Business cards. A small piece of paper with a few lines of information about you and your job to help others remember you. Usually, the more unique business cards are, the better the impression they make. In some Asian countries, for example, exchanging business cards is a form of respect and honor. In South Korea it is an insult to throw someone’s business card away. At the same time, in Japan it is considered rude to not have a card with you, all together. For Western societies, however, sharing a business card with someone is as trivial and as common as shaking one’s hand.
Either way, these pretty, tiny sheets of contact information have, over the time, become essential for building our network. You might say that a business card is the equivalent of a signature in an email. But more importantly, a business card can be your “punchline”, that one key detail that makes people remember you.
Unique business cards of the past
The earliest records we have, tell us that business cards were probably created in China, as “calling cards”. The high society would send servants with handwritten unique business cards to let the to-be host know they were coming to visit. This trend took on in Europe only around the 17th century, but people here saw another use for it. Merchants started to use the cards to advertise their trade, thus creating the world’s first business cards.
Funnily enough, in 19th century US, the cards took a little more “raunchy” form, as “flirting cards”. As relations between men and women were highly restricted before marriage, young men needed to find a way around. So, creative bachelors would carry around “escort cards” or “flirting cards” that they would slip into the chosen girl’s pocket or purse. If she kept the card, it meant she accepts the invitation. If she returned the card, she declined the man’s advances.
Business cards today
Technological progress and modern printers started a culture around business cards. Creating more elegant and unique business cards became a sort of art form. Companies and employees would race each other to come up with the most impressive designs. Every tiny detail from text and typefaces to colors and shapes mattered. This trend became so prominent that even filmmakers would point out the importance of an elaborate, slick card. In the popular American movie “American Psycho”, there is an iconic scene where several office colleagues brag and compete with each other with their cards.
We live in a globalized digital world and our jobs take us around the globe. So, as we often work remotely, we have to travel for meetings and we are constantly on the go. But so is everyone else. All in all, we never know when we’re going to need a business card with us. And what happens when we run out or they get destroyed somehow? It may take days if not weeks for our provider to send a fresh batch. This was the case of Philip Morris International (PMI) sales force as well, as they constantly faced the hassle of always having a nice, fresh business card at hand.
The answer to our and PMI’s problems, not mentioning the environmental benefits, is digital business cards. However, competition in this field is fierce, as more and more businesses see the potential in having a business card generating app. So how is one supposed to differentiate themselves from the competition?
Together with Philip Morris, the Wiredelta® team came up with a solution that takes digital business cards to the next level. As a solution for this case, we created a beautiful and professional looking application that generates unique business cards and helps users manage their connections.
Also, as salespeople are always on the go, they need a platform that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime through any device. So, using NodeJS for the backend and AngularJS for the frontend, our team delivered them a fast and mobile responsive solution.
The flow of the platform is the same on web and mobile and it is pretty straightforward. The user logs in with a username and a password and is taken to the main screen, where they can create the new card. From the menu, they can navigate through their profile and edit or update personal information.
Once the card is generated, users can download the file in a .png format, which is a simple image format. This allows them to send the newly created business card using any channel they want. In other words, users can send the unique business cards through email, social media channels and MMS. Simply put, the platform we created in collaboration with PMI has unlocked every communication channel between businesses and partners.
To generate a new card, users must first input the name and phone number of their contact, and personalize the card. This information is saved in the dashboard for future references, along with a unique code that truly differentiates this application from the rest. The unique code generated with every new business card can be used as a referral.
The referral codes
The reason this referral code is so important is that we live in a socially bound world. It creates a bond between your business and a business partner you never met and may not ever meet. In short, the referral code is your contact vouching for your business, thus building transparency and trust.
At the same time, one can monitor the referral codes generated on the “Referral code” page. Here, users have a full overview of all the codes they created, who they created them for, and what was the outcome. Therefore you can always follow up on your business leads.
Technology and digital communication channels freed our world to connect with people all across the globe. But in a world of noise and cluster, where companies compete on every platform possible, how can we build trust? The answer to that is networking. Humans are social creatures, and we tend to believe the word of a person close to us more than an image or add on the internet. Networking is maybe more important than ever. This is why Wiredelta and PMI transformed the simple business card into a vital link of that chain.
Do you have the perfect idea to connect the world in a more efficient and trustworthy way? Or are you an entrepreneur who loves creating value out of thin air? We can help you achieve your goals too. Just contact us and let’s sit down for a chat.