Paper is on the retreat on many fronts, and digitalisation often makes it superfluous in business life. But a small piece of cardboard is flourishing as ever: the business card. All attempts to replace it with purely digital solutions have failed – on the contrary: printed business cards are in high demand, and even more importance is attached to their quality and design today than 10 years ago. Why is this so? Here are 10 good reasons for the printed business card.
1. Business cards are a status symbol
Whether new to the company or freshly transported: Everyone is happy about business cards on which the affiliation to a company or the great new job title is documented in black and white. The professional status is written on the business card. It’s not for nothing that some companies even have different printing and finishing options depending on the level on the career ladder – e.g. embossed cards for top management.
2. Business cards are part of rituals
Business cards are a part of well-rehearsed rituals in business life – not only in Japan, where there is a veritable cult around cards. Who presents a card to whom and when, how it is handed over and received with due courtesy – there are rules for all of this that you should know. And since these customs are not questioned, the necessary business card remains a must.
3. Business cards can be handed over easily and quickly
A very banal reason why printed business cards are difficult to replace is the simplicity and speed with which they can be handed over. Even though – see rituals – you should never do it carelessly and incidentally, handing out business cards is unrivalled simplicity, especially when several people are meeting. While two people meeting may still be able to exchange data via smartphone, scanning, mailing and synchronizing becomes far too cumbersome even with three or four people involved. Even in a relaxed atmosphere, for example at a hotel bar, fiddling around with a mobile phone is much less elegant than simply exchanging two cards.
4. Business cards are good reminders
You have probably experienced the following situation many times before: You meet several new business partners at a meeting and should memorize their names as quickly as possible. Business cards are ideal mnemonic aids for this: You simply place the cards on the table in front of you in such a way that they correspond to the seating arrangement – and it’s child’s play to always address each other correctly with their names. Try this with your smartphone …
5. Business cards convey style and corporate design
A digital vCard contains your contact details, but there is no room for individual design. But as with other information – whether written or verbal – it is not only the content that matters with personal data. The form also transports important signals. Only with individually designed business cards can the style and corporate design of a company be transported: Logo, colours, typography, printing process, paper, finishes – all these details convey much, much more than naked data at a single glance.
6. Business cards can be touched
But business cards are not only something to look at, they are also something to attack – and that is something rare, especially in the age of digitalization. The more valuable and meaningful things that are physically handed over, the more they are perceived. Especially if the card has been printed on high-quality material and possibly refined with special effects (3D varnish, embossing etc.). Studies prove: Touching the card encourages touching it, so it leaves a more lasting impression than just reading it.
7. Business cards are writable
Business cards are also quite handy because you can scribble on them – either with information about the person in question, or simply as a replacement for a note that is not available at the moment. Here, too, it’s all about convenience and speed: a few keywords are simply written down by hand on paper faster than typed into the smartphone. But smartphones understand speech, don’t they? Right, but who wants to start dictating into their mobile phone in front of other people?
8. Business cards are versatile
First and foremost, business cards are there for the personal exchange of contact data. But they can do much more: On exhibition stands, sales desks or at receptions, the small cards are set up millions of times as advertising media, which are unobtrusively ready for use. Also as inserts to mailings and packages or inserted in presentation folders, business cards convey a personal touch and lower the hurdle of establishing contact.
9. Business cards are readable from smartphones
If you don’t want to store business cards physically, but rather store the data in your smartphone, you don’t have to type anything – at least not if the business card has a QR code. A quick scan is all it takes – and all the data is neatly stored as a vCard in the device’s contacts. iPhone cameras automatically recognize business card QR codes, and there are a number of good apps for androids. The media break between analogue and digital is therefore only a tiny one – and can be overcome in seconds.
10. Business cards are inexpensive
Last but not least: business cards are a comparatively cheap pleasure. Removing them would not bring companies any serious savings, but – see points 1 to 9 – numerous disadvantages.