Tag Archives: business cards

Are Business Cards Still Necessary?

custom business card design and printing Lansing area connection GraphicsSomeone asked this in a forum recently. Maybe they were just looking for attention, I don’t know. Business cards have a long history of service in many forms and are still the the cheapest form of advertising.

What is the history of business cards?

Visiting cards – used in 15th century China these cards communicated the desire for meeting another person.

Calling Cards – Very popular in 17th century Europe these cards were used by the upper classes as personal advertisement as a formal request of an introduction

Trading Cards – Late in the 17th century tradesmen began using these cards to inform customers of their services and shop address

Business Cards – 18th – 19th century less formality was practiced and the trading card and visiting card merged.These cards were used in formal and informal settings as personal advertisements and trade promotion.

Business cards have been the go to item for businesses to get and give contact information into this century. Beside a short stint of the late 1940s’ invention, the rolodex. The rolodex was very popular with businesses in the 80s’ and 90s’. Companies even included pre-printed contact information on rolodex cards in direct mail pieces. As much as recruiters sought out candidates with the most complete rolodexes in the 90s they were quickly replaced by the emergence of the desktop computer. Databases and synchronized address books are now stored on smart phones a third of the size of  the smallest rolodex.

Will business cards go the way of the Rolodex?

Rolodex cards were nearly twice the size of a standard business card size (3.5 x 2) plus they had an odd die cut that didn’t exactly travel well. Business cards are lightweight an easily tuck into purses, billfolds, and standardized sleeves found in many office products.

Admittedly not everyone holds onto business cards they receive these days. Computer scanners with OCR readers and software such as Neat allow direct feed into computer databases that even store the graphics and corporate logo on the cards. Business cards can be disposed of at this point since all of the information can be accessed on a future date. Yet, all of this content still begins with a printed business card.

How are business cards used now?

Like every good invention there are abusers amongst us. Watch out for those business cards grabbers at  networking events who return to their offices, scan each business card they receive, import the contacts to multiple mailing lists and the spamming begins.

Of course not everyone has embraced this latest business card scanning software. Business card holders are still overflowing or stuffed in piles on desks, in purses and cars — even if there are Neat scanners waiting to receive them in the office. Let’s be honest, some of these business cards may never see the light of day. Some people are guilty of taking business cards out of courtesy and politeness with no intention of ever looking at them again. It’s that one person who takes it and uses it that we all seek — and the handful of cards that are taken out of courtesy are pennies on the dollar.

Of course haters gonna hate and many claim they can Google the information they want or search on a corporate website for the contact information they need. But how do you search for the person you met at the networking event last week who sold the exact service you are Googling right now? What was that company name again? What was that smart account representatives name? Only a business card is going to help you recall all of this information.

Business cards are here to stay

  • A business card is a basic tool for start up companies trying to get their brand in front of people at a low cost.
  • Usually the first touch a prospect will have of your brand messaging.
  • A business card is an instant connector and leave behind piece for casual or impromptu meetings.
  • A business card is small and fits standardized office tools
  • Sales training 101 promotes carrying businesses with you at all times
  • It’s no wonder business cards are essential to business. The cost to reproduce them are usually less then a few cents a piece. When printing business cards choosing a professional design and printer is critical to show professionalism and details are important to you. A smeared, bent card doe not a good impression make.

Are business cards necessary these days? I say yes. However, I also confess I am somewhat stingy with my cards in networking events. I have experienced those marketing firms and over zealous small business owners who believe since I gave them my card it was permission for them to add me to all of their email campaigns, direct mail campaigns plus phone me way too much.  I’ve gotten picky who I give my card to -especially at networking events. Consider this the next time a business owner offers you a card – they may not give them to just anyone – but they chose to give it to you.

Business cards are this month’s special. Business cards are discounted 20% through December 30, 2014.

Please connect with us today if you need a new business card design or if you need reprints of  an existing business card design Connection Graphics has created for you in the past.

 

 

Brand Image for The Salvage Yard Antiques

The salvage yard antiques visual brandingA long time customer, The Salvage Yard Antiques in Grand Ledge, Michigan is expanding and has contracted Connection Group for web and print brand design.

The Salvage Yard official website launched earlier this month:

  • a responsive website design that formats to the size of a smart phone, tablet tablet or other computer screen
  • simple, clean designed for the photos to pop
  • easy for the customer to update on their own

Brand Print Items: Updated business cards and new postcards incorporate the same brand images. Keeping colors and visuals consistent help build a recognizable visual brand – plus saves money on design fees! Connection Group printed a larger quantity of postcards than needed to promote the upcoming open house. Keeping the information generic without dates adds the flexibility to be used throughout the year for multiple purposes: future promotions, new product announcements, thank you notes, and more!

Congratulations to The Salvage Yard Antiques on your expansion! For those in the Lansing and Mid-Michigan area be sure to stop in for the opening. For those out of state this is a destination shop not to be missed when you are in Michigan!
The Salvage Yard Grand Opening on February 22nd
Special hours 7:00am – 7:00pmwww.thesalvageyardantiques.com

STOP STEALING FROM GOOGLE!

copyright symbol graphic with colorful graphicEver wonder what your name means? How will you find out? Look it up in the tome, the Dictionary of Names from Oxford University Press? No, you will do what I did and Google it. Go ahead, do a search, see what you come up with.

In searching ‘what does my name Connie mean’, Google graciously returned 8,280,000 results. Granted I did not go to every website citing the information. I went to four. All had different results. One spoke of the history of the name and how it is derived from Constance (I thank my parents for being kinder than that). Another provided a pretty little graph showing the popularity of the name (seems Connie peaked in the fifties) my third attempt landed me on a page filled with ads and a three word descriptive answer to my inquiry; ‘Connie means knowledge’. I really think I am much more complex and warrant more than one descriptive word! So, I took a chance at one more, which I believe is profoundly more accurate. This website states the meaning of Connie means “Queen of the House – a determined but also an awesome person who can always make you feel good and is a boy magnet.” Absolutely! This is what I am going to tell everyone my name means! So what that the website designers Mom was named Connie and people can enter their own interpretation of the name. I choose to believe.

To all writers, professional assistants, marketers, students, authors, please don’t limit your research to a Google search!

Don’t go to results page 72, click the link you think nobody will ever find and plagerize the content for your next newsletter, term paper, or website. That is stealing AND it could be completely inaccurate information! After reviewing multiple sites and finding similar facts you can then compose an original article or paper. If you are using proprietary information, quotes, statistical research, remember to cite your source and respect those who came before you and did the work.

The internet is getting smaller every day. Once I post this blog entry I can randomly select a sentence from it and do a search. Every website who has used my sentence will be returned in my Google search.

This also goes for Google Images – ugh, don’t get me started! When you search Google Images please note the disclaimer that states “image may be subject to copyright” that does apply to you too. What’s the best solution? Find the original owner and pay them for use, or hire a professional graphic designer or photographer to create an original solution. Appreciate the wonderful web of knowledge we have access to and share your wisdom, don’t steal others and think you will get away with it.

What are the consequences of Copyright Infringement?

If you use a copyrighted work without permission and your usage is not exempt under the law, you are infringing on copyright. If the copyright holder discovers it, they can then sue you for actual damage or loss of profits. The holder/owner may also choose to seek statutory damages up to $150,000 for each infringement. So if you have stolen a logo and used it on your business cards, letterhead, brochure, signage and website, etc. the copyright holder can sue you for statutory damage for each, or $750,000. Here is a list of damages and profits of copyright infringement.

If you use a copyrighted work without permission and your usage is not exempt under copyright law, you are infringing upon the copyright holder’s rights. The copyright holder can sue you for actual damages or loss of profits. The copyright holder may also seek statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringement. See Section 504 for additional detail.

Copyright law is not limited to just United States Citizens. In an effort to address international use concerns as the world wide web expanded.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 signed by President Clinton addressed this issue by implementing two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Depending on if you are citing an entire website or citing a specific article or page within a website following are the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style standards to follow for proper citations:

· If you can’t find all of the information, cite what you can find in the recommended order for each.
· In these examples we have provided them as single spaced; you should double space citations in your list.
· For more information on MLA citation styles, refer to the handbook and the website.

To cite an entire website that you have referenced in your work :

Title of Database. Date of electronic
publication or latest update. Name of
sponsoring institution or
organization. Date the information
is retrieved <URL

Example:  Connection Group Web and Design Tips. July, 2011. Connection Group. August, 2011, www.connectiongraphics.com

To cite a webpage, cite a blog or cite an online journal article use the following format:

Author. “Article Title.” Journal Title
vol.issue (Year): pages.
Date retrieved information
<URL>.

Example: Sweet, Connie. 10 Baby Steps for Small Business to  Grow in Social Media.
Web and Design Tips, 17 (2012) 1. Retrieved August 25, 2011, from
http://www.connectiongraphics.com/tips/

Be original! We are ALL connected.

Let Your Image Speak for You

Pung Foundation logo created for mid-Michigan based concrete construction and renovation service company.

Phones have been ringing, emails are flowing in, social media posts are crammed with new business start ups ready to make a difference. New entrepreneurs are emerging with products and services that can change the world – or at least their communities and bank books. Ahhh, the passion of entrepreneurs!

I love when new start ups come to Connection Group for a graphic design or marketing consultation. I know when they start here they are serious about their approach and their image. I get to see their eyes light up, hear their story, and feel their drive. New business start ups come to us with a lot of questions, hope and dreams and often very limited budgets. It is our job to understand their goals, their philosophy, their market, their budget, service or product, and provide guidance to them that will assist their business launch without breaking the bank.

McNaughton and Gunn logo

McNaughton and Gunn is a 50+ year old book printer headquartered in Michigan

One of the first recommendations I make to business owners is to start with a professional logo. So many software programs and websites out there have stock art that people can place on a business card, throw a phone number and website next to and convince themselves they are the next Apple or HP. Online printers spout 250 free business cards, free icons, free templates. What cash crunched start up can resist’, FREE graphic design, FREE business cards?

We have all been to a networking event where we come back to the office and have two or more identical design business cards or two cards with the same logo or clip art. image. The designs and logos are the same the only difference is the names on them – one is a massage therapist, one is a florist, and another is a dog groomer. One was a contractor who specialized in tile installation, the other does windows. Now which one was the it that I wanted to refer to my mother? None of them. Why? Because they are not unique, they do not stand out from the crowd and chances are that is the way they will run their business. These owners did not take their business or craft seriously enough to invest in their image  – they decided their business was only worth a free set of business cards.

Women In Successful Enterprises logo

Logo created for WISE, a Michigan based organization comprised of second stage women owned businesses.

So when I have a start up company call or email and say they understand the importance of presenting themselves professionally but don’t know where to start, my question is not, ‘What is your budget?’, my question is, “When can we set up a time to meet?” I love an entrepreneur, I am one, I know small businesses make a difference in their communities and can change the world. I want to help the good ones to succeed.

Stay connected!

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