Our corporate past: 2019
It’s week three at your new job. You arrive at your desk to a new box of business cards – countless fresh-cut cards so sharp that they are slightly shedding from the edges. You pull out a card from the stack and see your name, emblazoned below your company’s logo. It’s official. You are a member of the team, and this card is your credential.
With this card, you are empowered with the arsenal of your entire business, and the breadth and integrity of your organization will resonate with every connection you make. You are a part of this company’s identity and you are proud to play a role in its growth. What a feeling.
Now it’s year two and you’ve achieved a promotion – you are now a Vice President. You’ve emailed HR and your new set of business cards has just arrived in perfect timing – some reps from another business are coming into the office today for a deal you’ve been working on. You’ve been CCd in the email chain, but you haven’t made any direct contact thus far.
Today is the day to prove yourself. These reps will see you are a Vice President and they will know to direct their attention toward you. When they walk in the room and take your business card, they will see that you are authorized to make decisions on behalf of your business. This meeting is serious. The room will know that you are a part of your company’s identity, and you have the power to close this deal.
These anecdotes from 2019 ring sweet to us all – such pride and power those business cards dawned when wielded in the meeting room. Now, however, its 2022. Where are your business cards?
Paper business cards are over – there is no doubt about that. In a Financial Times article last week, Ms. Pilita Clark discussed this post-pandemic change, solidifying a trend that had burgeoned in years prior to address the all too familiar tedium of paper business cards – sorting through the cards you’ve received after a conference, taking the time to enter in the details of anybody who might prove useful in the near future, and storing the remaining rectangles of cardstock in perpetuity underneath your computer monitor.
Ms. Clark is spot on – there is no longer time for that tedium in 2022, and fortunately, she tells us the solution: digital business cards.
Defining a digital business card
Somewhat self-explanatory yet still quite vague, what exactly is a digital business card? The global corporate landscape is searching for the answer to this question; now that we are certain paper business cards have lost their spot on the shelf (both figuratively and literally), we need to select what the next solution looks like.
In August, the WSJ published an article on the fall of paper business cards and the rise of their digital replacement, refencing some of the many vendors on the market. Mobilo and V1CE sell plastic NFC cards that you keep in your wallet; HiHello and Blinq have their own apps for individuals to download on the iPhone or Android. Still, something isn’t right.
Let’s first address the NFC card. “Digital” is a stretch when describing these cards, for they are indeed physical offerings. Whether made from plastic, metal or bamboo, NFC cards were the first alternative to the traditional paper business card, and they have never really taken a foothold on the market. Some will say they are inconvenient, given the need for a business to order and distribute thousands of pieces of plastic to employees, with no instant replacement functionality for new employees or employees who leave the business. Others will argue that they fail the “sustainability” angle, for though they are not paper, they will inevitably end up in a landfill. Whatever the reason, we can all agree that NFC cards simply aren’t perfect.
The app-based alternatives may be better, but they still share an unfortunate commonality with NFC cards: the need for internet connection. Succinctly put in the WSJ’s article, “bad cell service or a weak Wi-Fi connection can sap the magic.” What’s the point of a digital solution to networking if you have a weak signal at the conference, on the project site, or in the board room? HiHello and Blinq are among the throngs of app-based digital business card vendors, joined by the likes of Haystack, businesscard.io, Linqcard et al, and though their solution checks the sustainability box, it is still failing the test of convenience and corporate identity.
This brings us to my favorite point: corporate identity. Say you have a perfect cell signal and don’t mind the several touch points that aggregate the c. 13-second business card app use-case: finding and opening the app, waiting for the webpage to load, and having the recipient save your details, etc etc. What happened to corporate identity? What happened to the empowerment of receiving your very own business card from your company, your corporate credential, your authorization to act on behalf of your team? Do you expect employees to access their corporate identity via a heavily branded app, sorting through various screens of purple animation until they finally find and save their app-branded [enter company name] digital business card?
Where, you wonder, might we find a solution that addresses sustainability, convenience, reliability and corporate identity? Search no more. Welcome to Doorway.
No wasted material, no app downloads, and no internet connection required to use. Your corporate identity held in your digital wallet. Entirely branded for your company. Evolving corporate identity and empowering your employees. Doorway.