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The rituals at the heart of relationships. Why business cards endure.

By Paul Howarth

At a time when almost every manual process imaginable is being treated to a digital facelift in the form of an app or web-based service, it may seem surprising that the humble business card has managed to endure. There have been multiple attempts to digitally revolutionise the sharing of contact details, however, despite the relative success of services such as LinkedIn and Bump, none have so far managed to replace the old-fashioned act of sharing a printed rectangle of card.

This is in part due to compatibility issues and lack of personalisation with digital alternatives, but most interestingly, the ritual and personal touch of card sharing seems to be the reason for its survival. There are nuances and traditions surrounding the face-to-face sharing of a card (two hands in China, a short bow in Japan, a knowing smile in the UK) that the digital realm is yet to satisfactorily address, and while it may only be a matter of time before it is achieved, the survival of such a seemingly dated exchange is an interesting reminder that there is still a way to go for digital to meet the personal needs of users and human interaction is as important to business as ever.

Everything we do at Omobono is about making relationships brilliant. Understanding the rituals behind those relationships often unlocks the opportunity to add value. The fascinating thing about corporate brands is that the face to face dynamic remains so important, and why business cards will always endure.

Read the Financial Times view on it here.

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