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Thursday, 24 November 2011

QR codes: a fantastic business marketing tool you should be using!

Over the past few months we’ve been encouraging our clients to start incorporating Quick Response codes (QR codes) into their marketing communications because they are an extremely cost-effective and useful way of encouraging customers to interact with a company’s products or services.

What are QR codes and what should I use them for?
QR codes are 2-D barcodes that behave like hyperlinks and can be decoded using your smartphone with a QR code reader. They can link to a new product page on your website, a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile, a Google maps reference, vouchers or special offers – just about anything you want to show and tell your customers about. You can also use QR codes to send emails and SMS messages automatically or upload people’s contact details into your smartphone’s address book. They were first designed for the auto industry to track parts.

QR codes – a huge marketing opportunity just waiting to be tapped
The great thing about QR codes is that you are not limited in terms of length, size and space. Traditional advertising works on limits. You pay for extra airtime, advertising and newspaper space. But fixing a QR code to your advertisement, you are literally limitless in the amount of information you can include in your advert. According to the latest UK survey of mobile phone users in July 2011, 45% of consumers already own a smartphone with a further 17% planning to acquire one within the year. In terms of marketing opportunities, there is an audience for QR codes that is just waiting to be tapped!

How do I get a QR code?
It’s very easy. There are several websites which will create QR codes for free like Quickqr and Qrstuff.

How do QR codes work?
The first thing you need to do is to download a QR reader. Most smartphones come with readers already installed these days. You can also download one from the internet for free. After you’ve done this, enter the QR reader on your phone and take a picture of the QR code. This will take you to the code’s location. For example, if you put your LinkedIn or website address into the QR code creator, the QR code created will take people to that page when they take a picture of it on their smartphone.

How do you use a QR code?
You can use QR codes to promote yourself, your products and services in all sorts of ways. For example, you might have a QR code next to each product on your web site which contains product details, contact information and the web link to the page so consumers can review this information on their smart phone and share it with their friends. You could add one to your job advertisement, exhibition stand, company signage and business card so it’s easy for someone to add you to their smart phone address book.

In short, you can add a QR code to any marketing and advertising materials from posters to TV advertisements and use them to connect consumers or customers to:

  • Product information

  • Contact details

  • Special offers

  • Special events

  • Competition details

  • Voucher or coupon

  • Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

  • Latest YouTube video
If you are interested in using QR codes here are some useful links:

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How to write a good PR brief

A PR pitch and eventual communications programme are only as good as the PR brief you provide.

Here are some quick tips on how to write a good PR brief.

Vision and objectives: state what your vision and key objectives are. What is it that you want to achieve, where, when and why?

Target audiences: identify who you want to reach.

Background: provide background information on your organisation, this could for example, be a company profile explaining what you do and your products and services. Explain what issues and challenges your organisation is facing and any key selling messages and unique selling points you have (e.g. why do people choose your organisation / products / services?).

The PR brief:

  • Identify and highlight the areas you want the PR agency to tackle and what resources, including any additional agency or in-house PR or marketing communications support.

  • Budget: be clear on how much you want to spend as your PR strategy and programme will need to be built around your budget.

  • Deadlines: state your project delivery deadlines.

  • Useful website references: include these and any other resources which will help the PR agency learn more about your organisation.

  • Provide high quality business information: PR professionals are business advisers and strategists, so a good brief will provide scope for consultants to give their perspective and insight on the issues you need to address and strategies. This will also give you an insight into the agency’s creative and strategic thinking capabilities.

  • Account management: ask the PR agency to provide details on how they will manage the account and work on a day to day basis with you, your organisation and management team.

  • Confidentiality: include a statement on confidentiality and intellectual property.

  • Submission date: advise when your submission deadline is.

Experience / references

  • Ask for examples of work and project successes so the PR consultancy or agency can highlight their skills and capabilities and request references too.