Burson-Martseller Reports on 2D Barcode Use by Fortune 50

Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and communications firm, and sister agency, Proof Integrated Communications, just released the findings of a research study titled "Fortune 50 Use of Mobile: If You've Got It, Flaunt It."

Essentially, the study reveals that the majority of Fortune 50 companies have mobile websites and or apps, but few are actively promoting their involvement or accessibility in the mobile space to their customers or the marketplace in general. Hence the thought to "Flaunt It."

What's interesting to note is that the researchers thought enough to include 2D barcodes as part of the study, but the results in this area were somewhat dismal. Only 22%, or 11 companies, of the F50 use 2D barcodes.

My question to the researchers in relation to this 22% number is, on what frequency and in what format do you define usage? More often than not, a company, F50 or otherwise, will use 2D technology once and never be heard from again. But, then, there companies like Best Buy and Ford, who have integrated 2D into their overall marketing activity and use it over and over. With respect to format, was Burson-Martseller/Proof Integrated including companies that only use 2D for advertising and promotional purposes, or were they also including the use of 2D for non-advertising or promotional purposes.

Another interesting factor about the study is that the researchers make frequent use of the term "QR Code" and not 2D barcode, the more all encompassing term for what QR Codes, and others, actually are. Is this because the majority of those 11 companies do, in fact, use QR Codes, or is it just a slip-up? Could/should anything be inferred from this?

From the press release which announced the findings, I found this comment somewhat odd, "Twenty-two percent of the Fortune 50 are placing QR codes in magazines, on billboards, or at any convenient location to deliver relevant content (my italics) to smartphone users." Are these companies, or others for that matter, really offering relevant content time and time again? How about valuable content? Or beneficial content? Or content that truly enhances the customer experience? In the long run, to research that kind of information, I believe, would be of greater benefit.

All things considered, thank you Burson-Martseller/Proof Integrated for including 2D technology in your line of questioning. It is good to know that, overall, 2D technology is gaining recognition and acceptance in the marketplace. Perhaps by this time next year the number within the F50 will have doubled or tripled.


  1. They also had an ad featured on that page with Microsoft Tag...

  2. A: Not sure what you are referring to here. I do not recall seeing a Microsoft Tag. Please clarify.

  3. This study was very revealing, very nice analysis. At Scanlutions, we have worked with companies falling in the 'Fortune 50' and have noticed that the same problems come up as with Joe's Local Pizzaria. That problem is providing relevant content. In fact, a recent campaign by a Fortune 50 corporation (Note: not our client :) featured the prominent use of QR codes. It was a great day, until everyone found out the codes did not even work. People ask me why QR has not taken off yet, and unfortunately it is far too easy for me to point to campaign after campaign that offer no call to action, no value to the consumer or presents a code that results in an error. I implore anyone looking to launch a campaign to do the back end work to provide a positive consumer experience.