Bus Stop: The New Check In Hot Spot?

In Norway on June 18, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , ,

For any social media marketer wondering how to reach the Norwegian market, they need not look any further than…the bus stop?

In February 2011, Digital Urban of Norway launched a campaign, in collaboration with the Tales of Things, to incorporate over 4000 QR Codes at Norwegian bus stops.

But what exactly are these codes?  QR Codes, short for quick response codes, are two-dimensional bar codes that detect any encoded text, URL or other data.  QR Codes were originally developed in Japan, created by Toyota to detect car parts.  Now QR Codes have become very prominent in marketing campaigns, allowing consumers to link offline information to online content.

This QR Code campaign, originally launched in Norway at Kolumbus bus stops, not only allows QR Codes to inform travelers when their next bus is set to arrive, but also allows consumers to tweet and record stories of their travel experiences.  In a sense, this QR Code campaign has incorporated multiple platforms of social media; status updates much like Twitter, and check-in, much like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.  The check-in and story sharing is through the website, Tales of Things, which has a free application for download on both the iPhone and Android smart phones.  Tales of Things has taken on incorporating QR Codes as a way to share personal stories, or link personal items to a forum people can use to learn and comment on what others share.

Kolumbus project manager, Einar Hougen states: “When we learned about this exciting UK research project, we instantly recognized the parallels to our own QR tagging of bus stops, which we believe is the largest adaptation of QR codes of this kind in Norway to date. Scanning a QR code at a Kolumbus bus stop gives instant access to current departure times, right on your mobile phone.  Via our tech blog, we know there are many tech savvy users among our travelers. This will give them the opportunity to join this project, and hopefully have a bit of fun at the same time!”

As a brand, Kolumbus has utilized QR Codes to reach multiple social media forums, allowing consumer to read past experiences, share new experiences and engulf themselves in the Kolumbus brand without even realizing it.  I would say this is a bold and smart move on the part of Kolumbus.  This allows them to be open to both negative and positive stories, as well as feedback, seeing as anyone who has ever ridden a bus has a least one horrific story to share.  In the end, it allows them to reach an exorbitant number of people, while making it fun and interactive as well.

As the social media world continues to grow and develop, companies like Kolumbus will need to expand their creativity, find new and innovative ways to allow their consumers to dive into their brand, and do it in a way that’s fun and interesting.  The fact that Kolumbus is partnering with popular social media outlets such as Tales of Things, looking to make travel more convenient and entertaining, means that they are keeping their consumers in the forefront of their digital and marketing campaigns.  As a consumer, I dig that.  If I need to be taking a bus in Norway anytime soon, I know whose bus stop I’ll be waiting at.

One Response to “Bus Stop: The New Check In Hot Spot?”

  1. You were a bit of a victim of the great topic this week, as another classmate chose to write about the same topic. Being second meant that you had a tougher time to come up with a unique point of view that would separate your analysis from hers. While this was a really interesting campaign, in order to have that unique point of view you had to take the information that you found in this case study and go a step beyond retelling it in the blog post. What could have made their efforts better? Why don’t other countries follow this lead? Are there any brands which may be able to use a similar concept in their own marketing in the Norwegian market? These are the sorts of questions to try and ask yourself when you find something like this which offers you a packaged case study and point of view. Personally, I have found that in some ways, it is almost easier to write about something where you don’t have this level of detail … because there it will usually force you to think more about what the campaign really means.

    The other alternative is that if you happen to see that your topic has already been written about and you don’t feel you’ll have a significantly different point of view, you’ll have to scrap that idea and write about something else. As a blogger who has had to do that on more than on occasion, I can tell you that it really sucks to have to do it – but your content may end up being much more original and appreciated as a result. (3)

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