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Are SR codes a quaint curio already?

Are SR codes a quaint curio already?

The short history of the Internet is littered with the flotsam of shipwrecked bad ideas.  These curios had their day in the sun but their brief flirtation with fame was never to be as they simply didn’t provide enough value.  An expensive high street property on Second–life, anyone?  And takers for WAP?  Do I have a bid on Shoshkeles?  Will someone take this Flash–intro off my hands please?

We look back on these indulgences with a mixture of bewilderment and patronising pity, assuring ourselves with collective amnesia that we were never part of the madness.

Well despite joining the party late, it seems that SR codes have taken less than a year to earn our quaint commiserations.

You will probably have seen an SR code, it is a square black and white matric barcode which some companies use to join up the online and offline experience of their customers.  SR (which stands for Slow Response) codes work in just thirteen very simple steps:

The prospect or customer reads an advert or piece of literature

They want to find out more

They ignore the easy to remember website address

They ignore any easy to remember keywords or brand names which will quickly find the website on Google

They get their mobile phone out of their pocket

They download an SR code app

They make a cup of tea while it is downloading

They scan the SR code using their phone

They try again as there is bad light in the room

At a later date they recall the experience

They get their phone back out of their pocket

They open the SR code app

They use the SR code to complete the online journey

The beauty of the experience lies in its lack of speed, as the prospect or the customer is able to luxuriate in the brand experience for hours as they try to get the damn thing to work.  Having gone through the “thirteen step plan” there are some further techniques to bear in mind which provide yet further opportunity to delight the prospect or customer:

The SR code just takes the customer to a generic website home page

The website in question doesn’t work on a mobile device

The destination of the SR code makes no account of the message on the piece of offline literature

The destination of the SR code contains no content sensitive to the motivations and drivers of the customer in the first place

To balance the misanthropy I should finish by commenting on the first cousin of the SR code, the QR code.  When he is used well, he is great fun and very creative… 

By Gareth Dunlop

Gareth formed Fathom in 2011 and has been in the business of design performance for over two decades.

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