One of Australia’s foremost thought leaders on ideas, marketing, and brands – Gary Bertwistle wrote an interesting article today in his newsletter – The Espresso – about his frustration that business people and executives don’t carry business cards:
I can’t tell you how many times I meet people at speeches I give, and when the time comes to exchange business cards, the person I am talking to does not have a card to give me. It truly staggers me how many senior corporate executives don’t carry the most basic of marketing and branding tools with them – a business card.
Whilst I understand Gary’s point(s), I’m not sure I agree with him. Business cards have had their day, they are redundant and the sooner we stop carrying them the better.
Quite simply, a business card, whilst useful for telling me how to contact a person pales when compared to what social networking tool LinkedIn offers. As I’ve blogged before, LinkedIn is our business card of the future. A properly built and maintained LinkedIn profile takes what Gary suggests and does so much more.
Not only will my profile tell you who I am, where I work, how to contact me, and what I do, but it also gives you a rich insight into how I’m helping people I know and don’t know. It communicates the types of problems I’m solving – its a rich insight into my company and brand Mark Parker.
Now you could argue that suggesting someone look you up on LinkedIn might lead to a bit of connection request spam – but it’s no worse than someone emailing or calling you once you’ve given them your card. You could also argue that someone might forget your name – a Google search will more than likely turn up your LinkedIn profile as a search result.
Finally, given the saturation of smartphones and tablets, most if not all of us use the mobile apps – so why not punch the name in whilst you chat?
As I noted above, LinkedIn is our business card, our personal brand, and a 24/7 value proposition – sitting there quietly waiting to promote us.