Keep Calm and Read This Dreck

I’m not you. That’s a good thing, because if I were, there would be at least two more versions of me than are absolutely necessary. Or even remotely desirable.

But I’ve digressed, even before I got gressing in the first place.

The point is, even though you are not me, you are probably aware of the ‘80s band Huey Lewis and the News. And you’re probably well aware that they’re over. They’re so over that KC and the Sunshine Band has a good laugh with Bobcat Goldthwaite about them.

Over.

This is such a simple concept. Tide stopped bemoaning ring-around-the-collar. Schools stopped showing Reefer Madness to teenagers. Brett Favre actually retired.

Clearly, not everyone has grasped the concept. That is the only explanation for the sudden explosion of sayings, each distinctly less clever than the previous one, riffing off the British wartime exhortation to Keep Calm and Carry On.

At my non-profit workplace someone has a poster that says Keep Calm and Raise Funds. I saw a shirt that said Keep Calm and Bowl. There’s even a Keepcalm-o-matic website that allows you to match Keep Calm with anything you can imagine. Keep Calm and Eat A Cookie. Keep Calm and Be Belieber. Keep Calm and Love Ariana. Evidently, you don’t have much of an imagination. The only connection among these items, besides their transparent disconnection from keeping calm, is their utter lack of creativity.

In case you’re considering a Keep Calm t-shirt, poster, hat, tattoo, engagement speech or other further co-opting of this now malign saying, let me be the first to clue you in.

It’s over. Been over. Was over after about the third use.

You see, the original propaganda was clever. The first adaptation was mildly clever. The re-purposing of the first adaptation was a clever rip-off. All subsequent versions: total rip-off, not to mention the evil opposite of clever. Trite, brainless nonsense.

Which brings us to the Got Milk? ad campaign from 20 years back. A paradigm of advertising genius, most notably when paired with Oreos for maybe the most brilliant 60 seconds in television history. (Aim low, my friends!)

Got Milk? took off like a scud missile on mescaline . . . and then the copycats descended upon it. Got Jesus? Got Cocker Spaniels? Got Lawn? Got Comfortable Footwear? And people are still producing them. Can you imagine what these conversations sound like?

“I’ve got it! Let’s adapt that inspired Got Milk? campaign to our purposes and make it – ready for this? – Got Tomatoes?”

“Lester, that is magnificent! Your mind works in glorious and mysterious ways!”

“Yes, jaws will drop when such enlightenment reaches their eyes!

This doltishness is polluting our world and must be stopped! If I were King, or Robert Mugabe, I would not just outlaw any further use of the “Got” trope, I would institute the death penalty as punishment. And on second conviction, a hunting trip with Dick Cheney. Anyone unaware that “Got” and more recently “Keep Calm” are over, is criminally negligent and must be put out of our misery.

Of course, you might disagree. After all, Huey Lewis and the News are still touring.

–barry waldman

Our George Washington

Shortly after this fine young cannibal introduced a third child to the Lowcountry,  she showed up as a guest at our March confab. As she sat inconspicuously at a table of no particular note, few would have guessed that a superhero was in their midst.

Fortunately, our official AMA paparazzo, Andy Hagedon, pounced upon this rare sighting and provided us with photographic evidence of her appearance.

She’s Laura Angermeier, and she’s about as inaptly named as Barenaked Ladies. Sweetmeier, perhaps. Lovelymeier. Warmmeier. Never Angermeier.

The three beings Laura birthed are called Andrew, Katie and the Charleston American Marketing Association. A freshly-minted college graduate working as a third-string marketing assistant at an enterprise approaching oblivion, Laura nonetheless spearheaded the creation of our humble organization. She simply noticed there was no AMA . . . so she started one.

Laura is our George Washington, but with real teeth.

At the outset, perhaps a dozen people would gather for an AMA lunchtime seminar. But Laura’s warmth and persistence, and the support of an equally dedicated team of volunteers, propelled the group to dramatic growth. Today we stand as the first new chapter anywhere in the country in 14 years, recipient of several national awards and queen of the local professional communication landscape with more than 100 members.

Having pointed Charleston AMA in the right direction, Laura slinked off to motherhood and freelancing without the credit she richly deserves. May this hosanna get buried in a sea of gratitude for a young woman who saw a need and filled it, to our collective benefit, without recompense or due recognition.

Thank you, Laura. Come on back.

 

barry waldman

A Zyxpyx By Any Other Name

 

I have a friend ’round these parts whose name is Yvonne. She’s bright and friendly and has a great sense of humor and mispronounces her own name.

Yes she does.

Yvonne is a French derivation of John, related to Ivan and Johan and Joanne and Joanna and Jan and Ian and Sean and all those other John derivations. And the name is pronounced Ee-von.

Yvonne pronounces her name Yuh-von. It’s not like her parents purposely bestowed upon her an alternative to the name Ee-von. They thought they were naming her Ee-von but didn’t know how to pronounce it. So she’s Yuh-von.

I haven’t the heart — or maybe it’s the heartlessness — to bring this to Yvonne’s attention. Besides, she’s not alone.

Most Americans don’t seem to know how to pronounce the name Naomi. I’ve never quite understood how you get Nigh-oh-mee out of that spelling, but now we have people who think that’s their name.

Of course, the name is pronounced Nay-oh-mee.

My trusty sidekick at work correctly argues that your name is whatever you say it is. Sure, if you name your daughter “La-a,” you can call her Ladasha. You chose the name.

But if you name your kid Xavier, you’ve chosen a name that already exists. And the name Xavier is pronounced Zay-vyer, not Ex-ay-vyer. An “X” at the start of a word or name in English is pronounced like a “Z”. Think xylophone or xenophobic. (X-ray is a little different because it was literally an “X” ray.)

At this point you’re thinking — which puts you in a different class than me right off the bat — you’re thinking, what in the wide world of integrated marketing communications are you jabbering on about? Have you lost what small scattering of marbles were formerly clanking around in your head?

Au contraire, Pierres.

Shakespeare noted that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But he didn’t say anything in defense of a word like “pustule.” Because there is no way to make that word sound like something you’d want with your lunch.

“Hey Margaret, slap a pile o’ pustule on that ham sandwich, wouldja?” Doesn’t work.

Nor does President Melvin Finzheimer. Or Irving Poopsciewiecz. Or Gertrude Dolt.  (I’m showing great restraint in not mentioning how hysterical it would be to have a president named “Newt.”) How many billions and billions do you think McDonald’s would have served if the man who purchased the franchise from the McDonald brothers had renamed the restaurants after himself. Would you purchase a hamburger from Kroc’s?

Your company name is a bit like clothing: it reveals something about you, , even sometimes inadvertently. Google and Yahoo are telling us that they’re fun, geeky and maybe not too self-important. General Motors says more staid, perhaps even stodgy. A bank in my hometown was Dime Savings Bank. Didn’t inspire visions of wealth.

Hook, Obviouslee, Slant and Blue Ion intrigue, and suggest a certain creativity. Rawle Murdy, Davis, Bosworth live off the impressive reputations of their proprietors. Firms named for  people’s initials always struck me as evincing a lack of cleverness, unless the initials spell a word, like ELM or HAF. (My firm would be HAF-WIT Marketing. Hey, don’t say you weren’t warned.)

The point — besides the one atop my head — is that names matter because they communicate all kinds of things. Personally, I would take great care in picking a company name and I’d make sure I knew how to pronounce it.  Of course, Joe Theismann might disagree.

 

barry waldman
(but you can call me berry)

Doe-Eyed Young Personhood Needs You

I see that our AMA has initiated a Marketing Mentee program. This is wonderful. I encourage you to volunteer to offer guidance and support to a doe-eyed young person recently embarked on their career.

I encourage you to provide this service to said young person because, and I say this with all due self-respect, I suck at it. Believe me. I have engaged multiple young persons of various eye configurations and have failed spectacularly. I have face-planted on the ski slope of mentoring. If failing at being a mentor were, say, acting skill, I would be Meryl Streep. You get the picture.

My first mentee experienced a personal epiphany after our second meeting: that she was more mature than her mentor. By the third meeting, she realized that my main qualification for mentoring was that I celebrated a birthday around the time her mom was born. And it occurred to her on the fourth meeting that there would be no point in a fifth.

Determined to share my wisdom with Charleston’s young personhood, I volunteered again, this time armed with research on best practices and insightful tips. “Quit now” would have been the best “best practice.” This particular mentee determined, after much honest self-evaluation, that as long as I wasn’t quitting my job anytime soon, there wasn’t any point in leaving hers.

So. There is a serious mentor deficit in the Lowcountry, due in large part to a rider on the TARP bailout prohibiting me from ever mentoring again. Which means it falls to you, dear AMA colleague, to pitch in and fill the void for the good of young personage throughout the Charleston area.

Oh, one more thing. Being a mentor might just be your most fulfilling endeavor in years, not withstanding procreation. Guiding an enthusiastic young marketer as they navigate the open waters of their career can be a deeply rewarding experience. You’ll make a friend, find yourself needed, and maybe even learn something about yourself.

You might not make the Mentoring Hall of Fame, but I promise, you’ll be better than I was.

barry waldman

Lucky to Be Among the Charleston Marketing Community

Yesterday was a day to celebrate the companies and individuals that make Charleston’s Marketing Community what it is. As we all gathered together for a delicious lunch by Charleston Marriott and dessert from Glazed and Wild Flower Pastry, the buzz around the room was contagious. Warren Peper led the ceremonies while throwing in a little humor for all.

Congratulations to the 2011 Post & Courier Marketer of the Year, Jessica Munday, President and Founder of Trio Solutions!

jessica-munday

Winners of the 2011 SPARK! Awards include Levelwing, Visiture, and Charleston Wine and Food Festival!

levelwing1visiturecharleston-wine-food

As Warren Peper said, all of the above winners set a high bar for the rest of the Charleston Marketing Community! We are all lucky to live in the beautiful city of Charleston, and it makes our jobs that much more enjoyable!

Thank you to all who participated to make this event shine!

2011 Marketer of the Year Finalist: Will Bullock, Slant Media

Will Bullock, Slant Media
wbullock@slantmedia.net
263-c king street
charleston, sc 29401
(843) 722.2221
www.slantmedia.net
twitter.com/SLANT_HQ

Nomination:
Will’s experience and training as an architect continues to influence how he approaches graphic design for Slant Media’s clients. Slant’s client list ranges from retail-based to service-based businesses. In everything he does, his ultimate goal is to bring clarity to their client’s designs through thoughtful simplicity. Though he can appreciate a design that is visually appealing, I am much more intrigued by designs steeped in process, meaning, and theory. He has recently been part of the esteemed group of Pecha Kucha Charleston presenters

SIGNATURE PROJECT
Moore Beauston Woodham Identity + Web

Project Goals
An accounting firm with offices throughout South Carolina, Moore Beauston Woodham commissioned SLANT to develop a new identity and website to solidify their market presence after several recent name changes. Our goal was to create a brand that effectively communicated that which differentiated the firm from other accounting firms: having smarts AND personality.
New business collateral was needed to reflect the new brand, including basic items such as letterhead and business cards as well as customized client folders. And while the design of these items was important, the understanding of how to use them was even more so. Therefore a comprehensive brand guideline was required in order to coordinate standards among the various offices.
Beyond messaging and identity elements, a new web presence was seen as the primary method for conveying both the professional and personable sides of the firm. The site would need to strengthen relationships with existing clients as well as attract potential new ones. And of course the site would need to be easy to use from the user side while also being easy to maintain from the client side.
Will’s Project Role
As design lead, Will advocated a visually-driven marketing strategy that focused on a clever yet professional image. He began to explore how numerals could be substituted for letters, and how transformed symbols could have their own double entendre. An icon was born that consisted of 3 views of the same “3” to form “MBW”. To offset the abstract, minimalist demeanor of the new icon and name, Will suggested an accompanying tagline to round out the new message:“knowledge in numbers.” The progressive nature of the new brand elements was also reflected in the color choices of a bold yellow contrasted with a warm gray.

Will travelled to several of the firm’s offices throughout the state to direct photoshoots of key personnel. Outdoor locations that reflected the interests of each person were used as backdrops to create a sense of candid quirkiness: not too serious, yet not too playful.
His understanding of both the individual personalities as well as the overall persona of the firm influenced his design ideas for the new website. He utilized visual elements synonymous with accounting (such as a typical ledger) as tools for navigation and interaction. Where possible, large photos were used as launching points to direct users to various sections of the site. Rather than boast a long list of client names, Will suggested that developing several unique case studies would be more meaningful to first-time visitors on the site. Though the names of the businesses in the case studies were changed for privacy concerns, each one tells a true story of how MBW made a difference in someone’s life in a way that is both compelling and relatable.

Project Results
MBW tells us that the new identity has really served them well by distinguishing them as edgy and innovative compared to most CPA firms. “You took us from a logo to a brand”, said Robbie Ellison, Partner. The bold departure from their previous ID was also well received by their employees and existing clientele. “Knowledge in numbers” is now a registered trademark.
Despite the downward economy of the past few years, they’ve continued to prosper in each of their locations and market segments. One reason for this is the fact that they now have a more consistent, unified, efficient brand that saves them time when creating correspondence; their people no longer have to search for fonts and choose random templates because everything is now neatly organized for them.
The new web presence has made them more competitive among other medium to large accounting firms in the Southeast due to it’s polished look and feel. By integrating the SLANT-designed content management system, Adaptation, they can also easily update and manage their site’s content.
The end result of the collaboration between SLANT and MBW is that their firm is now “identifiable as a legitimate firm in an otherwise crowded industry”. To this day, Will continues to advise the client whenever a new communication challenge arises.

About Will Bullock
Will is a partner in SLANT and is head of art direction, or as we call it, “graphic intelligence”. He takes ideas and turns them into them reality by exploring a range of concepts that can fulfill our client’s creative needs as well as business goals. (Seriously, you want this in an art director). He then organizes and executes the creative production process that brings the creative ideas to life.
While pursuing graduate studies in architecture, Will honed his skills in advanced design theory, creative tools, and photography. The combination of Will’s creative passion and love of technology means whatever medium is called for, Will figures out how to make it happen — beautifully.
Before joining SLANT in the fall of 2004, Will worked as an Intern Architect for McMillan Smith & Partners Architects and LS3P Associates, LTD., utilizing his skills in CADD/drawing production, project management, marketing and presentation graphics. Will earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University in 1997 and reinforced his education with additional study in Genoa, Italy. Will has served as adjunct professor at the American College of Building Arts.
He is a past presenter of Pecha Kucha Charleston and is actively involved with the Art Institute of Charleston. He periodically sits in on portfolio reviews and sits on their Professional Web/Graphic Design Advisory Board.
Besides being a husband and father of 3, Will is a proud supporter of the Charleston creative communiity.

Favorite Quote
Image is everything.

2011 Marketer of the Year Finalist: Jessica Munday, Trio Solutions

Jessica Munday, Trio Solutions
Trio Solutions Inc.
505 Belle Hall Parkway, Suite 202
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
p: (843) 216-0442
f: (843) 216-5790
www.trio-solutions.com
www.facebook.com/triosolutions
www.twitter.com/triosolutions

Nomination:
Jessica is a bright marketer with a heart of gold. She has worked in the marketing communication and health care industries for more than 15 years and has been involved in web development for health care organizations since 1997. In addition to owning and operating Trio Solutions Inc., Jessica is an adjunct professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she teaches health care marketing. Jessica’s professional background includes a wide variety of projects, some of which include strategic planning and start-up planning for businesses and programs, public and government relations, community outreach, Web development, e-health strategy, event planning and branding. She has worked with the Medical University of South Carolina, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Trident Health System and various specialty, primary care and human service practices throughout the Charleston-metro area. She enjoys volunteering in the community and her volunteer efforts have included Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, March of Dimes, The Education Foundation, Trident Urban League and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. She is also active with numerous business associations including the Center for Women, the American Marketing Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, Public Relations Society of America and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, Jessica was selected as one of Charleston’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Charleston Regional Business Journal.

Submission:
Signature Project:
There have been so many wonderful client projects over the years but honestly, I would have to say that my signature project has been starting and running my business, TRIO. It’s the best, most rewarding project I have ever worked on. It challenges me every day. It inspires me to do my best every day. It provides livelihood for a group of incredibly talented people and most of all it allows our entire team to use our talents to make a difference every day. Whether we’re working with a nonprofit that is playing a role in saving the world, a health care organization that saves lives, or helping promote services for an international business, we strive to ensure our work makes a positive difference for our clients. Hands down, opening the doors of TRIO has been, and continues to be, my signature project. The rewards are truly priceless.

Project Goals:
My main goal when I started TRIO was to create a full-service creative agency that would allow me to use my professional knowledge and talent in an independent environment. I wanted to create a business where going above and beyond was the culture. I wanted to focus on working with organizations that made a difference in this world while specializing in three main areas: marketing, events and web.

Project Results:
This year TRIO is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Many small businesses never make it past three years so to be at the 10-year mark is truly an accomplishment. I’m proud to say that since 2001, TRIO has grown to a team of 10 talented professionals all personally driven to use our creative skills to make a difference in the world. Our client roster represents more than 70 businesses and our annual gross revenue tops nearly $1M. We are a certified woman-owned business with the state of South Carolina and the official CreateAthon agency for the Lowcountry – an international collaboration of creative agencies dedicated to providing nonprofits with pro-bono marketing services. TRIO has exceeded all of my expectations and would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of all our employees, past and present; our partners, clients and our families.

Role in Project:
My role in establishing TRIO has been to motivate my team and to ensure our clients view us as a partner, not a vendor. I strive every day to lead TRIO the same way that I would want to be led – with respect, integrity and dedication.

A Favorite Quote or Words You Live By:
LOL – anyone that knows me and knows TRIO knows that I live and breath by the words: WORK HARD. ENJOY LIFE. MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

What Motivates You:
Three little people named David, Hannah and Hudson. They are my life, my love and my inspiration to be kind and set an example that they can admire and respect.

2011 Marketer of the Year Finalist: Soraya McKay, Little Dog Agency

Soraya McKay, Little Dog Agency
Soraya McKay, VP Little Dog Agency
PHONE: 843.856-9201
FAX: 843-856-9207
3850 Bessemer Road Suite #220
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466
www.littledogagency.com
Follow the ‘dogs’ on Twitter @LittleDogAd
and facebook.com/littledogagency.

Nomination:
Soraya McKay leads Little Dog Agency, a small four person firm, in the handling of several major events; the Oyster Fest, Restaurant Week, and Taste of Charleston, in the community as well as maintaining an expanding base of clients who’s loyalty has grown as each is treated with personal attention. Soraya McKay and Little Dog Agency also strive to serve it’s clients through each of the avenues available and avoiding specialization; to include television, print, radio, the internet, as well as creative approaches that meet each clients’ needs.

SIGNATURE PROJECT: Charleston Restaurant Association
This not-for-profit member organization represents an industry that has an incredible impact on our city – the culinary industry. While the Charleston Restaurant Association (CRA) has been around for more than 30 years, they have always struggled to gain the recognition they need to grow as an organization. In 2008, the CRA enlisted Little Dog Agency to promote the organization and their events; the Taste of Charleston, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival and two annual installments of Charleston Restaurant Week. As a result, these events have generated record-breaking attendance and revenue each year since 2009 and allowed the organization to become stronger and to donate more funds to local charities.

I serve on an eight person Southern Living Taste of Charleston committee that meets every week from February through October, 2011. The committee was developed to work on the expansion of the Taste of Charleston after the announcement of the Southern Living magazine partnership.

To date, Little Dog Agency has donated over $50,000 in services to the organization.

Project Goals –
o To increase awareness and recognition of the CRA and their members for their involvement in the culinary industry and the Charleston area community.
o To increase awareness of the charity events organized by the CRA.
o To grow the events to allow the organization to donate more funds to local charities and to continue to serve as a strong representative for their members.

Project Results –
o The signature events of the CRA have been more profitable over the past three years than they have been in the entire lifetime of the organization. This has allowed the CRA to donate more funds to local charities and to expand the member benefits and representation.
o Due to the success of the past several events, Southern Living magazine chose the Taste of Charleston as their partner event for fall 2011. This partnership brought national recognition to the CRA and to the Charleston culinary industry.
o Charleston Restaurant Week has allowed participating members to increase revenue during some of the slowest weeks of the year in the Charleston culinary industry. Some members have increased revenue during the events by over 100% versus the same time period in years past.
o 2012 will launch a branding campaign for the CRA. This would not have been possible without the success of their signature events and recognition that has come with these successes.

Role in the Project –
o Planning and execution of all media advertising – All events
o Planning and execution of all PR – All events
o Working with local and regional media to coordinate public service messages and execute interviews – All Events
o Collaborate with Time, Inc and Southern Living magazine to organize all press – Southern Living Taste of Charleston

o Write and assemble all elements of a twelve page promotional piece to provide consumers with in depth information about the events and to address frequently asked questions – Southern Living Taste of Charleston
o Committee member – Southern Living Taste of Charleston

WORDS I LIVE BY:
If you genuinely care about your clients and the success of their businesses, you won’t sleep until the job is done. We subscribe to this philosophy and everything seems to fall into place.

WHAT MOTIVATES ME:
The people I work with motivate me … coworkers, clients, media professionals and friends. The most gratifying part of my job is when a client relationship starts as a business relationship and grows into friendship through mutual respect and hard work. I feel very lucky to call all of our clients friends.

Congratulations to Soraya McKay for being a 2011 Marketer of the Year Finalist!

Their time to shine…

The 2011 Post and Courier Marketer of the Year Nominees have been announced! Click here to view the full list of nominees and cast your vote!

We will be taking the time over the next few weeks to recognize and spotlight each of the nominees individually. Check back for daily updates and to learn more about each of the 2011 nominees!

Kathryn Hartle, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tides Folly Beach – Kathryn is hard-working and dedicated to the Tides. She has been very creative in her marketing of the property and has been successful with her dynamic, diverse and targeted approach in positioning the Tides as a premier destination in the Charleston area for both locals and visitors. The hotel and Blu restaurant have done very well. Kathryn is active in the community and is also an active member of Charleston AMA.

Learn more about Kathryn and Tides Folly Beach here!

The Post and Courier Marketer of the Year winner will be announced at the Charleston AMA SPARK! Awards Luncheon, Thursday, November 3 at noon, The Charleston Marriott; Purchase tickets to the luncheon here.

QR Codes Popping Up Around Your Town

What are they? How are they being used? What are the privacy/security concerns?

by Ryan Jones

Quick Response, or QR, codes seem to be showing up everywhere, and marketers are scrambling to figure out how to leverage this emerging technology.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and most smart phone cameras/scanners. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, video or other data.

Created in Japan by Toyota subsidiary Densco-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was created to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

QR Code 1Seen QR codes lately? Keep an eye out for them in magazines, on company signage, window displays and even in TV ads

If you have browsed through a magazine in the last six months or so, chances are that you have seen a QR code. You may have also seen them displayed on placards in certain restaurants or in the window of retail locations promoting special offers. QR code scans have increased 4000% over the last year, which is a strong indication that this technology is finally beginning to take

hold in the United States. Some additional usage statistics for QR codes are contained in this graphic from JumpScan.com: 

QR Code 2

 

I participated in an interview relating to privacy/security issues with QR codes which can be seen above. The local NBC affiliate in Charleston, WCBD Channel 2 News, recently did a story about QR codes and their recent integration into various marketing mediums. After the original story ran, the news desk at Channel 2 received a flood of calls and emails regarding privacy and security issues with scanning QR codes.  

Privacy and Security Concerns:

The general consensus is that scanning QR codes is a safe practice, but as the technology evolves, there are certain things to be aware of to protect your privacy and to avoid potential scammers:

1) Read the privacy policy of your QR code scanner. There are literally thousands of code scanner apps available, but I would suggest sticking with the most trusted. How does one determine the most trusted scanning apps? For one, read the privacy policy to clearly understand what will be done with any private data that is gleaned from your phone. Also, read the customer reviews for the scanner app you are thinking of downloading. You can learn quite a bit from your fellow smart phone users.

2) Be aware of the QR code source. If you see it in a major publication, in a business window, or on legitimate company signage such as real estate “For Sale” signs, then you should be pretty safe. If you see a QR code sticker plastered to the back of the seat on subway ride or stuck to a light pole with no identifying markers, I probably would not scan it. It may be a scammer attempting a phishing scam or trying to redirect you to a nefarious website.

3) If you scan a QR code and the scan redirects you to a mobile site that immediately begins asking for your personal information or requests usernames and passwords, then that should be an immediate red flag. NEVER give out your personal financial information as the result of scanning a QR code. Use the same caution that you would use while browsing from your laptop/desktop. If a website immediately begins soliciting personal information, that is not only bad form from a usability perspective, but it could mean someone is attempting to compromise your personal financial information or other private data.

The QR Code can be an effective marketing medium. It is beginning to take hold in the U.S., but its long-term success will depend on the continuing adoption of this new technology. Currently you are seeing a lot of QR codes being used to marry traditional print media with an online component. A QR code takes up a minimal amount of page real estate in a magazine ad but can be linked to a mobile website with a great deal of information. It also can be tracked and provide a wealth of analytics data for a marketing campaign. To discover other uses for QR Codes, check out 101 Uses for QR Codes. Though some of it may be a stretch, I think the author does an excellent job of laying out the endless possibilities for QR codes in the marketing and advertising industry.

As this technology grows, keep an eye out for branded QR codes. One of the largest hurdles is for consumers to understand what the codes are and how to use to use them. Simply integrating the company brand with basic instructions will assist with increasing the adoption rate.  Companies are now beginning to integrate logos and colors into the QR code: 

QR Code 3How does your business leverage QR code technology? Contact me today to learn more about this emerging marketing platform.

Ryan Jones is a Digital Marketing Consultant who has worked in a variety of fields relating to online marketing. He specializes in organic search engine optimization, search engine marketing, mobile website development, and QR code marketing strategies. He has worked in the online marketing industry for 14 years and writes various articles on SEO and digital marketing related topics.

http://www.ryanjonesconsulting.com/