In our digital world, printed communication has undoubtedly taken a back seat, with less importance being placed on everyday stationery items. Why? We are at a loss to understand why the humble, but oh so powerful, stationery item is being relegated to the subs bench. After all, when you meet someone for the first time in a business environment, what do you do? Tradition suggests that you swap business cards. This is the pivotal moment where you either make a good first impression, or you don’t. And, as we know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
It’s big in Japan.
You may be interested to know that in Japan, there is a whole different take on the giving and receiving of business cards. It is protocol-led, extremely formal and the exchange of cards is an art in itself. The business card exchange highlights the importance that Japanese business people place on this ritual. To them, the business card is effectively the face of the giver, with his or her name, job title and company details displayed, and the recipient receives the card with the same reverence in which it is given. The look and feel of the card is therefore important, and reflects the stature of the company and its people. Purely to satisfy your interest, as we brought up the subject of Japanese business people, the way to exchange business cards in Japan is:
- The highest ranking people exchange cards first.
- Give and receive cards using both hands.
- Ensure the card is turned towards the receiver.
- Keep received cards on display for the duration of the meeting.
Whilst we may not rush to adopt this formal style of business card protocol, it nevertheless highlights the importance Japanese business people place on corporate identity. How often have you been embarrassed by the look and feel of your own business card?
A small change will make a big difference.
Chances are that your corporate identity is set in stone, so there’s not a lot that you can influence here, but if the quality of print and quality of stock is letting your company down, then it’s also letting you down.
If your business card is poorly printed, or printed on a less than impressive stock, it’s almost certain that your business stationery follows suit. Most companies send out fewer printed letterheads these days and some companies have used this as an excuse to cut costs. Sadly, the quality will have been sacrificed in the price cutting exercise.
Cost needn’t be a barrier to good quality print. However your printed stationery is currently purchased, chances are that it could be bought more effectively without compromising quality.
No-one sets out to deliberately make a bad impression, but it’s easy to overlook the importance of stationery and how it reflects the standing of your company. No-one wants to look second-best, so take an objective look at your stationery items, put your hand on your heart, and ask whether it gives that good first impression of you and your company.
If you are in a position to influence your corporate identity, it’s worth an objective review. How long has it been in existence? Does it still reflect the values, ethos, positioning and offering of the company? Does it look dated? Does it work effectively across all communication platforms? If there are some negative answers, then perhaps the time is right to review how you are seen in your marketplace and whether it’s time for a refresh or a complete overhaul.
We’ll be pleased to give you an objective and expert view on how well your corporate identity fits the bill and if you’d like us to give you the design WOW factor, we’ll be delighted to work with you. Just ask us! Email email@example.com or ring her on 01827 261261 or Jeff Bryant firstname.lastname@example.org