Rapid advancements in communication methodologies have dramatically changed the way people do business. I know…this is not news to anybody, but when developing new opportunities, securing new clientele, or establishing and strengthening a corporate brand, most companies know where their priorities lie. Online.
However, when interactive strategies have successfully done their job and landed you face to face with a potential new client, then what? How do you create a lasting impression after you leave that initial meeting? What souvenirs do you leave behind to commemorate the quality of your business and the value you’ll bring to their operation?
If your answer is to produce a wrinkled, scratched and damaged business card from your wallet prologued with “Let me see if I have one of my business cards…oh, here we are…sorry it’s a little beat up, but our web address on there…” then read on, there are better options.
While it’s important to have a strong on-line presence in today’s marketplace, it’s equally as important to protect your brand across all brand touch points. This means finding creative ways to produce high-quality business collateral without breaking the bank. Remember, websites are visited and collateral is delivered. When handing over items that speak to the value of your company, it’s critical to leave the right impression.
As print has lost significant ground to web based communication over the years, the selection of available paper has greatly suffered. And, as the need for large quantities of business collateral continues to reduce, the ability to deliver impactful hands-on items has become increasingly difficult. Long gone are the days of gigantic paper warehouses, packed-to-the-rafters with seemingly endless varieties of paper. This isn’t to say that premium paper doesn’t exist anymore. It does. Paper companies still mill and manufacture a large variety of fine papers – as many as there were in the print heydays of the late 80’s and early 90’s prior to the .com revolution – but it’s the availability in small quantities that has become an issue.
One way to circumvent the problem of premium paper unavailability and the high costs of the ones that are available is to resurrect some age-old print techniques, but use them in new, subtle and sophisticated ways. There is no shortage of utility grade, workhorse paper stocks. There is an abundant and readily available supply of basic coated and uncoated papers that are simple bright white, smooth finish and available in a variety of thicknesses. These papers are also not subject to any kind of quantity restrictions or special ordering parameters.
Recently, we’ve designed and produced business cards utilizing the somewhat dormant printing methods of foil stamping and embossing (sample shown). By choosing either glossy coloured foil, or basic silver foil with an overprint and used sparingly in combination with standard print varnish techniques on basic stocks, we’ve generated some very dynamic and premium results.
The additional contrast created by embossing logo elements subtly highlights the foiled areas. Printed ink colours were kept minimal; only 1 colour was used which kept the overall costs in check. To be even more cost efficient, we produced additional blanks (or shells) where all of the intricate processes of foiling and embossing were done at one time, but the variable contact information removed. The pre-prints (shells) are then be used for future small order imprinting of the persons contact details only making it very affordable to re-order business cards, even in small quantities. This process is where the foresight to keep ink colours to a minimum pays off dividends. Forward thinking big picture planning of our clients entire business collateral system can generate numerous opportunities for big production cost savings down the line – stay tuned for future articles that further detail this and the combination of digital printing methods.
The final word is that with a little more investment, and some measure of pre-planning, your business collateral does not need to be an afterthought to your website. When done smartly, all of your marketing efforts can work in concert to elevate your brand. Your business cards can immediately solidify your attention to detail once it is in hand and the results are two-fold, you’ll have prospective customers spend quality time with all of your marketing materials, and you’ll remind current clientele that you are the premium organization they know you to be.
Here are 3 tips to keep your business cards beautiful and affordable.
- Keep in ink colors to a minimum and let the graphic elements do the hard work. ‘Full colour’ is no longer a premium item (and hasn’t been for some time). Great layout trumps full colour every time.
- Use innovative specialized printing techniques such as foiling, embossing, spot gloss treatments or die cuts to differentiate your card.
- To keep things affordable, print your cards in large volumes of blanks, and imprint small quantities at a time. This will keep the unit cost per card down and open the door to innovation.
Invest in an inexpensive business card case to carry 20-30 cards with you at a time in your briefcase, coat pocket or purse. Keep those cards in mint condition!