Brian Feinblum, Guest Author
The public relations firm that I work for, MEDIA CONNECT, is a division of Finn Partners, a Ruder Finn Co. We recently renamed ourselves (formerly Planned Television Arts) upon celebrating our 50th anniversary this past month. As part of our new branding efforts, it was decided that our business cards would include our individual photo on the back, spanning the full size of the card.
Surprisingly, our staff was split over the idea. Some felt a business card shouldn’t have photos. After all, we are not a real estate business! Others, like myself, felt it was a nice touch. We are in the people business and a personal feel is important. Besides, who can be in PR and be shy?
People see our faces all over the place; on our Web site and on one’s social media profiles and pages, etc. I don’t get too many business cards that contain photos and I collect a lot of cards. But I think most people don’t think of putting a photo on or don’t want to lay out extra money to do so. I see it as an advantage to have my photo on there, but perhaps if one has concerns about their looks, age, or that one will see their demographic makeup from viewing their photo, they should avoid the photo thing. If you’re in the Witness Protection Program, don’t put your photo on the card.
What I don’t like about business cards is this:
• Ones with airbrushed photos or outdated Glamour Shots are tacky.
• Oversized cards are dumb—if I can’t put it in my wallet, it goes in the garbage.
• Cards that lack key information such as Web site, email address, or phone (do you want me to contact you or not?).
• Cards with too much information—three cell numbers, four websites, and a bunch of Facebook pages (no one is checking out all this crap).
• When the card is not easily readable—small font, distracting background, not enough white space.
• When the card is too thin and flimsy—if it feels light you’re a lightweight.
• When the card lacks texture, raised printing, or color—cheap and boring.
• Gimmicky attempts to desperately convey an image that is not consistent with who you really are.
• People who cross out information or cover it with a label—how lazy are you?
I once was contacted by a vender about creating 3D cards with photos. What’s next – a halogram?
Cards can have slogans as long as they don’t sound like a Chinese fortune cookie saying.
And if you are one of those people who say they ran out of business cards, I can only conclude one of three things:
1. You’re so busy that you need to print more cards up (wow!)
2. You really forgot them (shame on you)
3. You don’t want me to contact you ever again (sigh)
Some think they don’t need them, that paper cards are as fashionable as owning a printed encyclopedia. But no matter how green or cool you hope to be, you still need a business card.
A business card is one of many things that make impressions upon another and contribute to influencing whether our relationship will continue and develop. When you first meet someone you quickly assess many things, such as:
• The firmness of their handshake.
• If they look you in the eye when talking.
• If they sound genuine—or genuine bullshitters.
• Their energy level.
• The harmony of their voice.
• Dress appropriateness.
• If they are attractive.
• Their vocabulary range.
• Their sense of humor.
• Their overall trustworthiness vibe.
• If you feel a connection.
Okay, so you’re not dating or banging every person you meet, but let’s face it, you want to like those whom you do business with. So remember to make sure your business card is special. Consider adding a photo of yourself or Photoshop someone more attractive and slap it on your card. 😉 If people really like you, chances are they won’t look too closely at the photo. And if you decide someone is not card-worthy just tell them, “Sorry, I am fresh out of cards.”
BONUS Articles: What About Business Cards…
When Business Cards Aren’t Enough
Give Your Brand Personal “Curb Appeal” at Networking Events!
Networking is NOT a Card Game…
Eight Cringe-Worthy Networking Blunders
Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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