What does your business card say about your brand?

 

Sherrod Shackleford, left, and LaVon Lewis founded their branding and marketing company, PDG, in a dorm room, 14 years ago. Today, they are handling accounts for major companies. They are based in Atlanta, Ga.

Sherrod Shackelford, left, and LaVon Lewis founded their branding and marketing company, PDG, in a dorm room at Alabama A&M University, 14 years ago. Today, they are handling accounts for major companies. They are based in Atlanta, Ga.

By Chanda Temple

Before you hand your business card to Sherrod Shackelford or LaVon Lewis, make sure the card is truly what you want to say about your company.

If not, be ready for their feedback because the two founders of PDG, a branding and marketing firm based in Atlanta, Ga., are not shy about sizing you and your card up and  saying what they like and don’t like about it. 

“I don’t know what you are selling,” one of them told an entrepreneur during a recent branding workshop, where attendees provided their business cards for critiques.

By the end of their reviews, the two had dissected how a handful of business owners needed to better brand themselves via a business card, which is, excuse the pun, a major calling card in business. They even told one entrepreneur to scrap his card and start fresh with a new design and content. (His card was too vague about his services.)

Tough words to hear so early on a Thursday morning. But branding is a tough job, no matter the time of day. If you’re not willing to roll with the punches to make improvements for your business brand, you may need to consider doing something else.

“Your brand is designed to be a tool to generate business,” Shackelford said. “If it’s not doing that, go back to the drawing board.”

Here are some of their tips:

  • Make networking a business 

When you attend at a networking event without any business cards, you send a message that you are not serious. When you step out of your office, you need to be prepared to present a proper business card.

  • Don’t miss opportunities to promote your business 

Flip over your business card. Is it blank? If so, you are missing a prime spot to promote something about you and your company. If you are a public speaker, for example, list  the topics you discuss. Such a list gives potential clients a clearer picture on what they can recruit you for for an event. If you don’t tell them in a card or a website, they are left wondering what you do.

LaVon Lewis, CEO of PDG, uses the front and back of his business cards to promote his branding and marketing company. You should, too.

LaVon Lewis, CEO of PDG, uses the front and back of his business cards to promote his branding and marketing company. You should, too.

  • Include your contact information   

This may sound elementary, but many people forget to add their work phone number, cell number, email address or website. When adding a phone number, make sure it works.

  • Get social 

Social media is a good way to expand your brand by keeping customers and potential customers aware of products, your company and you. Add your social media links to your card. But make sure the content on your social media pages is interesting and consistent. If it isn’t, hire a professional or designate a social media-savvy employee to handle the content. Don’t forget to add LinkedIn, which is a good source for business connections.

  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When it comes to branding and you’ve found something’s not working, review it and see what can be changed. Be honest with yourself because you are going to have to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

  • Personal branding starts with you

Personal branding is all about what people say when you are not around. If it’s bad, it’s time for a makeover. That includes your card, your business, your product and even your employees.

Check out a recent YouTube interview on branding with LaVon Lewis, CEO of PDG: http://youtu.be/jSYfLdviOlU

Follow Lavon on Twitter at @lavonlewis1.

Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business, careers and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.

 


5 comments on What does your business card say about your brand?

  1. Gwen
    June 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm (3 years ago)

    An inspirational blog. I took a look at my business card and said I need to check out those young men.

    Reply
    • chandatemple1913@yahoo.co
      June 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm (3 years ago)

      Please do. They know their stuff.

      Reply
  2. Tressia
    June 25, 2014 at 6:19 am (3 years ago)

    Wonderful tips! My cards have more info on the back but now I see it’s not the right info! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    Reply
    • chandatemple1913@yahoo.co
      June 25, 2014 at 6:36 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for reading. Yes, I learned so much from them.

      Reply
  3. Onyi
    February 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm (3 years ago)

    Great article, in regards branding, I once wrote; Entrepreneur, you are your brand. Your website, business card, speech and how you walk and talk is your brand. ~ Onyi Anyado.

    Reply

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