Which Personal Branding Strategy is Best – Business Cards or QR Codes?

Close-up of phone with QR code

Why do some people rise to prominence in their field? Some believe it has something to do with the individual’s intelligence. Others think there is a secret, mystical strategy they are privy to that nobody else knows about. According to the folks at Hinge Marketing, the correct answer might be somewhere between these two perspectives. Many experts become more recognizable because of an excellent personal branding strategy, coupled with consistently high-quality work over time.

In the book The Visible Expert, many of these high performers admit they don’t have any extraordinary talents. They were just regular people like you and I who came to the same conclusion: That in today’s fast-paced business world, it’s not enough to have a memorable name or beautiful website; you need your own individual brand to set yourself apart from the competition.

Business Cards: The Building Blocks of Your Brand

For most of the last century, the business card was the key personal branding tool. It (hopefully) told new acquaintances everything they needed to know about your brand in an easy-to-remember format.

In a famous scene from the movie ‘American Psycho,’ several characters present their business cards in a game of one-upmanship over their rivals as to who had the perfect card design. They comically obsess over the card font, color, and card stock as if the cards themselves were the ultimate symbol of corporate power. And in a way (at least for the time period), they were right. 

That movie, however, was from 2000, and technology has come a long way since then.

Enter the QR Code

Since their invention in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave as a way to track vehicles during production, QR codes are now more often used in advertisements to make it easier for consumers. A person with a QR code can effortlessly scan the code and be redirected to an interactive online environment without needing to do any typing or clicking. And thanks to advancements in technology, it’s now possible for professionals and business owners to create their own custom QR codes that others can scan with a smartphone.

Which One Should You Use?

There is no correct answer as to which one you should use, but there are some guidelines for how they work best together.

Business Cards

Business cards are best when meeting someone new in person, where a high level of professionalism is expected. They’re also great if you want an easy way to hand out information quickly, like your website address or social media profiles, without having to get into details about URLs and Usernames.

QR Codes

QR codes work best when you have a large amount of digital information to present and a limited space to do so. Today, most people don’t have the patience to remember a long string of URL directions when they’re trying to learn more about what you do. A QR code takes them instantly to your site or presentation without any hassle whatsoever.

Why Not Both?

There’s no reason not to combine business cards and QR codes together into an online/offline branding experience with today’s technology. A slick card design with your logo, contact info, and tagline can be bolstered by including a QR code on the back that takes them to your personal site or video with more information about what you do.

Merge the Old with the New

QR code-enabled business cards are the perfect marriage of the old with the new. They’re like business cards of yesteryear, but they offer a much more powerful and personal experience by providing your contact an additional digital experience for more information. Using both is a solid branding strategy you should consider implementing today.