Even in the digital age, business cards can still carry the strongest message
I have often been asked if business cards are really all that necessary these days. With so many people keeping their contact lists in smart phones or in email programs, what purpose does a business card serve?
The truth is, no matter how much technology progresses, people are essentially the same. Their likes and dislikes, habits and what keeps their interest have for the most part remained unchanged. How does this impact on the value of a business card or brochure? Simple.
Lets say you’ve just met someone at a business meeting. After chatting for a while you both agree to exchange business cards so that you can meet again. Your hand him your card. It’s a full colour card on heavy card stock with a clean design and professionally designed logo. On the back is your company’s mission statement.
His card is basic black printing on a light off-white stock. The company name is in Helvetica with the rest of the text in Times Roman. The original telephone number has been crossed out with pen. A new number hand written above it.
Not knowing anything about this person’s company, all you would have to go on would be the business card. Is this someone you would want to do business with? If they can’t put any effort into having a professional business card, how much effort will they put into taking care of you?
A business card is more than a piece of paper with some contact information on it. When combined with an effective design, a business card can instantly capture someone’s attention. And that is the first step in being remembered, which is what we all want. It can also invoke an image that reflects your company. Are the design colours warm and calming, or vibrant and dynamic? Is there a logo? Is the text in block or script? All of these factors contribute to how people will feel when they see your card. And this is the key to creating a company image.
Designing a professional business card is as much an art as a science. There are design companies that do nothing but design cards and logos. If you choose to design your own card, be sure to show it to as many people as possible before you print it. Keep in mind that it must inform, be easy to read and create a “look” that reinforces your company’s image.
So now the question is “What do people do with the cards after the meeting?” Even if the information is later entered into an email contact list, that does not mean the business card will get tossed.
There are number of reasons why people keep business cards. Most of which are impacted by the quality and design of the card.
Ever passed along someone else’s business card to a colleague or friend? It happens a lot. Studies have shown that the more attractive a business card, the greater the chance it will be passed on to others. Many people may end up seeing your card before they see you. That means that people’s first impression of you could be based on your business card.
Sometimes there’s nothing more effective than taping a business card to a wall or pinning it to a cork board. A local catering company may have their card tacked to a wall in the company lunch room. Dozens of people may see that card every day. Make them take notice.
Business card catalogues are still used by many people. They organize the cards by name, company or service. When they go searching for “that company”, will your card leap out at them or disappear amongst all the rest.
The Cool Factor
People like to keep things that are interesting, amusing or useful. A business card that has a joke on the back, or a chart for calculating interest rates will probably end up in a desk drawer instead of the trash bin.
What’s important to remember is that your business card is an extension of you and your company. Just as you would dress sharp for a meeting, your business card should also look sharp. After all, it’s what they’ll remember you by.
Marc Gordon is a professional speaker and marketing consultant based in Toronto, Ontario. His firm, Fourword Marketing, specializes in helping businesses create a brand identity and developing effective marketing campaigns. Marc can be reached at (416) 238-7811 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (416) 238-7811 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit www.marcgordon.ca
That Channel.com interview with Janette Burke and Hugh Reilly