We’ve all seen the bizarre black squares that are consistently being photographed by smartphone users. They’re called QR codes, an innovative re-imagining of barcode technology. Originally used for tracking components in vehicle manufacturing, these codes are now used in a much broader context. The application of QR codes is even finding new life in creative business ventures and interactive advertising.What is a QR Code? A QR, or Quick Response code, is a specific matrix barcode that is readable by specialized scanners and, more generally, smartphones. Because QR codes are two-dimensional constructs, they can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information much like the traditional barcode found on most purchased products. They are useful tools for business because of their potential to hold huge amounts of easily translatable information. When you scan or read a QR code with your smartphone, the code links you to web-enabled digital content. Similarly to when a barcode is scanned to generate the price of a given item in a food store, in a much more complicated way, when a QR code is scanned, increased amounts of information can then be generated. How are QR codes used in Business? Making a QR code is not difficult. It’s a simple process of entering the appropriate data into a QR generator. There are several free versions of this code online, if you’d like to check one out try using the Kaywa generator. After you’ve created your QR code, it is possible to print it on business cards, posters, billboards, or publish it on the web. After the code is available, potential customers are able to scan the code using their phone and then access whatever data you would like them to see. Why it works Creating a QR code is a unique way of creating an interactive ad campaign. You give the mysterious code to the audience; the audience deciphers the code and is then rewarded with the information you’ve coded. It adds value to that information by making it a fun activity. Though QR codes remain new to America, they’ve been a popular way of creating brand loyalty in Japan for over a decade. If you’re trying to create a conversation with your prospects, think about using this innovative device.