Sunday, September 4, 2011

QR Codes at the Zoo

I took a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo again today. My wife, daughter, and I have been going regularly since my mom bought us season passes. The zoo an ideal place for showing a kid some cool things, and wearing them the heck out in the process!

I'm sure you may have seen these QR Codes popping up more and more around your city lately. If you're not familiar, the black & white maze-looking image in the lower right of the picture is a code that can be scanned with the bar code reader app on your smart phone. Scanning can reveal a web address, a store coupon, or most anything else. QR codes are now being used to add to the users experience by giving additional information, uncovering an exclusive deal, and taking an offline experience online in some way.

I snapped this picture today to show how the Cincinnati Zoo is using QR Codes to enhance the experience of their visitors and encourage education on, and donations to, a specific cause. This one here is for the solar panels that line the roofs over the zoo's parking lot. The panels shade the vehicles while producing valuable energy used by the zoo and others in the city. Scanning the QR code will tell you more about the project, and the corporation that heads it up.

Inside the zoo I saw several of these QR Codes at animal exhibits (no more pictures because we got rained out). They not only offered more information about the given animal and its habitat, but resources on how to contribute to protecting both. This is a great way to market the good that zoos do for our environment and encourage others to get involved. The code makes it easy, and also targets those that are interested in learning more rather than just posted for people to ignore.

It's the engagement provided by the code that can make the effort successful. Who else has experience with QR Codes? Where have you seen them? Are you using them for your business? Is this a good way to engage people?