With options like LinkedIn, Facebook, and the ability share contact info between mobile devices, we asked ourselves: Are business cards still relevant in presenting yourself professionally? To find answers, we chose to explore the two main positions one might take.
Yes, Business Cards are becoming Obsolete
One crucial part of business is staying current, and these times call for a digital presence. For many, this means having an account on LinkedIn. This site has become the standard professional outlet for representation and networking. A LinkedIn profile has all of the information that you would put on a business card, and more. The platform makes it possible for you to display your work experience, skills, endorsements, links to relevant work, and include a headshot, all on one visually straightforward page. In fact, many now feel that instead of handing someone a business card, it is now acceptable to simply add them on LinkedIn.
Carrying physical cards has also become a tough sell these days due to the advances in mobile technology. Because smartphones can achieve the same or better result as traditional cards, it makes less sense to carry additional objects with no added benefit. Many also perceive physical business cards as an unnecessary expense and waste of paper. There is also the risk of the cards being lost or damaged. In other words, we are much less likely to lose our phones (aka our lives) than we are a piece of paper.
No, Business Cards are Not becoming Obsolete
Millennials tend to get a bad wrap in the business world. With stereotypes of being lazy and entitled, the new working generation has started out struggling against an image problem. To compensate for this, young business people need to show that they possess a committed work ethic, and are thus able to conform to the ideals of a traditional business. Even the gesture of presenting a business card communicates that you are aware of the rules and ready to play the game. According to Brian Spindel, president and co-founder of PostNet, a company that specializes in the making of business cards, “They’re a real tangible way to make the human connection.” Handing out a business card is the simplest, most efficient way to exchange information while maintaining a personal connection.
A fundamental piece of a brand is the logo. A business card is an immediate representation of your company in name, logo, and color palette. When you exchange business cards, that is your first opportunity to validate your work and business. It also provides an opportunity to stand out. You cannot add many aesthetically pleasing elements or unique touches to an entry in a contact list, but your business card allows you to begin expressing what makes your company special. Having a business card handy also shows that you are alert and ready for new business.
What it really comes down to is knowing your audience and personal preference. Whether you’re trying to exchange information with a traditional law firm or a youthful environmental agency, it is important to understand your target. The act of handing out business cards almost always results in receiving one in return. You have to decide if you would rather have a pile of cards with numbers to type out, or if you work better with the information online. So, what is your preference? Do you think business cards are becoming obsolete? Let us know in the comments!