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Timberland exec: QR codes lead to brand engagement


Timberland Microsoft Tags in Lucky magazine

SAN DIEGO - A Timberland executive at the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit said that although many debate how effective mobile bar codes are, they give users an outlet to learn more about a product.

During the “Deepening the Brand Engagement Via QR Code Strategies” session, the executive spoke about how the footwear brand has used mobile bar codes in several campaigns. The presentation also offered attendees best practice tips for implementing their own mobile bar code programs.

“The goal of the QR code is to drive consumer engagement but also deliver a utility,” said Brian McGovern, senior manager of North America marketing at Timberland, Stratham, NH.

Mobile boot

Timberland is a footwear brand that is traditionally associated with authentic, rugged boots, making it challenging to market the brand’s line of stylish shoes to tech-savvy consumers who only have one view of the company.

Depending on the line that Timberland wants to promote, using mobile video can be a great way to spread the word about a new product.

Right now, Timberland is seeing that four to five percent of consumers are scanning the mobile bar codes. Although that number might seem small, the number of consumers it actually hits from large-scale campaigns is large. Additionally, it is a tangible number that marketers can use to measure their campaigns.

Many mobile experts say that consumers do not know what a mobile bar code is and therefore are not using them. Although consumers might not be fully up to speed on the technology, they are interested in learning how the technology works, which shows the potential that mobile bar codes offer marketers.

For example, research from eMarketer showed that 21 percent of consumers knew what a mobile bar code did. However, 81 percent of users knew what they looked like. Additionally, 46 percent of consumers in the study scanned the mobile bar code because they were interested in what it would do.

The key to enticing consumers to scan a mobile bar code is giving them content with a real value.

Mobile bar codes are plastered everywhere and have gone mainstream, per the exec.

Mr. McGovern at the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit

Timberland uses both QR codes and Microsoft Tags for its campaigns.

In particular, many of its print campaigns have used Microsoft Tags to leverage print content. Microsoft Tags also include a link that directs users to download the code reader app, which helps educate consumers on mobile technology.

By using mobile, Timberland is able to bring print materials to life. For example, the company worked with Shape magazine on a campaign that connected with video content to show consumers how a product could be styled.

Timberland’s social media and mobile efforts go hand in hand, according to the exec. Timberland has approximately 73,000 Facebook consumers, a chunk of which have found the brand via mobile bar codes.

Timberland also recently partnered with Lucky magazine to give users a chance to win a trip to the Sundance Film Festival. In order to enter, consumers had to use Facebook.

The footwear brand also uses mobile bar codes on out-of-home ads. For a boot brand, the company tied a mobile bar code with a video that showed how durable a shoe was.

Lead by example

As examples of brands that are getting mobile bar codes right, Mr. McGovern used recent campaigns from Home Depot and Samuel Adams.

Home Depot places mobile bar codes on its products in-store. By letting consumers search for product information while in-store, the brand is able to offset the “Amazon effect,” where consumers comparison shop in-store.

Samuel Adams also recently used a mobile bar code campaign on bar coasters to let consumers interact with the brand.

As a best-practice tip, the executive said that is crucial to make sure that all parts of a campaign are optimized for mobile. It is also essential to give users a piece of content that they cannot get elsewhere.

As mobile bar codes become more sophisticated, it will be a challenge for marketers looking to use them with features such as geofencing or image recognition.

“Mobile bar code adoption is high, especially on certain demographics,” Mr. McGovern said.

“If you are going to go through the effort, make sure it is relevant for consumers,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Software and technology, Brian McGovern, Timberland, mobile marketing, mobile, Mobile Shopping Spring Summit

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Comments on "Timberland exec: QR codes lead to brand engagement"

  1. Neil Sequeira says:

    May 20, 2013 at 7:14am

    A scan rate of 5% or so is quite good for QR codes! Interesting campaign and good use of QR codes by Timberland!
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