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The science of business cards – it’s more than just color choice

Business cards are more than just your name and address, every color, font, and cardstock choice impact what impression you leave with a potential client.

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We’ve shared with you inspiration for your business card, insisted that your card doesn’t have to look like a standard card with a lame logo, your face and your phone number. We’ve even told you that there are people like me who keep all business cards anyone ever hands me. There are endless styles ranging from engraved to three dimensional cards and there are many different printers and print qualities.

But did you know what different cultures have different ways of handing over and receiving business cards? Did you know that how many cards you hand out and the choice of color impact the success of your cards? It’s true!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Joe Manausa

    March 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Wow Lani, and I haven’t been very good at using business cards. I’ve handed out less than 10 this year. I will take your advice to heart. I was at a real estate conference last week and really missed an great opportunity hand out a bunch of cards.

  2. Joe Manausa

    March 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Lani, a great follow-up for this post would be one with pictured examples of “great” business cards :).

  3. Krista Lombardi

    March 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Great info, I’ve got lots of great ideas for my biz cards:)

  4. MH for Movoto

    March 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Oooh, really enjoyed this. Let’s take a poll of a few snazzy new designs?

  5. An Bui

    March 15, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Lani, thanks for sharing that infographic! I just finished reading a post about a mobile app that pulls data from business cards. Business cards can lead to meetings and meetings can lead to remembering details about the person you’re about to meet with, right?

    Noteleaf, a client, pulls information from your Google Calendar and LinkedIn accounts and sends you comprehensive notifications of what you need to do, where you need to do it and who you need to do it with. (https://techcrunch.com/2011/03/03/noteleaf/)

    So the information from your infographic paired with Noteleaf is a good toolset for building relationships 🙂

    An

    An

  6. Cliff Stevenson

    March 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Very cool. I recently began scanning into my iPhone all the business cards I have received. It was easy, and I’m pretty happy with the ‘rolodex’ being so organized and mobile. What I did notice though, was that several business cards were difficult to handle in the scanning. Usually this was due to what I would call “excessive creativity” (odd fonts, images in behind the information, etc), and some of the problems were due to poor print quality. I wonder if the ease of use in these scanning apps is going to have an effect on people’s design decisions going forward. I wasn’t thinking about my card being scanned when I designed it, but I’ll be thinking about it for the future.

  7. Lily Chen

    November 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    A caveat on idea #2 in the graphic. If you put a thin border around the card, due to the cutting equipment, many print shops cannot cut the cards precisely to make the border exactly uniform, so either you make the border thick enough to allow for the slight variations, or have border on just one or two sides, not all around. In fact many printers advise against having such border around the card design. Just be sure you discuss this with your designer to avoid disappointment.

  8. Pingback: Business Card Design Tips: Top Ideas for Designers in 2016

  9. Pingback: How to choose the perfect colors for your business card – The Digital Agenda

  10. Pingback: How to choose the perfect colors for your business card – Business Card Templates

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram

Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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