Remember QR (Quick Response) codes? Maybe not. The status of QR codes in Western countries can be summed up in three simple letters: R.I.P. Not long after their debut in mainstream advertising, marketing experts quickly responded by labeling them a verifiable failure. Suggest to a brand in Australia that their next campaign feature QR codes and you’re likely to be met with questioning glances at best.
Integrating O2O Strategies with Chinese Social Media
Western countries long ago declared QR codes to be dead and buried, but in contrast they are alive and well in China. It has been suggested that the surprising success of QR codes in China can be linked to the fact that China is the number one smartphone market around the globe. Furthermore, QR codes have become popularised through the use of Chinese apps such as WeChat and to a lesser extent, Weibo. These are hugely popular applications that boast an impressive 500+ million active users and feature built-in QR code scanners.
Clued into the popularity of QR codes in China, many iconic Western brands are actively using QR codes in the Chinese market. For example, as part of a recent campaign that gave customers the chance to win a pair of Nike Free iD, fans were encouraged to scan a QR code to follow Nike on WeChat. Similarly, luxury fashion brand Mulberry has utilised QR codes in China to gain a following on WeChat and provide exclusive brand content to followers.
While brands have been jumping on the QR code bandwagon, Chinese citizens have been quick to follow suit and are using personal QR codes. Case in point, many Chinese professionals now include a unique QR code on their business card. And the Dingxiang Community in the Anhui Province in China have put the QR trend to good use by distributing QR badges to senior citizens to help them get home safely if they get lost.
Although brands may (rightly) reject the idea of using QR codes in Western markets, they should still consider integrating QR codes into their marketing in China. The social media consultants at Digital Jungle are actively using QR codes within O2O in-store activation strategies and this is helping draw together the online and offline programs. You can follow Digital Jungle on Weibo and WeChat by scanning these QR codes:
Digital Jungle WeChat & Weibo QR Codes