Monthly Archives: September 2020

Will Covid-19 kill the business card?

So many people have taken to working from home in the Coronavirus pandemic, driven by necessity mostly but this could soon become something of a new design.
Modern technology has allowed people to keep working using home electronics, remote access and meeting facilities like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout and many other collaborative platforms. Now, a recent news story has hinted that working together in a shared office space may be a thing of the past and that Coronavirus has sounded the death knell for the modern office environment as we now know it.
There are so many advantages to working from home:-
• No commute so that saves times, sometimes lots of time as well as lowers stress levels
• No travel costs, a really significant factor for many people
• Zero carbon emissions – no car, bus or train
• Flexibility around family commitments
• More hours in the day due to the absence of travelling so more family time
Many respected industry leaders are already embracing Covid-19 as the push they needed to consider basing most or all of their workforce at home. For commercial organisations, the money saved in terms of providing premises makes it a no-brainer. With lockdown still partially in place and with some form of social distancing likely to remain the norm for a long time to come, it is just easier to leave people where they are.
Organisations who may never have taken that intrepid first step and perhaps only have a small portion of their staff at home have been forced into a sea change because of the global pandemic. Now their hand has been forced, they have realised that it is possible, it is do-able and their product hasn’t actually suffered at all as a result of it.
If Covid-19 spells the death knell for the office then will this also impact on conferences and conventions and international meetings? Possibly not. As people will see each other far less frequently then large gatherings may become even more important, to bring staff members together from time to time. And the requirement to engage with clients will remain.
As we all know, conversing and interacting with someone via a screen is not the same as face to face; technology is a wonderful thing and has totally saved some people from isolation and from losing their jobs in the current crisis. But it is not the same as the real thing. Face to face contact will become rarer but when it does happen, there will be a premium and cachet attached to it. Conferences and meetings will become the exception rather than the rule but their importance – the crucial element of engaging one person with another – will be showcased by their scarcity.
So, before you throw away your business cards, train season ticket or bus pass, hang onto those business cards. Yes, there is email marketing but many industry experts believer that the card that you can touch and feel is still the most effective direct marketing tool around. It seems to be the one thing that technology hasn’t been able to replace and that is because of the human engagement, the innate element of exchanging cards in the same way that Zoom or Skype will never quite match – having that person sitting directly in front of you. The card is like a business hug, a touch on the arm, it is all about the physical not the digital.
With less human engagement in the office community going forward, personal encounters are going to be even more valuable when they happen, not less. Intimate, engaging and detailed conversations will become a rarity, a lost but cherished art. The memory of a face to face meeting is going to be thrown into sharp relief signed sealed and delivered by the ritual handing over of that little piece of card.
Business cards help you to remember that person, in person, and the whole value of the human encounter is going to be elevated particularly if the majority of people’s interaction becomes largely digital. Business cards still do create a memorable first impression – it’s not about the card per se although a great design with good branding will certainly cement that first impression. It’s about the person handing over the card at the end of a meeting or conversation – that is what people remember providing that it is memorable, of course.
Business cards also demonstrate by their very existence, a care and professionalism which is somehow sadly lacking if you walk away from that great encounter with just a friendly handshake or a nod of the head but no card. A business card is a tangible memory of you. There is, of course, some degree of responsibility to get the design right and to create something worthy of you and what you stand for. There is nothing worse than being handed a poor quality or ill-conceived business card which actually shouts out that the giver can’t be bothered and cares even less.
So don’t get carried away with the wonders of digital marketing; that carefully crafted direct marketing email that you spent days on could still be consigned to the trash can at the flick of a button – you can’t even guarantee the recipient is going to read it – compare that to pressing your business card into someone’s hand after a particularly successful meeting or engagement? Business cards are fast, easy, discrete, compact, clever and a huge branding opportunity if you want them to be one. Any expert will tell you that the very hottest and best business lead is the one you personally speak to and present with your card – all the digital marketing in the world cannot compete with that. So, the office as we know it might be dead, sacrificed on the altar of the Coronavirus but think twice before you ditch your business cards. The world will ultimately go back to face to face and now it is going to mean even more than it did before.

Business cards are right on trend for the 21st century

Business cards are like fountain pens, right back on-trend. The irony of course with the fountain pen is that people take to their keyboards or their laptops or electronic devices to type about how wonderful they are! Business cards are available in an e-format but that humble and tangible little piece of card is still actively very much in use. So why is a small piece of card still thriving in this fast-paced 21st century digital age? First, let’s take a look at its history.

The business card has its origins in the calling card used by the aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. In those days, calling cards were about the size of a playing card whereas today, business cards are smaller. A calling card was a hallmark of quality and style and this is the first big connection with the modern business card and from where it draws its early influence.
In these early years, the calling card was usually separate to the caller but by the late 18th and the 19th century, the calling card and the caller arrived together. The etiquette of this form of announcement was very important and calling cards developed their own language. This is one feature which has not survived into the 21st century. A card with a corner folded down meant the visitor had attended in person. Cards folded in the middle indicated that the caller had come to see all the family members. Certain styles of lettering could point at the purpose for a visit – P/C for a condolence call following a death and P/F for a visit to offer congratulations for a happy event.
During the industrial revolution, a new class appeared in society, new families empowered by industry and often referred to as ‘new money’. Seeking acceptance via societal norms, this new breed of industrialists began copying the upper-classes, handing out a card which described what they did in the absence of an aristocratic designation. Initially, the business card was more prevalent in the States and then as with many ideas even today, it travelled across the Atlantic to the UK. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, why has a simple human act – the passing across of a piece of card – with 300 years of tradition, still survived into the modern era? Here’s why.
• Business cards are personal – they represent a face to face meeting or encounter so carry memories of a conversation, an impression that was formed – you just can’t replicate this online
• Business cards are convenient – if you are in a group of people at a conference or reception, it can be hard to disseminate your email address, twitter handle and social media details without resorting to an endless typing fest on your Smartphone. A business card neatly and simply carries all of your data, email address and mobile number plus and anything else you want it to say. It is a way of confirming a conversation or meeting without interrupting the flow – professional and convenient especially when you are in a situation where lots of people may want your details
• Business cards can be personalised – your card can say so much about you, far more than just your contact details. Styling and design can echo your business or organisation’s branding – the presentation can convey so much more about you and what you do beyond the contact information on the face of the card
• Business cards are simply handy – you never know when you might run into someone who you may want to share your details with. Having a few business cards tucked away inside your wallet can be so useful in business and personal situations where a sudden exchange of information is needed
• Business cards can impress – a really well-designed or innovative business card is a talking point and a great ice-breaker. The design of the card will often linger on for a long time in the memory and the wallet of the recipient
• Business cards exude a state of readiness and an aura of professionalism – a smart, well –presented business card carries a cachet with it, a quiet, understated efficiency and style that tells the recipient about you as a person not just who you are and how to contact you
The fact of the matter is that nothing can convey those all-important details as quickly, succinctly and stylishly as that tiny little piece of card. That’s why there is still a place in modern business life for the business card. A business card can speak volumes without saying very much at all
Digital printing techniques have brought the styling and presentation of modern business cards to life. Gone are the days of a plain black and white card (unless that is what you are aiming for) – business cards just got funky and almost anything goes.
Central to these are cards which replicate through their shape or even some clever feature a representation of what the cardholder does. Business cards have become an essential element of your brand story using colour, icons and even tailored personal messages. It has become something of a modern trend to see who can create the cleverest and most unusual business card with competition for the most eye-catching and innovative design. There is lots of online inspiration for newbies and a library of good ideas to reference created by other people ahead of you.
the modern business card shows no sign of extinction at all and is, in fact, thriving throughout the world. There are not many business tools which still have a legitimate place in the modern workplace two to three hundred years after their original creation. The great thing is that there is no modern etiquette which restricts what you can do with the card and so really, anything goes. Why not try a 21st-century twist on this design classic and really turn heads with clever styling and design? Make sure that your card won’t be the one that is consigned to the bin.