Insert your Google Analytics ID

Gopen talks about the best part of uQR.me, the analytics capabilities that separate it from other sites that deal strictly with QR design: "One of the greatest advantages of dynamic QR codes over static codes, is that its visits can be measured easily. uQR.me campaigns users are able to insert their Google Analytics codes on their uQR.me dynamic QR codes. This new feature will give uQR.me users with this Premium plan, a complete super detailed analysis of the scans to their QRs. If you are familiar with Google Analytics tools, you will find this new uQR.me feature an absolute MUST HAVE!"

Get started!

It's exciting to live in a time of great advances and this bridge between print and digital is perfect for those who want to incorporate QR codes into their marketing plans. The applications are unending and now those avenues are backed up by beautiful design, dynamic usability and the top analytics for maximum flexibility and quick action for successful marketing.

Do you use QR codes in your marketing? What developments would you like to see in future? Let us know in the comments.

Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider or add him on Google+

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