QR codes have come a long way from where they started. They were designed by the Japanese auto industry to help streamline their operations. Now, they are being seen in operating rooms, post offices, and coffee shops. If people are skeptical about the future of QR codes, it’s probably because they haven’t been exposed to this technology’s full potential.
Getting additional information is a way of life for us now online. If we like a journalist we are one click away from following them on twitter. If you are reading an article on Wikipedia and come across a term you don’t know, click a link and you have all the information you need make sense of what you are reading.
What if you could translate this kind of interconnectivity from the Internet to the “real” world? Saving the matrix jokes for later, it’s pretty obvious where I’m going with this. QR codes make it possible for people to use their smartphones to interact with the physical world in a way that mirrors the way we give and get information online. The problem (especially from a marketing/graphic design standpoint) is that QR codes are ugly… like really ugly.
Real problems – attractive solutions
Not content to let QR codes sink into obscurity, the team behind Visualead has developed innovative ways of integrating these matrix barcodes visually. Instead of breaking up visuals, Visualead’s QR codes become part of the picture.
Ari Fuld, Visualead’s social media and content manager, says that engagement (not QR code) is the real focus of the company. Visualead.com makes this apparent, and provides designers and advertisers with a functional and flexible platform for creating more engaging QR codes that can merge seamlessly with branding and design schemes.
Founder Nevo Alva and his team think of Visual QR Codes as effective and attractive “calls to action”. Embedding a QR into images and advertisements is a big of a game changer when it comes to how the public interacts with the media around them. 1 out of 2 marketers utilize QR codes to encourage customer interaction. That’s not a bad market to tap into.
Visualead’s team of 8 marketing, technology, and image recognition pros designed a website that allows users to create an embeddable QR code in about 60 seconds (no graphic design skills needed). They provide a freemium plan for users, where you can design and use a Visual QR code. The way they pay for that drawback is that the viewer will have to look at a 5 second “upload landing page” before getting to the intended destination on their phones.
For a one-time fee of $14 users can buy the Silver Package, which (besides sounding like the name of a villain from Austin Powers) lets users get a code that doesn’t redirect customers first.
Their coolest product is their Gold Package, which allows users to create QR codes that preserve 70% of the original image. The price tag is a little higher (one-time fee of 56 bucks) but users get a really cool final product and advanced analytic support.
This combination of generating revenue from ads, users, and licensing/rec shares has allowed Visualead to offer a unique user-friendly service to a hungry market. How hungry is that market? Well they’ve had a 100% month-to-month increase in the number of codes being generated for a while now.
With numbers like that, it’s pretty clear that Visualead is quickly changing the way people see and use QR codes. It could also help explain why they kick some serious ass at the GMIC conference in Beijing this year.