You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find a greeting card company with a prominent display at a show dedicated to consumer electronics — unless it was showcasing a new electronic gadget, such as a drone, to accompany its cards. But that’s exactly what American Greetings did at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this year: It had a huge enclosed booth promoting nothing other than paper, with a marketing campaign slogan of “a device like no other.”
The main selling points? Greeting cards don’t need charging or electricity. They don’t require batteries. They don’t involve a learning curve. And they’re not outrageously priced.
Despite the rapid rise of technology — and the lack of technology in physical greeting cards — people buy 6.5 billion greeting cards per year, according to the Greeting Card Association. Something about these communication devices keeps us coming back.
Back to basics
Another interesting thing of note at CES was a device called Freewrite. It’s essentially an old-school typewriter or word processor that simply saves what you write (type) in the cloud. The selling points for this? No Facebook, YouTube, or similar technologies to distract you from the task at hand.
I don’t know that FreeWrite will take off, but I can see it being beneficial to writers who get easily sidetracked.
What really stands out to me in both of these “technologies” is a desire for authenticity and simplicity. We’re constantly inundated with information and distractions. There’s too much vying for our attention.
FreeWrite offers a seeming escape from that, taking writers back to the basics. And greeting cards provide a breath of fresh air. The thought that someone would stop his or her busyness, sit down, and take the time to jot a personal note to you can really make your day. Yet, in reality, it doesn’t take that much extra time.
What does that say? In just a few minutes a day, we can have a huge impact simply by being authentic with one another. That strikes a chord with people. That’s a message businesses should take to heart, too. Simple is better.
How will you be authentic today?
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"