• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Personal Branding Toolkit – Part 1: Business Cards

    This is the first post in a series dedicated to YOUR personal branding toolkit. Don’t leave home without it!

    Your personal branding toolkit

    1) Business cards
    2) Portfolios
    3) Resumes
    4) Cover letters

    Business Cards – A 3.37×2.125 inch card displaying information about you, your business or both.

    I’ve seen many business cards in the past decade of my life and most don’t do people justice. They are always stale and don’t capitalize on personal branding. Have you ever gone to a conference, a networking event, a business dinner or an job interview, where the business cards were “just another piece of paper” and “so last century”?

    Here is what happens when you receive 50 business cards in a single night of networking:

    • You can’t match any names with faces, so you forget everyone.
    • You are so overwhelmed that you don’t know who to follow-up with first and end up not touching base with any of your new contacts.
    • You have spent so much time connecting with many different people that you’ve neglected to build a stronger relationship with a select few.
    • You toss them in your card holder, under your bed, within your sofa or ontop of your TV.
    A best practice for branding your business card

    Your branded business card

    How to create a business card that SCREAMS “BRAND ME”!

    Before you read this, realize that you have to mentally throw out all the business cards you’ve ever seen because most of them are just plain terrible. Your business card is not only how you can make a statement but leave a lasting memory.

    1) Name: Use your full name that you want people to call you. You don’t have to use your legal name and don’t use a nickname.

    2) Personal picture: Every business card should contain your face. It’s rare to see someones picture on their business card. I never forget a face, do you? I don’t care if I pick up 1,000 business cards from an event, I will certainly remember your’s if you have your picture on it. A picture isn’t just about “being memorable,” it’s also important because it shows personality. It’s your chance to smile, have a goofy face or look angry. Let your brand shine through!

    3) Logo: Whether you have a personal or corporate logo, it has to be included on your branded business card. A logo is the best visual for branding. I don’t see many business cards that don’t include this crucial element. Example logos

    4) Contact information: You don’t have to include your address, phone number, fax number or email address. Cards that have all of this information are usually the worst because there is no white space and it’s crowded and confusing. Take it from me, just use your preferred method of contact. You can drop everything and only include “Google Me,” like Scott Monty did when I first met him.

    5) URL(s): This is the perfect time to include a link to your blog, LinkedIn account or any other website that best represents your brand. It’s almost like saying “for more information that is not included on this business card, please see these websites.” Don’t include more than 2 or people won’t know what to do.

    6) Material: Apart from common business cards made of paper/card there are also special business cards made from plastic (frosted translucent, crystal clear, white or metallic). You can even use metal, rubberized cards, magnets or wood. You are guaranteed to stand out if you don’t use the regular material.

    7) Product snapshots: If you sell a certain product, like an iPod, a car or even a house, then take a snapshot and put it in your business card. Instead of having to explain your business on your card, make it simple by using a graphic.

    8 ) Font: The typeface you use is very important for your personal brand. Here is a selection of fonts you can use.

    9) Personal brand statement: This is yet another place to put your personal brand statement. Remember, this statement includes “what you’re the best at” and “the audience you serve.” It’s personal positioning for the 21st century.

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    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in Networking, Personal Branding, Success Strategies
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    19 comments on “Personal Branding Toolkit – Part 1: Business Cards
    1. avatar
      EXPERT

      Helpful information, Dan. I will share this link with my PR Publications students at Georgia Southern University. One of their first publications will be their business cards.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Alec Satin says:

      Wonderful post. You’ve inspired me to redo my business cards.

      Printing for less has been a good vendor in the past. (I have no relationship with them).

      Best wishes,
      Alec

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Sean says:

      Great post…these are some really innovative ideas for business cards. I’ll definitely keep these in mind when making my own.

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      Pam says:

      Good reminder that as we adjust to all the advantages of technology that we need to revamp some long standing resources also!

      Great tips!

    5. avatar
      EXPERT

      Dan – I wonder how much we need business cards when your audience is all carrying mobile devices and can store the person’s contact, name and link to blogs or social sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) which is better than a piece of paper which ends up in a desk drawer or lost. For creating a personal brand – I liked the idea this site http://www.moo.com/flickr/ (either use your face or photos from Flickr).

    6. avatar
      EXPERT

      This is an awesome post. Great job!

    7. avatar
      EXPERT

      A fantastic post on applying your personal brand with business cards. Some may think that business card are thing of the past, but people still interact face to face for the biggest and most lasting business relationships. Not having an effective card is just plain silly.

    8. avatar
      EXPERT

      Photos are great but we are seeing more and more people wanting to get a bit more creative, so they get a caricature drawn for use on their business stationary.

      No it does not cheapen the image, but serves to define that person from the crowd in that people know they are creative, can think outside the square etc

    9. avatar
      EXPERT
      kenneth says:

      Really helpful information Dan
      i hope this will help others to redo or make their new business cards
      so keep up the good work 🙂

    10. avatar
      EXPERT
      Sergio says:

      Thanks for this blog Dan, I’ll apply this concepts to my own business cards. Actually, a business card must say “Call ME” or “Contact ME” rather than call to our company.

      People wants to interact with people, not with some faceless company, evne when we talk about great companies. Your B.C. must REFLECT YOU.

      Saludos!!!

    11. avatar
      EXPERT
      Annoop says:

      Nice concept
      Would help in better recall and have reminder value
      Annoop

    12. avatar
      EXPERT
      Leticia says:

      Dan, Its great information, I disagree with one thing. My face on the card for many things racism of our society, race, age, weight, looks and so on. From my own girls at age 8.

    13. avatar
      EXPERT
      possicon says:

      Dan, your blog moved me I now have redesigned my business card to include my face. just about me and links to me.

    14. avatar
      EXPERT
      Steve Call says:

      Thank you for superb article. But I had difficulty navigating around your site because I kept getting 502 bad gateway error. Just thought to let you know.

    15. avatar
      EXPERT
      Yvonne says:

      Fantastic blog. My company prints a lot of business cards and a lot of the artwork supplied is either good, bad or ugly. My personal cards tick a lot of these boxes and I get a great response from them, especially your point on using a personal picture. Brilliant. Thanks Dan.

    16. avatar
      EXPERT
      Alex says:

      One thing about putting your face on your business card though is you’d have to have a nice picture on it and you might have to hire a professional to do that. But i guess it is a good way to make a lasting impression.

      • avatar
        EXPERT
        Whee PR says:

        It’s not all that hard to find a relatively good photographer these days for a good price, freelancers are everywhere. Would agree with Dan about 90% that you should have a personal photo on your business card, and its well worth the modest price to do it right.

    17. avatar
      EXPERT
      Jef Menguin says:

      Thank you very much for your wonderful ideas.

    17 Pings/Trackbacks for "Personal Branding Toolkit – Part 1: Business Cards"
    1. […] wanting to design my own, but I just haven’t had the time or the inspiration. A recent post, Personal Branding Toolkit – Part 1: Business Cards has given me some great […]

    2. […] Personal Branding Toolkit – Part 1: Business Cards « Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel I’ve seen many business cards in the past decade of my life and most don’t do people justice. They are always stale and don’t capitalize on personal branding. Have you ever gone to a conference, a networking event, a business dinner or an job interview, where the business cards were “just another piece of paper” and “so last century”? (tags: businesscards) addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fpublicrelationsmatters.com%2F2008%2F08%2F19%2Flinks-for-2008-08-19%2F’; addthis_title = ‘links+for+2008-08-19’; addthis_pub = ”; « PR Profs Who Tweet […]

    3. […] Business Cards — Some tips, in an abbreviated format: […]

    4. […] reading Personal Branding Toolkit-Part 1: Business Cards, I’ve finally created my business […]

    5. […] Personal Branding Tool Kit: Part I Business Cards Personal Branding Tool Kit: Part II Portfolios Personal Branding Tool Kit: Part III Resumes Personal Branding Tool Kit: Part IV Cover Letters […]

    6. […] Not to confuse you, but when you aren’t at work (off-hours), you still represent your company. The difference here is that you don’t have to actively talk about your company and can focus more on your other projects. When you go to a networking event, feel free to use your personal branding business cards. […]

    7. […] personal branding toolkit should include: 1.)Business Cards 2.)Portfolios 3.)Resumes 4.)Cover […]

    8. […] weeks later, after reading Dan Schawbel’s personal branding advice on business cards, I flipped through the Mashable cards and found one with a head shot – belonging to Andy Pitre of […]

    9. […] face is perhaps the most important asset you have, both online and offline.  We spoke about how to brand yourself with business cards some time ago and how your cards should contain a picture on one side because that’s how […]

    10. […] face is perhaps the most important asset you have, both online and offline.  We spoke about how to brand yourself with business cards some time ago and how your cards should contain a picture on one side because that’s how people […]

    11. […] For the release of my new book and to capture everything I do in the personal branding world, I had new business cards made. It costs about $170 to get 1,000 double-sided, color, 12 pt thick, glossy business card.  One side is the cover of my book and the other has my picture, with my contact information, two media quotes and my title.  From a branding perspective, these business cards will make people remember my face and the book that I have coming out in April.  Whether you’re in college, an entrepreneur or a manager, you should have your own business card.  If you want to learn how to create your own business cards, see my previous post on this topic. […]

    12. […] For the release of my new book and to capture everything I do in the personal branding world, I had new business cards made. It costs about $170 to get 1,000 double-sided, color, 12 pt thick, glossy business card.  One side is the cover of my book and the other has my picture, with my contact information, two media quotes and my title.  From a branding perspective, these business cards will make people remember my face and the book that I have coming out in April.  Whether you’re in college, an entrepreneur or a manager, you should have your own business card.  If you want to learn how to create your own business cards, see my previous post on this topic. […]

    13. […] as a general concept, to the world. I had been marketing myself during college, using a “personal branding toolkit” that consisted of a business card, professional website, CD portfolio, cover letter, resume […]

    14. […] as a general concept, to the world. I had been marketing myself during college, using a “personal branding toolkit” that consisted of a business card, professional website, CD portfolio, cover letter, resume and […]

    15. […] the castles. According to Dan Schwabel, an expert in personal branding for the generation Y, a  logo is one of the best visuals for personal branding. The logo above placed in between the two columns […]

    16. […] Personal Branding Name Cards by Dan Schawbel Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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