Someone once said that every person you see, every object, every situation you encounter, has something to show you. It is one of those conversations that went a bit too philosophical, a bit too metaphorical and a bit too intellectual all at the same time, leaving my mind stuffed and perhaps a little confused. Nonetheless, this statement got stuck at the recesses of my brains and will live on to surface whenever I met someone who is worthy of such description. Usually it is those that had made you a little uncomfortable that would leave a lasting impression.
And yet I think I never truly understood the statement until just recently when I was spring cleaning. My intention was just to browse the pages of the business cards holder that have long been forgotten and then throw it away. Little did I know that when I opened it and looked through the pages of business cards that have been exchanged, flashes upon flashes of memories came alive again. I did not realised that those conversations, advices, relationships and much more that had been encrypted onto those business cards is still very much alive. I began to look at the old and mouldy name card holder in a new way. It has become a journal of sorts.
So all this really got me thinking about the origins of business cards and the possibility of it ever becoming obsolete. When was the first recorded use of business cards? Does it really has an impact on your brand? Why business cards could survive the digital tsunami.
The Brief History of Business Cards
It was in 15th century China, that was the first recorded use of business cards. The servants would collect these cards from prospective visitors for the business owners to review to determine whom they would meet. In the 17th century Europe, the use of these ‘visiting cards’ grew in popularity amongst the social elite, which was primarily used in social settings. With the rise of the middle class in the industrial era, the business cards became an essential item across Europe and United States. As work continues to evolve today, people are still using business cards, while also emailing, testing or connecting on social media as well. Despite the explosion of social media, perhaps nothing will replace the role of business cards in exchanging social introductions. However, in an increasingly digital world, the tradition of exchanging cards will inevitably evolve.
Why you should still use business cards
• Sales increase by 2.5% for every 2000 cards that get passed out.
• 88% of business cards handed out get thrown away in less than a week.
• 39% of people won’t do business with you if your card is cheap looking.
• They’re faster than digital.
• Despite appearances to the contrary, the whole world doesn’t own smartphones.
• Certain cultures require business cards as basic etiquette.
• You never know where you’ll meet a potential customer.
Business Cards that are worth the keep
A higher quality business cards could potentially provides more ROI when growing businesses. The trick is to elevate the design beyond normal expectations so that the client’s prospect will be so impressed with the business card that they’d feel guilty throwing it away. Ultimately, even if they don’t need service at that moment, the branding and design are enough to convince them to keep it around.