Reading time: 4 min
*Disclaimer: If you haven’t had a chance to binge-watch South Korean Netflix series Squid Game, beware: Spoilers ahead!*
Squid Game has taken the world by storm. And while there’s plenty to dissect about the show (the social commentary, the battle to the death, the terrifying robot…), let’s look at the show from a business lens. With that perspective, Squid Game also delivers an interesting (if unexpected) lesson — and that’s about business cards.
Squid Game business cards play an important role in the plot of the series. Though Squid Game cards are used for very nefarious reasons, the show does offer a clear case study in why business cards are still relevant in today’s digitally focused world.
So, the question is, what can Squid Game business cards teach us about the relevance of business cards today? And how can you leverage those lessons to more effectively market your business, build brand recognition, and connect with customers?
Why does Squid Game use business cards (& not emails or texts)
In the show, Squid Game cards are used to recruit players, all deep in debt, into a game that sees them fighting to the death for their shot at a huge cash prize – about $38.6 million USD.
With that setup, it’s worth exploring why the show decided to use business cards, instead of recruiting players through digital methods like email or text.
There are a few reasons why business cards were the best way to connect with players, each of which are applicable for any real world business looking to connect with customers:
- Business cards make a strong first impression. As the old saying goes, you only get to make a first impression once, and business cards give you the opportunity to make that impression count. While an email or text message might be quickly forgotten, a well-designed, on-brand business card is far more likely to make a mark on potential customers. That strong first impression can help turn people into customers.
- Business cards give you control of your branding. In Squid Game, the Salesman passes out simple kraft business cards with a very minimalist feel, totally in line with the game’s mysterious, secretive branding. With your business card, you can do the same, taking control of your brand and making sure your card represents you and your style. For example, you might experiment with different paper stocks and shapes (check out our guide to business card size and dimensions) or design elements (like different logo designs or font choices) to convey your brand look, feel and messaging to potential customers.
- Business cards create secondary marketing opportunities. Any time you give someone your business card directly, you’re marketing directly to them. But the marketing potential doesn’t stop there. Business cards can become “mini billboards” for your business; every time another person sees your business card (for example, a friend or colleague of a customer), it’s a secondary marketing opportunity. In Squid Game, one of the characters sees a Squid Game business card and recognizes the branding, prompting him to ask questions about the card and what it means. That’s an example that could easily translate to a potential customer spotting your business card.
- Business cards offer a tangible takeaway that can keep you top of mind with your customers. It’s easy to lose track of digital communications. eEmails and texts get pushed down as new communications roll in, and messages can get lost in a sea of notifications. But with business cards, you’re handing someone a physical representation of your business. And because business cards aren’t as common as marketing emails or texts, your card won’t be competing with hundreds (or thousands) of messages from other businesses. You can even use them as appointment cards or loyalty cards, too.
Squid Game recognized that, while email and text may be more of the norm, business cards still offer certain advantages over digital communications. Depending on the situation, they can be a better, more effective way to connect with your target audience.