It's feasible that some people have yet to hear of 'Hamilton,' a musical about America's founding fathers and revolution which, in turn, is revolutionizing Broadway. Based on Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, it follows the life of the Caribbean immigrant from childhood through the Revolution and into the early 19th century, ending with his death at the hands of fellow Revolutionary politico Aaron Burr. Immortalized in the 21st century in a milk commercial, duel between Hamilton and Burr is the stuff of legends. But it's the correspondence between Hamilton and Burr which captivates the audience. Complete with the trappings of 18th century courtesy, every letter between them ends with an amiable send off: 'I have the honor to be you obedient servant.' It's a juxtaposition reflected in the musical as a whole, with black and Hispanic actors playing Caucasian historical figures and modern speaking styles mixed with hundred-year-old formalities. It's almost like a realized form of retrofuturism, which is why I'm advocating for the return of the calling card. So what does a modern calling card look like?
Why a Modern Calling Card?
From the 19th through the 20th century, social interactions were practically rituals. There were rules and recommendations for how people should interact regarding their gender, social status, age, virtually any aspect of your being. Calling cards were used to make introductions as well as convey messages through shorthand or turned down corners (for real).
Most relevantly to today, calling cards also served as a way to brand your social identity. The way your card looked and felt, the way you handed it to someone, all of these things communicated your standing and relationship with the recipient. In the past, calling cards were used to convey a variety of things. Think of them as early incarnations of the plethora of situations for which Hallmark now sells cards. They're like business cards, but imbued with extra meaning. Much like a flash drive USB card.
Last week, we mentioned that the business card industry was due for some level of disruption. Reinforcing that message, business/calling cards have been essentially unchanged for centuries. Literal centuries. They're a necessary part of business, but there are more robust ways to share your message. Sunrise has a variety of options that can do that.
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?
If we look at it as a kind of continuum, it's not all that dissimilar from 'Hamilton' using a multi-racial cast to tell the story of a group of dead, white people. The cast reflects what America looks like today; business cards should reflect how we do business today. Not too dissimilar from its purpose in past centuries, a modern calling card needs to convey more than the bare essentials. Harness the power of a customized USB flash drive to leave your mark on the industry. Thankfully, duels aren't the only way to do that nowadays.