The Business Of Business Cards

I have been doing much contemplating lately over what I’ve done so far and what I could be doing, and it occurs to me that I’ll just never catch up, no matter how hard I try.  In my feeble effort to catch the tiger by the tail, I seized on an idea that the great Jeffrey Gitomer mentioned in one of his books:  A distinctive business card.

His is, in fact, a coin with his info on it.  I’ve never seen it, but of course (since it’s his book) he plays up the fact that it’s so well-received as if his coincard alone made people climb over each other to listen to his every word.  I’m sure it helped, but he did that through his words after the fact.  The coincard simply made them remember him–which is the whole point.

Anyway, it got me thinking about my own business card.  Those of you who have my card may (or may not) remember that it is dominated by lavender and blue, with a huge eye on it that, if you look closely, reflects The Americas off of the iris.  The tagline is, “With the right vision, anything is possible.”  (And don’t judge me for knowing what lavender is.)   

I absolutely believe that tagline to be true, which is probably the only reason it works with a huge eyeball on it.  Otherwise, I’m sure it’d just be weird–as some of my own friends have mentioned…until they read the card.  But as I get older and more ambitious, I’ve been searching for new ideas to get myself out there.  I’ve gotten a couple of compliments on my card before, but I’ve been looking into ideas that will really  make people go, “Wow, now THAT is a great idea for a business card.”  I’ve been through more than a few websites, and many have fantastic ideas.  Obviously, the coin idea is out (unoriginal), and I like the idea of the plastic cards that are out (durability in a wallet) and the sheer class displayed by a thinly (but precision) cut stainless steel card.  I’ve got a few ideas of my own, and those cards (particularly the metal ones) are some big-time cash.  Gotta walk before you can run.

So.  I’ve come up with a couple of my own ideas:  Once we get Grana Aviation (www.granaaviation.com) really cooking and off the ground, I plan on getting business cards that are in the shape of miniature airline tickets that will have our info on them.  Or maybe a nice, thick plastic card that will contain our information but double as a luggage tag.  Something with a little impression or longevity to it.  Something like an iMac has–every single time I use my computer, I’m reminded that it’s an Apple, right there in my face.  Even if our company only reminds you of it when you’re getting ready to pack for a trip (as luggage tags generally don’t leave your luggage in between), it’s advertising or reinforcement for our company looong after our initial encounter.  That’s the idea I like most about it.  (I looked for a pic of the cards I’m talking about, but I couldn’t find any that would let me save them off the website.  Dang.  Well, you get the mental image, at least.)  Here’s the website I found these cool ideas on:  creativebits.org/cool_business_card_designs

I heard some random guy on YouTube make a very poignant statement:  “My card does not fit into a Rolodex because it does not belong in a Rolodex.”

Neither does yours.  What have you done to make your first impression as memorable as possible?

Me?  Well, it’s an evolution, but I’m working on it.

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  1. I love the idea of a business card that is memorable, and speaks to the very core of your business or perhaps to the core of who you are as a person. My wheels are turning (they never seem to stop).

    I was thinking about the coin card, and the comment about a card that does not fit into a Rolodex, when my pragmatic side kicked in. Maybe it is just me, but I suffer from business card overload. I have so many, and seemingly nowhere to put them. Where do you put a card that won’t fit in a card holder? A fellow real estate professional handed me a card that is laminated, and has his cards back to back so that they are two sided. Neat idea but the laminating and cutting process made it too large to fit into a plastic sleeve. Where do you think I stored it? I’m sorry to admit that for me, the round file was the cards ultimate destination. I have too many things in my junk drawers already. I have considered the device that scans a business card and stores it on the hard drive. Again, neat idea, but at some point I will have to hire someone to maintain an electronic card file. I bet a third of my cards represent people who have moved on and are doing something else now, thereby relegating the card to perhaps scrapbook status.

    Here is what I’m thinking; We can spend a tremendous amount of time tinkering with marketing and contemplating our brands. We may be better served spending more time on the product that differentiates us from the competition. I suspect that if you give the client a truly memorable and worthwhile product (and make a personal and memorable first impression), he won’t care what your business card looks like because he will have you in his phone and he will remember your name. I must point out that my first impression of you had nothing to do with your card, and everything to do with your energy and attitude.

    After the first impression, the idea then is to make sure you stay front and center in his mind so he promotes you at every opportunity. There are many ways to do that, but I suspect the best tool is to maintain the relationship in a personal way via personal meetings, telephone, or handwritten letter.

    Of course we could just ask them to ink our contact information on their forearms. 😉

  2. I can definitely understand your thinking on that as far as oddly-shaped/oversized cards go. I have had a small share of them, as well, sadly, they DO in fact end up in the trash on many, many occasions. To combat this, I’ve developed a rule: I keep a small card binder that has a limited number of spaces. In order to be able to fill one of those spaces, the person whose card it is must have made a really great impression on me, and we must be well on our way to being actual, legitimate friends with each other. (Because after all, I’ll only recommend people to my friends, anyway. Why keep a card you know nothing about?) The wealth of cards we all walk away from these LinkedIn luncheons with doesn’t even begin to get filtered until I’ve met and can remember the people on the card, and only then will I put them in the little book.

    But here’s the catch: After a long while, I’ll pull out the cards of my closest friends, since I wont need their card there to remind me of them and they’re my go-to people anyway, and I have their numbers on speed dial. So I’ve got a book that’s only partially full right now of business cards of people with whom I hope to do friendly business with well into the future…and everyone else, well…they fall into the same category as when I mute the TV when the commercials come on 🙂

    Great comment, Dave. Thanks for writing!

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