Business ‘trading cards’ create social media connections

Meet-Meme Inc.

544 S. 1st St., Milwaukee

Innovation: Social media trading cards

Milwaukee-based Meet-Meme Inc. has created a social media “trading card” similar to a business card, but with features that help engage social media connections.

“Our ultimate goal is to bridge the online and offline worlds,” said Andy Wright, co-founder of Meet Meme. “We realized that that was the first step in creating real connections and these cards allow people to connect across different networks in a fun, very interactive way.”

The Meet Meme cards are designed similar to the baseball cards many people collected as children, Wright said.

“The cards generally include a photograph of the individual, company information, bio, Twitter follower count and or LinkedIn Connections, an interactive QR code and virtually anything else someone would like to put on there,” Wright said.

They are completely customizable and can be used for specific events, as business card replacements or supplements to traditional business cards.

“The cards have the ability to be the perfect ice breaker for people to make initial introductions in a networking situation,” said Jonathan Brewer, another co-founder of Meet Meme. “The cards can also be a foundational base for a customized game, experience or theme we create for a particular event.”

Meet Meme was first launched as part of an after party event at Milwaukee’s UnGeeked Elite during the summer of 2010.

Cindi Thomas and Mark Fairbanks, founders of Milwaukee-based Translator interactive digital marketing agency were also involved in the development of Meet Meme.

“We had an initial brain storm meeting with Mark and Cindi,” Wright said. “After that initial meeting we had these interactive trading cards and everyone’s opportunity to be just like their favorite baseball player or other athlete on a collectable card.”

At the first event, Meet Meme founders organized an interactive game where teams competed to collect the most UnGeeked Trading cards, Brewer said.

“We gave all of the national speakers a stack of cards and it was our way of helping attendees at the conference engage and introduce themselves to those people,” Brewer said. “It was a great way to make introductions that might not have happened had there not been the incentive of getting the cards.”

Since that time, Meet Meme has grown exponentially and the company is in the process of working with nationally known firms and organizations to integrate Meet Meme cards into their events.

“I’ve been chasing every opportunity nonstop sense that first event,” Wright said. “We are now seeing Meet Meme cards being used at both social media and non social media centered events and trade shows and we’ve also seen people using them as personal replacements or supplements to traditional business cards.”

According to Brewer, Meet Meme generates revenue from three different areas: personal card purchases, customized networking-based games and events, and from working with brands on full business card replacements and integration with brand experience opportunities through HR practices and systems.

The company allows an individual to select from a variety of different platforms for their card, usually Twitter or LinkedIn but they plan to add Foursquare and Facebook as well. In addition to including statistical information from the chosen platform, the cards can display bio information, and as many websites a person wants, Wright said.

“We also started utilizing digital QR codes pretty early on as another way to bridge the gap between offline and online,” Wright said. “We want your cards to really represent who you are through your various networks. When scanned, the QR code brings up a digital image of the Meet Meme card with activated links for all social networks and websites they can connect with.”

Meet Meme is in the process of organizing a week-long scavenger hunt at the 2011 annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas.

“It’s going to involve a number of elite and up and coming social media based companies and individuals,” Wright said. “I don’t want to say too much, but there is going to be a series of digital checklists and game ‘pieces’ who have cards and the winner will be based off the number of cards you are able to collect throughout the week.”

The winners of the hunt will be announced at the Milwaukee Beer and Brat Bash held at SXSW on Monday, March 14.

Meet Meme cards are printed by Milwaukee-based First Edge Solutions. Individuals can choose between a set number of designs and also have the option of ordering limited edition designs throughout the year, Wright said. Right now the company is offering a limited edition ‘”ustin” design in honor of the SXSW event.

“We’re honored to be spotlighting Milwaukee in this way,” Brewer said. “The compassion the Midwest has for business and for people is a huge part of who are as a company. As we experience future growth we’re hoping our success will help maintain and grow talent in this area. True to the place that we love, there is a lot of talent here and so far we’ve been able to put the spotlight on our area as an area ripe with innovation. It has certainly been interesting on the national playing field.”

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