Why Business Cards Will Still Be Important After the Pandemic
The early-21st century has been a chaotic era thus far. We often talk about the post-9/11 world when talking about these modern times, but the global COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn a line on the sand. There’s the life before the pandemic and then there’s the post-COVID world. Now, we’re more conscious about public health than ever before. How we interact with one another physically has influenced how we connected to each other digitally. For instance, working from home is no longer a niche in the realm of the mobile freelancer. Likewise, business practices had forcibly evolved to adapt to the ever-changing world.
Take, for instance, the basic old tradition of exchanging business cards. During the height of the pandemic, many people were cautious about handling items passed to them by other people. This fear was not without merit, because it is believed that the coronavirus could be transferred on to the surfaces of objects, thus creating a touch-free trend in public settings and businesses.
Even before the pandemic, there have already been a growing number of criticisms regarding the relevance of business cards in the digital age. Many start-ups have popped up offering virtual cards, or physical cards that utilizes NFC, QR codes, Bluetooth, and other new tech.
However, I would like to argue that physical business cards will still be important after the pandemic.
1. Unique Identity
The main purpose of a business card is to give clients and colleagues alike your contact information. The phone number, email and website are usually the focal point of the business card. However, your identity—whether it’s your organization’s name or just your own name or both—that is the co-star of the business card.
A business card is one of the best ways to introduce your brand’s unique identity, from the logo to the color schemes and fonts. Your business card visually communicates the “personality” your organization has. Is it austere like an old-school accounting firm, or is it quirky like a new tech start-up? There are so many ways to convey your brand identity and the business card acts as a kind of miniature flyer.
When you’re networking at a conference or simply conversing at a dinner party, from the other person’s perspective, it’s easy for them to clump you in with the rest of the crowd. It’s not their fault. It’s just that when you meet a large number of people in a short time span, it’s harder for you to memorize every single specific detail about a person.
A business card will help you stand out, make your brand memorable, and create an impactful first impression. Also, actions are more memorable than words. They’ll remember your meeting and conversations because you physically hand them a beautifully-designed business card. It’s now inside of their wallet or business folio sticking out like a bookmark tucked between the pages of your favorite novel.
3. COVID-19 Rarely Spreads Through Surfaces
Recently, a microbiologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark discovered that the surfaces of objects—like, say, a business card—pose a relatively small risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 virus (a.k.a. the coronavirus). Also, keep in mind that a business card doesn’t usually travel far within the network. Meaning, it is typical for the business cards to ship directly from the highly-regulated and sanitized printer or manufacturer to the owner of the business cards. After that, you usually hand the business card to one specific person and they tend to keep it. Sure, that person could pass it along or hand it to another individual to show it, but even that is a relatively “chain” of contact.
Additionally, it is not uncommon for businesses to simply have a display case of brand-new business cards at the reception desk or office, thereby eliminating the need to physically hand a customer a business card. This will make sure that everyone is practicing social distancing.
So, don’t worry too much about the risks of infection through the exchange of business cards. There are far more threats beyond it. As long as people are following common sense and protective measures against more likely mode of contraction, everyone can continue traditional business practices like the pre-pandemic days.
4. It’s Fast and Easy
Sure, there are websites, apps, QR codes, and digital business cards using NFC technology available in the market today. But these methods of communicating and forming business relationships are still dependent on smartphones and computers. They rely on internet access in most situations. Half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to the world wide web. Even less than that have social media accounts. And less than that have the possession of a smartphone or even basic computer. Believe it or not, we’re still in the toddler phase of the Internet Age.
Plus, it would be faster to simply hand someone a physical business card. It’s quick and easy and satisfies your intention without your recipient having to pull out their phone or other tech devices. Also, not everyone is comfortable with receiving data through NFC, Bluetooth or Air Drop in the same way they might be cautious about opening URL links they’ve never been to before.
Likewise, as with a book, a business card is not reliant on battery power, internet connection, nor do they experience technological glitches. Imagine trying to send your contact information to an important and busy client, or possible investor, only for those tech issues to happen. It’s awkward and makes you and your organization look unprepared.
Old-school remains undefeated in most scenarios. Don’t turn your back on the tried and true method.
5. It’s Common Practice
Exchanging business cards is a tradition in networking at this point. We’ve been giving and receiving business cards since the 17th century. It’s something everyone is familiar with, so they won’t hesitate in receiving it. As mentioned earlier, some of the newer tech methods of exchanging digital business cards can be troublesome in multiple ways. Some people don’t trust the technology yet or they simply want something they can literally grasp more quickly.
In any case, printed business cards today can marry analog with the digital. For instance, you can easily add a QR code on your physical business card, which the recipient can scan with a smartphone and will direct them to your website, social media profile or landing page.
A traditional printed business card just has more benefits than it does any major cons, especially compared to new tech.
One of the main criticisms of traditional business cards is that it’s wasteful and not environmentally-friendly. However, most business card materials are made from recycled products, whether it’s the card stock it’s printed on or the ink it’s printed with. Nowadays, there are numerous manufacturers who offer eco-friendly, sustainable printer ink. Meanwhile, recycled paper and card stock has been common practices for many decades now. You don’t have to worry about trees and other natural vegetation being depleted due to business cards. Printers are some of the most environmentally-conscious people in the world because they care about their products, their customers, and the world around them.