A month has passed since we sent out Valentine’s Day cards to many of our loyal customers with a special seasonal QR code promotion and we’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who has replied with kind words.

At Zest, we believe in forming a close relationship with you, the customer, and it’s because of this that we’re really keen to know what you thought of our affectionate Valentine’s offering. So please do drop us an email to let us know if it worked for you.

It worked for Jaime, from West Terrace Dental Practice in Eastbourne, who scanned and entered our prize draw and ended Valentine’s Day with an extra surprise.

The history of the QR code (short for quick read) is an interesting one – originating in Japan in 1994 as a replacement to the barcode and created because of its ability to store a far greater amount of information.

Example of a custom QR code – scan me to view the Zest Printing Twitter page

While the QR code and its derivatives have now taken hold in their native country, they have struggled in other parts of the world – including the UK – with some even going as far as to claim them past their peak or, worse yet, already irrelevant.

The biggest reason for this, despite QR code technology being free, is that iOS and Android phones have yet to ship with a reader preloaded on them, thus limiting uptake.

It’s a technology that holds hugely untapped potential and the applications are vast. Aside from love notes from yours truly, there are a whole host of uses for the code (automated emails, accompaniments to print advertising, a protected means of storing sensitive data and even digital scavenger hunts) but, unfortunately, they are often misused. To get the most out of QR codes, they must be used in a specific way for a specific purpose.

Something else is looming on the horizon though that is all together more visually impressive. Mobile advertising is leaping forward all the time, and augmented reality advertising (ARA) is next in line.

There are several apps (check out Blippar and Augment!) already available that users can download to sample augmented reality technology. The video below shows just how attractive this dynamic form of advertising can be.

We’re really excited about this form of cross-media advertising. We’re passionate about print and to see traditional media hand-in-hand with the latest in digital consumer technology puts a smile on our faces.

What now for the humble QR code though? As it stands, due to their complexity, most dynamic forms of ARA are still out of reach of businesses that don’t have marketing budgets bigger than the turnover of most SMEs. That is where the modest QR code – used with enough imagination – has the chance to steal back a little bit of that market share from the big companies.

You can send us a tweet, befriend us on Facebook, give us a call on 01323 638838 or drop us an email to let us know how we got on with our Valentine’s Day cards.

Julie Banks

I’m the business strategy person. I’ve worked in print for
almost 20 years so I know it inside out. For me, people
are the best thing about Zest, both my team and our
customers. I get a real buzz from helping customers to do
what they do even better.

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