Atomic Rewards: The Solution to Attention Recession (Part 9)

QR Moments

The obvious examples where atomic rewards can be persuasive are in push messages sent by brands to their customers: emails opens and clicks, SMS clicks, and push notification clicks. A step beyond is the actual action after the click: filling out a survey, watching a product video, providing feedback, sharing some personal info, recommending a friend. These are all very good starting points for timely nudges and also driving awareness about atomic rewards.

Let’s look at more examples of moments in our daily lives where atomic rewards can drive behaviour change. Combined with QR codes, atomic rewards can be magical!

Wall Street Journal had some interesting history about QR codes recently: “QR stands for Quick Response, and these codes were invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara at the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave. Their original purpose was to track inventory in factories, but broader uses became possible with the advent and ubiquity of smartphones. QR codes are essentially a two-dimensional version of bar codes, which are a clever way of encoding information in an image using vertical lines of different thicknesses that a scanner can detect. Hara’s 2-dimensional version uses a square grid of small black and white squares, apparently inspired by the board game Go.”

An earlier article in WSJ showed some uses in the US context: “QR codes — essentially a kind of bar code that allows transactions to be touchless — have emerged as a permanent tech fixture from the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants have adopted them en masse, retailers including CVS and Foot Locker have added them to checkout registers, and marketers have splashed them all over retail packaging, direct mail, billboards and TV advertisements. But the spread of the codes has also let businesses integrate more tools for tracking, targeting and analytics, raising red flags for privacy experts. That’s because QR codes can store digital information such as when, where and how often a scan occurs. They can also open an app or a website that then tracks people’s personal information or requires them to input it. As a result, QR codes have allowed some restaurants to build a database of their customers’ order histories and contact information. At retail chains, people may soon be confronted by personalized offers and incentives marketed within QR code payment systems.”

QR codes have primarily been used to drive actions leading to transactions. They can be used equally effectively for attention and engagement.  Let’s say one is watching an ad on TV or in a movie theatre. At times, we do see a number to send an SMS or give a missed call so the advertiser can generate a lead. Instead, what if a QR code showed up in the ad. Our smartphones are always with us. All it takes is a few seconds to start the camera app and a click to land on the info-filled page or video the advertiser wants. All of this can be done today. Now, combine it with a ubiquitous reward and the response rate can multiply manifold.

Every offline company should be putting a QR code with a small Mu incentive on its products so they can start identifying their prospects and customers. Every advertiser should be doing the same – and as a by-product, they will also know which advertising medium drove how many responses. Outdoor hoardings could have QR codes with Mu to do the same. While each one of them could use QR codes (and many are already doing so), the addition of Mu can be the trigger for immediate action.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.