Many people seem to think business cards are dead, or dying, but whenever I attend a conference, event or anything else businessy where I meet new people I always end up giving a few out and getting some back, most people in business still carry business cards, they are still important!
But how do you make your business cards interesting, something that really stands out and reflects your business, something that makes people smile, that starts a conversation? – Well lots of people have tried to make business cards social, mostly this involved waking a QR code on it that goes to their website and putting @whoeverIam on the end so you can find them on twitter, cause thats what social is, right? – Well no…
So here are 10 ways to make your business cards stand out and act social:
1. Make it useful:
Broke Bike Alley don’t just give you a business card to let you know where to go if your bike needs fixing, the card is a useful tool in itself:
That is cool, it is deffinetly something I would keep! Also note the fact it is made from metal… Bringing me nicely on to #2:
2. Don’t be bound by paper:
99% of business cards are paper, often very nice high quality paper, but what if we ignore paper, what if we imagine that paper doesn’t even exist, well stuff like this:
A design agency using a laser to etch their business cards onto a dead leaf! very cool!
3. Let the medium reflect the message:
When Ogilvy launched their Ogilvy on recession website (a strategic planning site geared towards the economic downturn) they wanted to use their business cards to reflect that message, so they made them smaller, like their client’s budgets:
4. Build in what you do:
A nicely designed business card is cool, so is adding some fun quirky stuff, but here is a question: Could that business card be for any brand? Or is it synonymous not only with your industry but with your brand? So if your business is selling biscuits why not make biscuit business cards, yes, actual edible ones! That is what Bombay Bakery did:
5. Make some mischief:
Not for everyone but too good not to include, this guy wanted his business cards to speak to his mischevious nature as “a hacker, entrepreneur, and all around mischief maker” so here is a business card that doubles as a fully functional lock-picking kit:
but if you like the style but not the mischief try this on for size:
6. Make your card a work of art…
Particularly if you are a designer or something of that ilk, something like this really stands out, seriously, could you throw this business card in the bin:
7. What about AR?
Augmented reality can turn a business card you might look at once and put in a file into a fun toy you show your whole office, family and your mates, probably best for techy industries or early adopter types but I love this stuff:
How much more can you do on a business card with that kind of tech?!
8. Play with the form and shape:
Who said business cards have to be boring rectangular things that sit flat? Wll actually Scobleizer did in 2006 but I disagree, I think playing with size, style and shape is a good idea and I love this example from Emmerson Taymor for a stand up business card:
9. Make the card a game:
Well what do you do if you are an engineer and you want to make your business card stand out, you turn your business card into something so much cooler using the skills you have from your many years experience in engineering, this is the result:
And the point here isn’t lets all hire engineers to make awesome business cards, it’s think about what makes you unique? How do you get across your skills and your business in your card, in a fun and interesting way?
10. Disrupt to an insane degree, and leave the cards where they will get found!
So I think I saved the best for last… What if your business card is your only outlet, if you are in a tightly controlled industry where advertising is very limited and so you really need to stand out, that is the challenge for divorce lawyers in some parts of Europe, so how do they get round it, they disrupt and get the card out:
They place their “business cards” in motel lobbys (where people who are having extra-marital relations tend to end up) and you turn your business card into gift of a condom and a lot of Kama Sutra type images within:
It is brazen and ballsy but I bet you will remember that brand, and I imagine the targeting is pretty on the money too, never mind the Word of Mouth and PR value of that kind of stunt!
Business cards can be a boring waste of paper, or they can be awesome! – Make them personal, playful and reflective of you and your business and they will hopefully be the latter!
Next up: Email signatures!