Trending Now

Trust, Relationships and QR Codes

One of the many unexpected consequences of the pandemic-related changes we’ve all experienced and endured over the past two years is the rising profile of QR codes.

There’s a fair chance you had rarely (or perhaps never) used a QR code before restaurants started using them in place of printed menus during the pandemic. In fact, QR codes may hold the crown as the king of all the Next Big Things That Never Were.

Still, they are being used not only as menu replacements now, but in TV commercials, print ads, and in informational settings from community kiosks to business cards. (I saw a flyer for a garage sale recently with a QR code leading to mapped directions to the sale location. And I just helped a friend add a QR code to the program for a memorial service that leads to the lyrics for the songs that will be part of the service.)

Of course, as awareness and use increase, so does a technology’s attractiveness to bad actors. So it is not surprising that there has been an increase in QR code scams intent on separating consumers from their personal information and, ultimately, their cash.

Regardless of how the scams work, as they spread they’ll increase the mistrust that consumers have. I am not suggesting you avoid using QR codes in your marketing — it might actually be nice for them to really be the next big thing. I am suggesting that you consider how well you’re establishing trust with your target audience and what you’re doing to build relationships with them over time.

Communicating regularly and transparently with your prospects is critical, as is vigilance in your efforts to keep you audience safe. That means making it clear what your standard channels of communication are and what kind of personal information you’ll ask them for — and what information you’ll never ask them to share online.

This can be harder or easier depending on your audience’s demographics and their comfort and experience with technology. Tailor your efforts to their needs and err on the side of caution. Create a guide for your prospects and clients on how to keep themselves safe while interacting with your firm.

And understand that the arms race will continue. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are working together to bring into a “post-password” world. Done well, that could make our digital world far, far safer. But only until the bad actors find the inevitable vulnerabilities on our new systems. Which means there will likely never be a substitute for establishing trust and building relationships with your prospects and clients.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top Back to top