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October 12, 2023

The Right Ways to Use QR Codes During Brand Activations

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So, you want a QR code for attendees to scan and register at your event. I mean, it’s a great idea. Who doesn’t want to use your big brand awareness play to get more database info?

The problem is that many brand marketers know they should be using QR codes to help them collect information but just don’t know the right way to do it. Do you buy neon signs? Hire a clown to pass around QR stickers? Tattoo the codes on your body?!



I’m joking (kind of). Thankfully, I’ve done enough brand activations and supported a number of different strategies here at AnyRoad that I can tell you what works and what doesn’t from first-hand experience. I’ve helped brands like Westfield and more with theirs, and I’m excited to share what I’ve seen work with you!

So, here are my big dos and don’ts for QR codes, screens, and more at your next brand activation from someone who knows!

Print out your QR codes.

This might seem obvious, but so many people need to do more than just print out their QR codes. A smaller sheet of paper or a laminated stand makes a difference, instead of just designing a giant QR code on your banner and calling it a day.

Now, the key to this tip isn’t just the printing; it’s what you do with those pieces of paper after. Printing out codes is a great way to avoid bottlenecking if you have a line to your booth. Have an employee walk the QR codes down the line or pass out the slips of paper.

We’ve seen firsthand that long lines equal negative feedback, so using your QR code not just as a data collection tool but as a way to reduce wait time is a great way to both delight consumers and get the data you need.

Do a raffle or giveaway.

Have you ever heard of a value exchange? That’s when you offer something of perceived equal value to a consumer’s information. 

In a recent 6k respondent study from Coresight Research and Sailthru, as long as brands are following privacy best practices, “the vast majority of consumers responded that they will share data with brands in exchange for value like loyalty rewards (70%) and promotions (80%)”. 

Some of the best activation value exchanges are high-value raffles or giveaways with limited edition products or swag. Getting something and taking it home gives the psychological impression that consumers are leaving with more than they came with, and there's higher positive sentiment built around the brand.

Make sure that all your QR codes have enough information about the raffle or giveaway to make it transparent and appealing. So:

  • What the consumer will get if they win/if they give their info
  • What they need to do to receive that item
  • When you announce the winner of the raffle
  • How you’ll contact the winner of the raffle

If you use a raffle to encourage consumers to give you their demographic information or feedback in cases of product sampling, make sure there’s either a completion screen they can show you or a way for them to be searchable in your database.

For example, in AnyRoad, employees can search a live, up-to-date list of who registered their information with the consumer's name. Our customers who do brand activations use this feature to confirm raffle entries and continue building consumer relationships with post-event marketing.

A look at AnyRoad's platform

Choose one data collector.

Brand activations can be chaotic, especially when lines get long. That’s why, if you’re using QR codes, it’s important to have at least one person completely dedicated to collecting data. 

Your data collector can’t be afraid to go up and ask attendees to fill out the registration. They’re not afraid to make a huge commotion to get people to come over and attract attention.

Think about show promoters. They’re passing out tickets, schmoozing, and aren’t afraid to be a little pushy and loud. That’s the kind of person you need to encourage sign-ups, and they should only be responsible for data collection. 


I call that person ‘The Jack Black’


Dividing their focus makes their work less effective and won’t get the crowds you need for a successful activation. 

QR isn’t enough; get an iPad.

Fun fact: if you’re working with me and I’m helping you with your brand activation, I will always recommend using an iPad alongside QR codes.

It’s not that I don’t think QR codes don’t work. They definitely do. It’s just that time and time again, the brands I work with see more scans and registrations when there’s an iPad visible and out on a stand at an activation. It’s just a successful move. 

People see the iPad on the stand and think, “Oh, something’s going on there.” There's something to engage with outside of a QR code. An iPad on a stand makes a bigger splash. 

Consumers will walk up and fill out their registration, feedback, and more on the iPad itself. For larger events where cellular connectivity is spotty, platforms like AnyRoad offer offline capabilities on their iPad apps. That way, even if you face connectivity problems, you’re still getting the most out of your data collection. 

To sum it up…

QR codes are a great way to collect zero- and first-party data if you know how to use them! So, try my tips next time you plan to launch a brand activation strategy! And remember:

  • Print out your QR codes and be strategic about where you place them
  • Do a raffle, or other type of activity, to incentivize data collection
  • Assign at least one dedicated data collector to focus on driving registrations
  • Set up an iPad on a stand to maximize data collection alongside QR codes

And if you’re not sure if your system works, ask one of our experts what’s missing from your QR code strategy.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis

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