How to use QR codes to tell a story

by Carl Natale on April 25, 2011

I must apologize to Amy Vintinner, marketing manager at Sea Bags. I neglected her story when I wrote about C.C. Chapman’s presentation at Friday’s Social Media Breakfast. Because she’s doing good things with content.

Favorite thing is taking photos of people using Sea Bags in the field and posting the photos on Facebook. That’s a great way to show customers using the product and having fun with it. By putting it on Facebook, the customers in the photos can share the photos with their friends. Thus spreading the brand message.

Sea Bags also is planning something very powerful with QR codes. Yes, I’m saying something nice about QR codes. That’s because the QR codes they will print on tags connected to each bag will link to a video about the sails that are used to make the bags. These bags literally do have a story. Actually it’s more like a journal. The sails have traveled the world. And it’s so cool that Sea Bags can make that part of the story.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think shoppers are going to stand in a store, scan a tag, watch a video and buy the bag. Even if the video tells a compelling story with beautiful scenes. Stores just aren’t the right venue for this kind of media consumption. Retail marketing makes impressions quickly.

But this is the right thing to do. Because I think customers are going to scan the codes when they get home after the purchase. The result of the video will be higher satisfaction among Sea Bags customers. They are going to feel better about the purchase and show more pride.

This means more repeat sales and stronger word of mouth.

And this goes to a point made by C.C. later.

Sometimes you can’t quantify the ROI of a marketing tactic

Especially when that tactic involves telling a story or starting a conversation. It will be real hard to match QR codes attached to Sea Bags with sales increases. But that won’t mean it will be a waste of time.

Sure you can do a customer survey to gauge customer satisfaction. Which will be worthless if you don’t have a baseline for satisfaction.

So you’re not going to always get a number to measure effectiveness. And if you only stick to the conversation tools tied directly to numbers, you’re going to miss some opportunities.

‘Hi, I’m a Sea Bag’


You know the “Hi, I’m a Mac” commercials. Do you think they really get anyone to switch from a PC? I say the real value is that they make Mac users (already a cult) feel even better about themselves. The commercials are preaching to the choir.

So what’s the ROI of giving your loyal following something to laugh about and the media more to write?

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