I’m not a marketing guru by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to “personal” branding at the executive level. Why is it that senior executives accustomed to $200K+ salaries resort to using free, do-it-yourself business cards when they find themselves in a transitional state (executive-lingo for “out of work”)?
Call me crazy, but the last time I checked, you could run off some nice double-sided glossy cards for $50-100 per 1000.
Your business card is your transient brand when meeting new people. When you hand it out, you are making that crucial first impression.
It gets even worse when I look down at the business card and see a Microsoft Word clipart being used for the logo, with the words “John Smith Consulting Company” underneath it. Where is it written that every executive that finds themselves in transition should form their own “consulting” company? While it may soothe the ego a bit, it doesn’t fool anyone.
The other day I attended the 2006 TAG Technology Summit, and like so many events, ran into a lot of old friends, and made a few new connections. One of those new connections was a fellow looking for work as a senior-level IT executive. He handed me what was arguably the worst business card I have ever laid eyes on. Not only was the card stock barely thicker than a piece of paper, but the edges were all jagged, a sure sign of being ripped from the perforated business card template. Even worse was the fact that the card was cut off at the top, a sign of his business card template not being aligned with his printer. This from a guy pushing himself as a senior business leader.
Now there are myriad schools of thought on what the actual “content” of the business card should contain, and I am not about to sit here and try to convince you that one approach is better than the others. Frankly, I could care less if you have a “resume”-like business card, a minimalistic one, or a fold-over business card. But for crying out loud, whatever approach you take, make sure the presentation is first class.
If you’re an exec, and you’re serious about your career (and you should be at that level), do yourself a favor and plop down the $50-100 it takes to get some nice business cards printed. At worst, plop down $25-50 and get the non-glossy, but still professionally printed variety. You’ll save yourself from embarrasment, and more importantly, your cards can work for you, rather than against you.