Big or small, new or old, companies invest a great deal of time, money and resources into the creation and management of a brand identity. So why, when a company uses a 2D barcode in their advertising or marketing collateral, does it choose a generic barcode, as opposed to a branded one?
For reference: a generic barcode refers to a simple black and white code, nothing more, nothing less. A branded barcode refers to a code that has been customized with a company's name and or logo placed in the code symbol itself and, instead of being the utilitarian black and white in color, the code is generated using a myriad of colors (see example).
While not all 2D barcodes allow for branding and customization, QR codes do, and there is one company that has been making a name for itself in this area, QRArts. Founded by Patrick Donnelly and based in Washington, D.C., QRArts specializes in branded QR codes, as well as mobile website design and print content management.
In speaking with Patrick, he predicts that the majority of QR codes that we will see from day-to-day will be branded for the simple reason that a branded code serves to differentiate and distinguish one company from another, especially when a code stands alone and is not directly associated with an advertisement or promotional piece. From an overall brand management perspective, codes will be considered as one more item to be standardized.
If a branded 2D barcode makes sense for your organization and or brand/marketing strategy, know that before rushing to generate and make use of a code it's prudent to "scan test" the code to ensure that it works properly.