What Is Your Business Card Saying About You?

Personal brand business cards reputation management marketingYou’ve gone to the networking event and avoided all the pitfalls of making a bad impression – Congratulations!

Now it’s time to turn your attention to your business card – that little rectangle that says more about your personal brand than you might imagine – and which carries on saying it long after you’ve left the room.  So get one of your cards out now – go on, I’ll wait for you…

Now you’re back, take a good long look at your card, read the wording, look at the logo, turn it over, feel the card, give it a bit of a flick with your thumb.  And while you’re doing that, ask yourself these questions about your personal brand:

  • What are some of your key values and beliefs you want your personal brand to convey? 
  • What is the reputation you want your personal brand to build? 
  • What skills is your personal brand pitching to your audiences?
  • What image is your personal brand projecting?
  • And most importantly…does my card say all of that?

If not, here’s a few of the ways to get it communicating all you need it to:

Size and shape
There’s a standard size for UK business cards and it’s good to stick to that so your card will fit into people’s filing systems, wallets, etc.  If your brand is more stand out though, you can play around with the sizing, but don’t go too far off the mark.  Too small and it will get lost, too big and it will end up in a different place from all the others (possibly what my friend calls the B1N file!)  Changes to the shape are an option too: rounded corners (all four or just one or two), cut outs and folding all help make it a little bit different.

Card weight
A flimsy card conveys a cheap brand and unless you’re selling a product or service specifically on low price, steer clear of anything less than 300gsm (that’s printer’s jargon for the thickness of paper and card).   Cheap deals such as those on offer by Vistaprint are rarely worth it when you consider the business you might be losing, because if you can’t be bothered to invest in your company, why should I?

Quality of print
As with the card weight, it’s worth paying for decent printing to get the crispness of text and depth of colour to bring your card to life.  If your ink’s smudged and your details a little blurred around the edges, I’m going to think that of your brand too!

There’s a whole psychology about what different colours mean and it’s something my friend Peter Bryant at Gold Design has been blogging about so check if yours is on the button.

When you think of the purpose of a business card, this is the important bit.  Your card has to contain everything the recipient needs to know once you’ve parted ways: a) your name, b) what you do and c) how to get in touch (by all means, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook if appropriate).  That may seem simple but I’ve had some cards where the person’s just put their initial and not their full name, or there’s only their company name and nothing to tell you what they do, or the phone number has been missing.  I’ve ended up with the impression their attention to detail and understanding of my needs is somewhat lacking – not things I’m going to buy into!

And for anyone who’s thinking, “But I have a corporate business card and no say in how it looks,” it’s still possible to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.  Here are some tips:

  • You could underline your mobile number with the words, “And here’s the best number to get me on so I can speak to you personally,” (conveying your value of taking responsibility).
  • You could write a personal note on it before you hand it over, something that has relevance to your conversation – perhaps the name of a restaurant you’ve recommended or a useful website (conveying a mutual interest and emotional connection).
  • Or you can say something witty when presenting your card.  I  was once given a particularly thick card with the words, “And it doubles up as an ice scraper.” I’m never going to forget him!


If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other.

3 Responses to “What Is Your Business Card Saying About You?”

  1. Jennifer,

    Inciteful stuff as usual – thank you!

    I’m gonna send you a business card for a sparky review an assess :-)



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