If you’ve seen Martin Scorsese’s 2013 biographical film, The Wolf of Wall Street, you probably remember the part wherein actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jordan Belfort, engages in a competition of the best business card with his colleagues. Belfort has an internal monologue wherein he analyzes every detail of his competitors’ business cards. He goes from critiquing the font style, text placement, and quality of the white cardstock the information is printed on.
Belfort works as a stockbroker. He handles people’s financial assets through buying and selling shares on their behalf. Professions such as that require broker and client trust that can be established through the stockbroker’s efforts in providing a professional and trustworthy image of themselves and the organization they represent.
Where did business cards originate?
The history of the business card can be traced back to 15th-century China. During that time, business cards were known as visiting cards used to announce an individual’s intention of meeting with another. Similar to the current purpose of business cards today, they were used as a self-promotion tool by the 15th-century China elite and as a way of introducing themselves.
Six centuries later, business cards earned their current name and started to be produced in various shapes, sizes, materials, and designs. But given how digitized the world has become, the cards started losing their charm because businesses and individuals can easily create digital versions and send them to anyone anywhere in the world.
Despite the prevalence of the digital version of the business card, there are still businesses and individuals who prefer giving out their cards rather than sending them digitally.
Do they still have a place in the digital age?
The digital age has allowed people to share information using communication channels such as the Internet, which can only be accessed by computers and modern handheld devices. But the question of whether everyone has access to or is able to navigate these devices to access data remains.
The rise of digital business cards is a phenomenon that is difficult to hinder. The point of creating business cards digitally is to make them unified, simple, and easily shareable. For people with access to computers and smartphones, the digital version of the business card is extremely convenient because it can be sent and received through any communication channel over the Internet. Typically, digital business cards contain hyperlinks and other interactive files to ease navigation.
The use of digital and physical business cards is essential to businesses and professionals because it helps promote, identify, and distinguish them. Even if a business is only based online, giving out physical business cards is still essential because it can act as a promotional tool and will allow the business to reach customers offline.
What will be the future of physical business cards?
They won’t be obsolete because of the ease they provide in helping businesses spread the word about what they do. Another thing is that only 44.81% of the world owns smartphones that have the features to access digital business cards, making over half of the world potential receivers of physical business cards. They may be more expensive than sending digital business cards, but they can make more impact because of their broad reach and versatility. Physical business cards cater to both users and non-users of smartphones and computers.
To conclude, physical business cards still have a place in the digital era. That place will be kept until all the remaining half of the world gains access to computers, smartphones, and the Internet, which won’t happen until after 49 years, based on predictions. While giving out digital business cards is much more convenient, there are potential customers that businesses may overlook if they stick to giving out physical business cards.
Throughout the years, the purpose of business cards has remained the same: to introduce the person and imply the intention to engage in business with the receiver. It has been the world’s medium of brief introduction for centuries. Today, businesses still use business cards to spread the word about their identity and to invite people to do business with them. In the world of digital nomads, all of that can be done without having to print out copies of business cards, but then again, it could decrease the reach of businesses.