Before iPhones and LinkedIn, business cards were the professional and efficient way of providing contact information. While holding all the necessary contact information, they bought with it a little individuality: the choice of font, paper and color schemes were a way of showing personal style.
While business cards are certainly still able to serve these functions, they are now outnumbered by digital alternatives, leading many to question the role of the business card today. Are they necessary, retro or obsolete?
They Have an Essential Role in Many Cultures
In parts of the world, business cards are a respected professional ritual. For example, in Hong Kong, it is vital that when offered a business card, one offers their own in return. Similarly, it is in the Japanese culture to inspect the quality of a business card and use it to judge the owner’s personal and business decorum.
Creative Cards Get Results
A business card is often the first tangible representation of one’s professionalism, holding in it the potential for much more creativity and personality than an email address or LinkedIn page. Having a business card that stands out is a great way of creating a lasting impression. This is why having business cards customized to your style is such a great resource, not only for providing contact information, but for building up instant brand awareness.
Ease and Simplicity
Of course, the information a business card carries can be exchanged over email, but there is something about the speed of a business card exchange that is unrivalled. Unlike swapping information digitally, it does not interrupt the flow of the conversation, but manages to successfully impart the necessary information.
It Can Help Make a Good First Impression
Of course, that classic American Psycho scene might have overblown it slightly, but there is certainly something rather impressive about a good quality business card.
Although in the western world the practice of inspecting a business card does not quite reach the level as it does in Japan, this is not to say the aesthetics go completely unnoticed. In fact, business cards have long been a way of judging an individual’s successes. The first known cards began in 17th century Europe, becoming a must-have item by the 19th century, engraved with exciting typefaces, gold ink and ornate designs to signify the holder’s prestige.
Even though the art of the card as a status symbol is somewhat less emphasised in the 21st century, this does not mean that a quality card goes unnoticed. Simply by holding a business card in the hand, one is aware of the thickness of cardstock, and since many still consider a good quality card as a representation of a quality business, it is one of the simplest ways of making an impression.
They Work Anywhere
Unlike smartphones or laptops, business cards are not reliant on WiFi or batteries. This might sound a slightly ridiculous statement to make in the digital age, but having a business card on hand whatever the location can often prove itself to be a wise investment. It’s also a lot easier to give to somebody who is in a hurry than exchanging email information.
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