By: Jessica Kornfeind
It seems that everything tangible has become digital these days, but one tangible item that still matters is your business card. Business cards are still playing a vital role in representing you and your business.
These cards are often a business’ first impression when you meet with others face to face. They serve as a ticket to reconnect with people later on who could play an important future role in your business. As the saying goes, first impressions are everything and your business card plays a part in how you come across to others.
I can attest to this. When I return home from a large event, businesses cards are the link to the people I’ve met and possibly want to do business with. But I often return with hundreds of cards and to be honest, those that get my attention are the cards that really stand out.
Is your business card effectively representing you and your business? Take a good look at your business card and compare it with others that you have. What message is it sending? Does it stand out? Is it unique? Does it represent good quality?
Template-based design websites are an acceptable solution for startups with no budget. Sites like LogoSnap offer free logo design along with template business cards. If you put in some time and effort and apply your inner designer, you can create a perfectly good card. But if you really want a standout card, a custom business card design is definitely the way to go.
Here are five ideas to effectively customize your business card, whether you’re doing it yourself, or writing a creative brief for an individual designer or a design crowd. We have provided examples from our graphic design crowdsourcing platform MycroBurst to illustrate these ideas:
1. Add your photo. A photo is a great memory trigger and a favorite with real estate agents. Ensure your photo is of high quality.
2. Utilize the back of the card. Enlarge your logo in a simple form to take over the entire back of your business card, which gives it an elegant look.
3. Use bright colors and/or textures. A brightly colored card in a pile will catch someone’s eye. Be sure to consider the practicality of the background color you use: a black background is becoming an increasingly popular trend, but what if someone wants to write on your card?
4. Add a surprising element. Don’t be afraid to ask the designer to be creative – part of this card is transparent!
5. Consider an unusual shape. Something other than the standard rectangle will make you stand out in a pile, but be sure that your card will still fit in a standard wallet.
In addition to the design of the card, include all of your contact details and triple check them to make sure there are no typos.
And aside from your company name, logo and contact information, you could also add social media links and a QR code that scans directly to your website. Here you could offer a special promotion (it’s a good conversation topic when you hand out your card – tell them to scan the code for a surprise!).
If you decide your company card might need a facelift, check out MycroBurst to start your custom business card design today.
Jessica Kornfeind is the Marketing Coordinator for MycroBurst and LogoSnap.
We all know that humor is one of the most powerful communication tools in existence. After all, we will remember what makes us laugh and quickly forget what we find to be dull. Adding some humor to your slogans can make customers pay attention to the words, and more importantly, your product or service.
Writing an effective, but funny advertising slogan can be much harder than it seems. The words have to make the target audience laugh, but still respect the brand. Unless it fits within your brand, try and avoid cynicism or negativity. Go for witty, sharp and maybe even provocative.
A classic funny tagline is one for Coco Pops cereal: “I’m, Coco for Coco Pops.” That made the product sound appealing, related the brand name to an emotion and made people remember it.
One big danger you have when you try to sound funny in a tagline is to end up sounding just plain stupid. Some very well-intentioned attempts at crafting humorous slogans have ended up sounding completely dumb in the end.
Dominos once had a catchphrase that said: “Avoid the Noid” with the Noid being a mischievous character they invented. The problem was no one was laughing and the campaign, slogan and yes, the Noid disappeared never to be seen again.
Another problem that you have with humor is that it may not translate into other cultures. Anybody who’s ever watched a British sitcom knows that the Brits find a lot of stuff funny that Americans do not. Not everybody gets every attempt at humor; some people will be confused by it, others may be offended by it.
It seems obvious but make sure to avoid any sort of ethnic or cultural humor. Even if you’re Italian and you’re selling olive oil imported from Italy, making light of that heritage, even in a seemingly innocuous way, could offend people. There are sure to be people who take things way more seriously than you do.
The best way to avoid this is to try and keep the humorous slogans simple. The simpler they are, the easier it will be to get the joke, and the less likely that people will be confused or offended. One of the most effective catchphrases of all time was the dairy industry’s “Got Milk?” Another was Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” Both of those taglines convey a point quickly and generate a lot of laughs. Plus they tied in with broader messaging the companies were putting out there.
Humor is a powerful tool so use your best judgment when developing a new advertising slogan or tagline and you could be laughing all the way to the bank.
Something that even some of the biggest and most sophisticated advertisers and marketers often forget is that a slogan is, on some level, a promise. Many slogans are making promises to customers, and if what is promised cannot be delivered, the business’s reputation will be damaged.
A classic example of this was the old Walmart tagline “Always the low price. Always.” The problem with this is that it is not possible for any retailer, even a giant chain like Walmart, to always deliver the lowest prices. Competitors can and will undercut you. There is no way anybody can know what anything is selling for at any given time.
Another problem with this is that there are many price factors behind a retailer’s control: transportation costs, the price of raw materials, labor costs, taxes, etc. At some point, the price would fall so low that the chain could not live up to its promise. If a competitor found a way to offer a price Walmart could not match, it would either have to take losses or change its tagline. The discount giant eventually dropped that slogan.
A Slogan that Led to Disaster
Starting in 1973, the Domino’s Pizza chain began claiming that it would deliver pizzas within 30 minutes or they would be free. The problem with this was that to comply with the implied promise, Domino’s drivers had to drive recklessly and dangerously. In 1992, an Indiana woman was killed by a Domino’s driver, and her family won a $2.8 million lawsuit against the company. In 1993, a woman who was injured by a Domino’s driver was awarded $80 million by a jury.
Not surprisingly, Domino’s dropped the guarantee and slogans related to it. The company could not live up to its promises, and worse, was damaging its reputation and losing money by doing so.
Promises and Slogan
The reason why many catchphrases are virtually meaningless is that the companies behind them are trying not to make any sort of promise. A cute, funny or memorable statement that makes no promises will get an advertiser’s name out there without making any obligations or promises to customers. Walmart switched from “Always the low price. Always” to “Save money, live better.” That wording made no specific promises to customers.
Some of the best catchphrases of all time make no real promises to customers. McDonald’s classic “You deserve a break today” is a prime example of this. It is simple and easy to remember, but it makes no promise. The company will have to spend no money to deliver what it promises, and its employees will not have to do anything to live up to it.
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A slogan is far more than just a catch phrase; it is also a statement of values. The slogan tells the public and customers what an organization or product stands for. It also tells the public what the organization’s values are.
You should think carefully the wording of your tagline because your customers will see it as a statement of your values. If you convey the wrong message, you could actually drive away customers that disagree with the values conveyed.
How Statements Convey Values
An excellent example of a simple tagline that does a great job of conveying values and offers a chuckle is the classic United Airlines mantra: “Fly the Friendly Skies.” Even though it is very simple, this wording actually conveys a number of important values, including:
The message it clearly sends is that United cares about its passengers. If you fly United, the flight attendants and pilots will be friendly and care about you. That is obviously a message intended to attract passengers to an airline.
A slogan should be a reflection of how you want your organization or product to be seen by people. United obviously wants to be seen as friendly and caring, hence, its tagline.
Another slogan that conveys values well is Miller Lite beer’s “Tastes great, less filling.” The phrase tells drinkers that Miller cares about them and is committed to the quality of its beer. The company is dedicated to brewing a lager that tastes good, yet it also cares about their health because it makes a light beer.
The Values Themselves can be the Slogan
The Avis car rental agency does one of the best jobs of stating its values in a tagline with: “We try harder.” The saying is “We work hard, we value hard work, and we are committed to our customers. We will go to extra lengths to satisfy our customers.”
The most blatant statement of values in a famous motto is that of the Fox News Channel: “Fair and balanced.” Both words are actually values Fox is telling its viewers that it values fairness and will try to respect all opinions. Whether this is true or not, it is a powerful statement of values that distinguishes Fox from its competitors, some of whom have a reputation for slanting news to fit an ideological perspective.
Be Careful about the Values you are Conveying
Values are obviously important to all businesses, not just to news organizations. Customers are going to commit their money and perhaps much more to your organization. They will want to know what you stand for and what you believe in.
An interesting statement of values in a catchphrase was once used by Molson Beer in the 1990s: “I am a Canadian.” This obviously established Molson has a patriotic Canadian company that loved its country. Unfortunately, it could also drive potential customers away. Americans would be reminded that Molson is not an American company, and that by drinking its products, you could be putting Americans out of work. That’s obviously not the statement of values you want to send to would-be customers.
Take a Stand
A motto that draws a clear line in the sand can show your company’s moral values, but it will clearly drive some customers away. Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid expressing values in such a way as to identify with one nation, people, or religion. Molson would have been better off with a slogan like “We’re proud of who we are” or “Proud of where we come from.”
Perhaps the best, clearest, and most effective statement of values is found in a saying used by Google: “Don’t be evil.” By stating this, Google is making no commitments, but it is conveying a clear intent. It does not want to harm anybody or do anything considered morally reprehensible. This phrase will not offend anybody except possibly the devil, but it clearly expresses values.
Always remember that when you are creating a slogan and putting it out there, you are expressing your organization’s values. Make sure that you are conveying the values you want in such a way that does not drive customers away. If you are looking for a slogan generator go to www.sloganslingers.com.