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QR Codes: Business Cards

We’ve been talking a lot about Quick Response codes, two-dimensional codes that direct users to an online location with more information about a product, company or individual. Well, remember things called business cards, little pieces of paper with your contact information on them that you pass out to new people you meet in real life? Well, adding a QR code is a more up-to-date way to send people to your official website, Facebook or Twitter page.

Need some ideas for how you can use QR codes to boost your online presence, or got some ideas we haven’t thought of that you’d like to share? Let us know!

QR Codes: Boost Your Social Network Presence

We recently introduced you to Quick Response codes, two-dimensional codes similar to bar codes that send users a website or direct information about a product, company or individual. One way to use these codes to boost exposure of your brand, company or product is to send users to your Facebook or Twitter page rather than simply direct them to your website. Users can then “like” or follow your page, which means you’ve got a direct line to a potential new customer. You can even use QR codes to automatically generate a “like” for your Facebook page!

QR Codes: Boosting Online Traffic

Last month we introduced you to Quick Response codes, two-dimensional codes similar to bar codes that, when scanned by your mobile phone, send users a website or direct information about a product, company or individual. Sending users to an official website is one of the more obviously practical but incredibly effective ways to use QR codes. Imagine someone’s walking down the street and they see an ad or billboard promoting your product or business, or even an actual item for sale with a QR code prompting them to visit the official website for a special promotion. Rather than write down a web address and visit it later, which we all know is unlikely to happen, the consumer can gain access to all kinds of valuable information immediately, right at their fingertips. This is a great way to interact with current and prospective new customers in real-time!

TIP: Don’t simply direct customers to the main page of your website. Be creative, and link them to promotional giveaways, surveys, and detailed information that helps them better understand your brand.

QR Codes: The Future Is Here

In the future, we will all be branded with individual bar codes on our wrists or the backs of our necks. At least that’s the popular fictive prediction. Well, we might just be one step closer to that with Quick Response codes, which took off in Japan and are finally making waves on this side of the Pacific. QR codes are two-dimensional codes similar to traditional bar codes that, when scanned by your mobile phone’s camera, can be decoded using downloadable software, providing the user with a direct link to a website or more information about a product, business, or person. This is a fascinating new interactive marketing tool that can be used to provide consumers with up to date information and even help individuals market themselves more effectively (by, say, including a QR code on your business card or resume). You can even use QR codes to send private messages to individuals! Branding Ideas will be brainstorming new ways you can use these codes to enhance your business’s promotional efforts, so check back here regularly!

Warning Signs: Innovative T-Shirt Detects Pollution

We all remember Hypercolor clothes, right? Those tacky t-shirts everyone wore in grade school that just begged to be slapped as you walked down the hall to class. Well, grad students Sue Ngo and Nien Lam of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, have taken the concept to practical, and eco-friendly new heights with their “Warning Signs” sweatshirts. Emblazoned with a pair of lungs or a heart that change color when there’s air pollution in the immediate vicinity, the shirts use censor embedded technology in the fabric to detect high carbon monoxide levels in the air.  What’s next? According to one report, the pair are considering a breathalyzer shirt to detect alcohol level.  These designers are at the forefront of a growing field of wearable technology and e-textiles and there’s only more to come.

Pac-Man Gobbles Up Google

Last Friday, Google turned its logo into a usable Pac-Man game. The gimmick was in celebration of the vintage game’s 30th anniversary. According to time management tool RescueTime, Google users spent near 5 million hours playing the game. Ironically, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the logo was actually a playable game or just another inventive, temporary restyling of the search engine brand, so those numbers could have feasibly been much, much higher. Google has since removed the game from it’s main page, but due to popular demand, you can still relive your childhood and waste your boss’s money by clicking here!

Advertising and Socialism

No, not that kind of socialism. We’re talking about social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Social networks aren’t exactly new anymore, but in the timeline of advertising, they’re fairly new models. These networking sites and other communications platforms have become central to our online and social experiences (Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular sites on the Internet), and yet they’ve struggled to develop advertising-driven revenue. It’s partly because they’ve failed to prove to marketers that they’re going to get enough bang for their buck. The biggest reason is that most people who use social media are there to interact with their friends, family and colleagues, not a company that’s trying to sell them something. However, consumers of TV and print have long accepted that paid ad placements are part and parcel to their viewing and reading experiences, and in recent years even moviegoers have relucantly accepted commercials in theaters despite lots of initial pushback. So maybe time is the answer. As social networking becomes broader, used for business and other means, perhaps we’ll be more open to it. The key to any advertising endeavor, of course, is to assess what the opportunities and risks are for your company and, of course, find out who’s doing it right. After all, someone has to take the first plunge!

The "You" in YouTube

If you’ve been on YouTube lately (and we’re sure you have, probably right before you came to the Branding Ideas blog!), you’ve undoubtedly noticed a pop-up advertisement appear on the bottom of the viral video you watched. Google, which bought YouTube in 2006 for a whopping $1.65 billion, is attempting to monetize its user-uploaded content, even offering a cut of the profits to uploaders. Yesterday, YouTube Product Manager Shenaz Zack announced on the YouTube Biz Blog that the video site is “extending the YouTube Partnership Program to include individual popular videos.” Cutting costs and boosting revenue is never easy (just ask the U.S. government), but Google is giving it the old college try and getting its users in on the action. It’s part of a gradual but imminent trend in which the You in YouTube is indeed “You,” partnering with billion-dollar corporations to boost everyone’s bottom line. Whether it’s a long-term strategy that will help YouTube become a profitable enterprise remains to be seen, but it should be fun to watch them try!

USB 101: Packaging & Accessories

Once you’ve decided on what kind of USB flash drive to use for your promotional campaign and what content, if anything, you’re going to pre-load the drives with, it’s time to decide on packaging and accessories. Depending on the company and manufacturer with which you’re working, there are a variety of custom shapes and sizes to choose from and/or even create from scratch. You may opt to include an insert card, which could include information about the flash drive, your company, or product or announce a special promotion, new contact information or website. Keyrings and lanyards are also optional accessories you can add, often for free or at low cost. The final step, of course, is to decide how you’re going to package your flash drives. There is limitless number of options, including pouches, boxes, tin cans, wallets, and more!

Need some ideas or want to explore all of the available options for packaging and accessorizing your USB flash drives? Have a general question about USB flash drives? Contact us!

USB 101: Auto-Run

If you’re planning to pre-load custom-branded promotional USB flash drives with specially tailored content for your clients or customers, you might want to opt for flash drives that support a function called “Auto-Run.” Not all standard drives offer Auto-Run, but it’s especially useful and effective in getting your message and content across: When the user plugs in your flash drive into their computer, your presentation or other informational content will launch automatically. Many companies pre-load your data for you as well as set up the Auto-Run function. Auto-Run makes flash drives an even more useful and valuable marketing tool for your business. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all Auto-Run files will work on both PCs and Macs.

Have questions about the Auto-Run function or any other USB issue or promotional item? Branding Ideas is here to help!