Last week John Baird, Foreign Secretary and one of the Canadian governments leading figures, caused a bit of storm with a recent business card re-design.
He seems even to have strayed from the 'brand standards' that are recommended and his Chief of Staff even had to sign a disclaimer to formally acknowledge that his office was advised against the changes.
There is always the challenge of wanting to have a business card that best communicates your brand, but it also has to be remembered when representing an organization that the card also has to convey their brand – even when it comes to Government.
In a rush to stamp his own brand on the card, Baird seems to have committed three sins of business card design:
1. He actually had the 'Canada' word and brand of the flag removed entirely from the card. If you represent a well recognised brand have that on your card, it adds to your credibility.
2. He changed it to a unlingual card, not having the reverse done in French, even though he is bilingual and represents a bilingual constituency. If you have a unique or differentiating skill or strength, see if you can highlight this – having the card double sided with a second language is very visible and memorable.
3. His mailing address in the capital Ottawa was at a building named after a Liberal prime minister AND Nobel Peace Prize winner – but not from the same party as Baird. If you have an issue that you would rather not be associated with but it's a key part of your professional details, the business card is not the place to display this dis-satisfaction – have a little more class.
Even in this very technological and connected online world, the business card is still an important part of your personal brand communication, in fact it might be the only printed tool you have. Take some time to ensure it is a balanced and clear reflection of who you are and what you want to be known for.