Orange is the new black, grey is the new orange, white is the new grey, black is the new white—and so the circle continues. Trends come, and trends go, fashion changes, and yet through it all, some things just keep on carrying on.
Take the humble business card, for example. Certainly since the dawn of the internet era, there have been countless articles proclaiming THE BUSINESS CARD IS DEAD! And yet, here we are in 2015, and the choice and quality of this plucky little enabler of networking continues to go from strength to strength. There’s a peculiar quirk of the connected world that, despite the increasing ease of making contact and doing business around the world, we’ve not yet found a genuine replacement for the power of a face-to-face introduction.
So, what is the secret power that the business card holds and how can you ensure you make yours work as hard as possible?
The power of memory
It’s well known that we can aid our memory by utilising the visual cue. If you can associate a place or person with a vivid or noteworthy memory, then you are inherently more likely to remember them when time comes for such reclamation. Your business card, so often the sole physical artefact of an initial business interaction, is a critical tool in becoming memorable in your associate’s mind.
Making and reinforcing a good first impression
The refrain of the enthusiastic parent to their progeny’s first job interview has never been truer. Opinions are formed remarkably quickly, yet, like a brisk breeze on a winter’s day, those impressions can be blown away by the passing of time and the inevitable maelstrom of the modern working day. Any positive reminder of the impression you gave becomes critical and often the only physical manifestation of your business is that small piece of card with your name and your telephone number on it.
Maximising your exposure
So it would seem that the business card has an extremely important role to play in turning face-to-face communications into actual, bone fide, business. What, then, can we do to maximise our own opportunities? It’s all in the details…
First and foremost, it’s vital that your business card presents you and your business in a way that is consistent with your brand positioning and tone. If your style is pinstripe suits and your website presentation is classic and corporate, a business card that utilises neon inks and flashy graphics instantly introduces dissonance, and dissonance leads to confusion, and confusion leads to the dark si—wait, that’s not right…
Do not underestimate the damage that inconsistency can do to your brand and your prospects. Think carefully about how your entire business is presented before you commit it to your cards—in the world of multiple customer touch-points, inconsistency stands out.
Now you’ve spent time honing your brand, it would be folly to commit such considered positioning to an inferior substrate. Consistency and quality go hand in hand, yet are entirely different disciplines. Quality is not simply a result of finding the thickest paper. Quality is represented in attention to detail, it’s represented by fine craftsmanship and, yes, it’s represented by the paper.
Consider this: does this paper stock reinforce my branding? A modern, minimalist organisation may not lend itself to a classic textured stock. A traditional solicitors’ office probably wouldn’t suit a modern, gloss laminated product. Think about what you represent and pick a paper that complements you. Believe us when we say: people will notice.
Never underestimate the power of being different. When done right, different equals memorable. When done wrong, different equals different. But, with the correctly chosen flourish, you can stand out and materially impact the chances of closing that deal. Whether it’s the well considered square business card that stands out proud on a desk of facsimiles, a stunning brown card with asymmetrical corners cut off, or a unique embossed texture in your paper, differentiation done right, is business done right.
We wonder if you have thoughts as to the enduring appeal of the Business Card or any helpful tips that you’ve found noteworthy when making your own. We’d love to hear about them in the comments.