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Promotional USB Pens that actually write and Store Data

Posted by USB2U on 20th May 2015 | Permalink

There is little point in giving away a promotional USB gift unless you’re confident that it’s going to be kept and that it’s going to be used. If you attend any conference or trade show this year take a cursory glance in the waste bins on the way out – you might be surprised at just how many brochures and cheap giveaways make it no further than the bins at the exit of the event. If your gift isn’t good enough then people just won’t bother carrying it home with them.

To pass the “worthy of carrying home” test they have to be desirable, be relevant, be useful (or fun) and ideally have they need to have a high-perceived value. If your giveaway meets none of these basic criteria then in all likelihood it will be in the nearest waste bin before you can say “promotional gift”!

Of course any giveaway needs to be within your target budget and it needs to look good with your company logo printed (or engraved) on it. There are lots of cheap and cheerful promotional products on the market that are still popular (pens, bags, mugs, sweets, caps etc.) and these are fine if you just want people to stop and engage with you on your stand at a trade show but, if you want to create some real interest in your company’s products or perhaps you want to say express your appreciation to your VIP customers or speakers at a conference you’re organising then “cheap and cheerful” won’t do.

With lots of products to choose from it’s perhaps a surprise that USB flash drives remain incredibly popular. Millions of them are given away each year because they tick all of the key requirements most companies (and recipients) have of a promotional gift. But, is over popularity and the development of cloud services like DropBox beginning to dampen demand?

Of course there comes a point where you can just have too many USB memory sticks and when this point is reached their usefulness is diminished. They’re still useful as a way to disseminate information but most people only have a certain amount of data they want to move around so whilst one or two USB sticks are useful beyond this, they can become “just another flash drive” which is likely to end up unused and discarded in a draw.

If you’ve decided a USB memory sticks is the right product for your project then you might want to consider a USB “pen” rather than a standard USB stick. USB writing pens elegantly combine the benefits of a stylish pen with the widely acknowledged benefits of a flash drive.

The pens come is a wide range of styles, colours and finishes and the fountain pen version uses standard ink refills. Typically unscrewing the top of the pen gives access to the USB connector and the on-board memory can be anything from 1GB all the way up to a massive 32GB!

With a USB Pen you get a triple whammy because you’re giving away a pen, a flash drive and you’re supplying the recipient with lots of information pre-loaded onto the pen that they can subsequently read or print off at their leisure. Some pens even have integral laser pointers and/or come with a soft tip so you can use then with tablets and smart phones!

USB Pens

USB Pens

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Aargh!! – Can’t get the USB Sticks! Don’t Panic. We’re The 4th Emergency Service

Posted by USB2U on 19th May 2015 | Permalink

It happens – the excitement, the stress, the pressure and the desire to do a brilliant job and show to everyone how capable you are but then the smallest little detail trips you up and it all goes pear shaped. That career defining moment becomes a career defining moment for all the wrong reasons!

We’ve all been there and its not pleasant. It’s that sinking, horrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when it suddenly dawns on you that your job or career is on the line because of things that are outside of your control. However, if you’ve simply forgotten to do something then arguably you’re at fault and you’ll have to live with the consequences no matter how painful they are.

But, if you’ve been working diligently on a project that has a hard deadline and right at the last minute you’re let down by a supplier that they can’t deliver your on time then it might not exactly be your fault but the consequences might be just as painful.

All the planning and preparation in the world can’t accommodate these little “bombs” when they happen but what you can do is try and factor in a little contingency in your schedule. Its not always easy and we understand that “contingency” has a nasty habit of just being “absorbed” in the project.

If the cause of your angst is the supply of promotional USB memory sticks then don’t panic. At USB2U we pride ourselves on being the “4th Emergency Service” of the branded USB memory stick world. Unlike most other suppliers who simply place your order on a factory in China, at USB2U we brand and finish over 50% of all USB sticks we supply in our office in the UK. We always carry tens of thousands of USB sticks in stock and we can print, engrave, data-load and package them in just few hours!

Our Trustpilot reviews (over 3,000 predominantly 5* “Excellent” reviews) are full of customers who’ve been amazed by our ability to get them out of trouble and turn around their order in a matter of hours.

We don’t limit you to just one model, one colour and one memory size either – if you do need to use our “Rush Service” then you’ll typically have over 20 different models to choose from in a range of colours and memory sizes! We also carry a wide range of gift boxes (which we can also brand), lanyards, keyrings and other accessories.

The best thing to do if you’re in a hurry is call us. Our experienced team can talk you through the options, they’ll explain what we need from you to handle your order and give you a firm idea about when we can deliver for you (typically it’s within 24hrs unless we happen to be incredibly busy)

Rush USB Stcks

Rush USB Stcks

 

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Re-formatting Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 14th May 2015 | Permalink

If you’ve been lucky enough to be given a promotional USB memory stick then there’s a strong likelihood that it will have lots of data already pre-loaded onto it by the company who’s giving them away. Typical files pre-loaded onto a promotional USB tend to include videos, copies of presentations, product data sheets, press releases etc. etc. Usually these files are not “locked” because to do this they’d have to be loaded onto the USB sticks during the manufacturing process so, they’ll just be normal copies of files that can be deleted.

If you want to remove these pre-loaded files so that you can use all of the available space for your own data (after you have fully read and absorbed the content put on the sticks of course – it’s only polite) then it’s pretty simple.

The best way to erase all of the files on a USB memory stick (including any hidden files) is to format the stick. At the end of the format process it will be completely clean of all data and you’ll then be able to create folders and sub-folders to transfer your own personal data back into it.

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

To format any USB Memory Stick just follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Transfer any Data from the USB stick to your PC

We strongly recommend that you take a copy of the files on the promotional USB stick before you format it. Just drag and drop the contents from the stick to your PC (or Mac). Formatting your USB memory stick completely erases the memory stick so if you want any of your data then its critical you copy it first. Once you’ve started the format process there is no way back so please check any copies of the data before you start the process.

Step 2 – Formatting your USB Memory Stick on a PC

This is pretty straightforward but it does worry some people because if you get it wrong you can end up formatting the hard drive of your PC (Ouch!). To get started just “click” on the Windows “Start” icon in the bottom left hand corner of your PC and then click on “My Computer” (or “Computer” in Vista or Windows 7). Once done your PC will perform a quick scan and show you all of the drives (hard drives and external memory devices like USB Sticks) installed or connected to your PC.

You need to identify the drive that has a “Removable Disk” icon. – click on it to be absolutely sure it is your USB Memory Stick. Once you are sure right-click on the “Removable Disk” label. From here you will see a small drop down menu that includes the option to “Format” – click this.

At this point a dialog box will open giving you a couple of options; Leave the “Quick Format” option unchecked because this will make sure absolutely everything is deleted and deleted without errors. Click the “Start” button on the dialog and wait for your USB memory stick to be fully formatted.
Step 3 – Re-load your files

Once your USB Memory Stick has been formatted you’ll have a blank canvas to work with. Its recommended that you then create folders and sub-folders to copy your saved data back into to and that you then get into the habit of saving your data in a structured and organised way.
If you’re a Mac user you can still format your USB Memory Stick as follows:

Load up the “Disk Utility” program. You’ll find this in the “Utilities folder” which you access via the “Applications folder”. Your USB memory stick should be in the list showing a white drive icon. Click that icon and select the “Erase” tab on the main window to start the erase (format) process.

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More on Why the Promotional Twister USB Flash Drive Remains Top Pick

Posted by USB2U on 12th May 2015 | Permalink

We’ve been supplying promotional USB flash drives for over 12 years and in this time we’ve lost track of the tens of thousands of customers we’ve supplied millions of flash drives to. What we do know is that one of the very first drives we sold was the “Twister” but what we didn’t anticipate is that 12 years on it would still be the most popular product we sell.

Despite new and innovate designs of USB sticks being released every year the Twister has stubbornly remained the top choice and if current trends are any indication it’s going to remain the buyer favourite for the foreseeable future.

Below we list just some of the reasons why we think this particular USB memory stick will continue to dominate the promotional gift market:

  1. There’s no cap to lose. The Twister (also known as the Swivel or Rotate) gets its name because part of the body (called the “clip”) twists around to protect the USB connector. Because of this no cap is needed and of course there is therefore no cap to lose!
  2. It’s reasonably small – it’s not the smallest but some of the new models are just too small to print on and people worry about losing them. The sizing of the Twister seems to be just about spot on, not too big and not too small.
  3. It looks great printed or engraved! The “clip” the section that is printed has a good print area, its flat and they look good irrespective of whether you print onto them or engrave onto them.
  4. They are available in hundreds of standard colours so it’s easy to match them to the primary colour(s) from any logo. Even if you can’t find a standard colour that works for you its pretty cheap (around £30 as a one-off fee) to get them pantone matched.
  5. The “clips” on any branded Twister USB memory stick can be changed very easily. The beauty of this is that you can change the design or logo printed on them without having to buy new memory sticks – you just order some more printed clips and pop them on! It takes seconds to do and buying clips costs pennies instead of pounds!
  6. The “clips” on a Twister can be supplied in different colours so you can mix and match body colours with clip colours to create an effect that works for your logo/campaign. It’s the sort of simple and easy customisation that lots of car manufacturers are doing very successfully at the moment.
  7. Attaching a lanyard or key ring attachment is easy because there is an integral loop built into the rotating clip on the twister.
  8. Sheer manufacturing volume means that the Twister is the most competitively priced of all promotional USB sticks. 4GB and 8GB are popular sizes at the moment but you can buy them as a promotional giveaway up to 32GB (64GB coming soon)
  9. Held in stock ready for personalisation, data-loading and delivery in just 24hrs. At USB2U we hold tens of thousands of the Twisters in stock in our Northampton office so we can deliver them (fully branded up) in hours rather than days!
  10. We love them!

There have been plenty of new pretenders that have tried to steal the crown of the Twister Flash Drive over the years but they have all be vanquished. For now at least the Twister is the King and nothing in the near term looks set to change this.

Twister USB Memory Sticks

Twister USB Memory Sticks – Top Pick for over a decade!

New Wooden USB Twisters from USB2U

New Wooden USB Twisters from USB2U

 

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And the Winner is…..

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2015 | Permalink

The votes are in and they’ve been counted and audited and we’re finally able to announce that the most popular promotional USB memory stick is the Twister!

It was a secret ballot; so secret in fact that even we didn’t know it was happening. The methodology we used was simply to look at the thousands of orders we’ve taken in the last 12 months calculated which USB stick had the largest number of orders. We looked at the data in two ways; how many orders were placed for Twisters and how many actual Twister sticks were sold – it was head and shoulders ahead of its nearest rival.

Did the results come as a surprise? No, not really. The Twister USB Stick (also commonly referred to as the Swivel or the Rotate) has been the best selling promotional USB stick of the last decade. Lots of new models have been launched and have tried to challenge its dominance during this period and whilst some have survived and are still bought in reasonable numbers none have come close to the sales of the humble Twister.

Its popularity is down to a number of very simple things; it’s relatively small, it has no cap to lose, it comes in hundreds of different colours and it’s easy to use. The fact that it sells in the millions means that its cheap (well, cheaper than some of the other models) and easy to get hold of – pretty much anyone who sells promotional USB memory sticks will carry the Twister. They’d be daft not to.

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Ironically there are lots of other flash drives with a larger print area to work with, plenty are also smaller and of course there are others that also don’t have a cap to lose but for some reason the basic Twister model has seen them all off and remains the favourite.

At USB2U we always carry the Twister in stock in the UK and its typically available in a range of different colours and memory sizes. We offer it as part of our “rush” service which means we can get them to any customer (printed and data-loaded) in as little as 24hrs – less if you can collect them from our Northampton office.

We also offer engraved versions of the Twister – we simply change the “clip” the section that rotates or “twists” (hence the name) and replace the standard silver clip with a coloured anodised clip that we can engrave. Some customers prefer these because there is no chance of the engraved logo rubbing off over time.

The reality is we didn’t need any pollsters, or market research to tell us what the winner would be – we knew, almost instinctively that the Twister would still be crowned the winner of our popularity charts. Long may its reign continue.

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Power Banks – Might be needed on Election Day more than ever

Posted by USB2U on 7th May 2015 | Permalink

Today is one of those days when more people than ever are likely to want to stay connected to the web. Yes there will be some voter apathy during the 2015 General Election but many pundits are predicting a surge in voters with more than 70% expected to cast their vote.

If the weather holds fair and the sun comes out then it could push the turnout into the high 70’s, which is what happened when the sun came out in 1992. By comparison when it rained in 2001 the turnout was only 59%!

To be fair today’s election turnout is expected to be strong irrespective of the weather because it is going to be a close run thing and people do appreciate, more than ever, that their vote will/can make a difference.

If you’re a keen observer of the election, the process and the results then in our connected world you’ll want to keep in touch with what’s happening via your smart phone or tablet (that is assuming you’re not near a TV or you’re away from your PC/Mac). The problem with this is that Smart Phone batteries do have a nasty habit of running out pretty quickly particularly if you’re permanently using multiple applications to keep a check on the news, Twitter, Facebook etc. etc.

If you’re a journalist or blogger out and about reporting on the election then you’re usage is going to be even heavier and you’ll almost be able to see your smart phone battery draining in front of your eyes!

One of the ways to keep connected and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action today as it unfolds is to make sure you have at least one Power Bank with you. For the uninitiated a Power Bank is like a glorified re-chargeable battery that you plug into a PC (or main socks using an appropriate adapter) to charge and then plug into your smart phone or tablet when you need to re-charge them! Simple.

Promotional Power Banks

Promotional Power Banks

They take about 2 hrs to fully charge but they’ll restore a completely dead smart phone back to life in a few minutes and fully charge the smart phone in an hour or two. They’re being touted as a great saviour for long journeys and holidays but they come into their own on days like today when you know you are going to be using your phone or tablet more than usual and you’re not necessarily going to be able to recharge them from the mains.

If you’re really lucky you might be given one free of charge because lots of companies are recognising the advantage of getting Power Banks branded up with their logo and giving them away as a promotional gift. Why? Well the best promotional gifts are ones that people want and find useful, that they use on a regular basis and that boost the brand of the company printed on them.

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UK General Election – Not Helpful for Promotional USB Memory Sticks Prices

Posted by USB2U on 6th May 2015 | Permalink

With less than 24hrs until the voting starts the election is still too close to call. What is certain is that most of us a fed up with the on-going discussion, debate, speculation and dissection and we just want to get on with it and deal with the inevitable fallout when it comes. It’s clearly not going to be pretty and it’d be no real surprise if we end up doing it all over again in a few month time because of a vote of no confidence! Sigh!

We faced a similar uncertainty following the last election (although arguably this time its going to be much worse) and last time the financial markets reacted badly with share prices tumbling and the £ (GBP) falling in value against most other leading currencies including he $ (USD).

The financial markets are already pretty fragile not least because of the on-going issues with the Greece bailout and additional and prolonged uncertainty in the UK is likely to push things over the edge.

For any company looking to buy promotional USB memory sticks or custom USB flash drives in the short term this is bad news. The vast majority of USB memory sticks in the world are manufactured in China and the factories that manufacture them all expect to be paid in $’s (USD). So, any weakening of the £ (GBP) against the $ (USD) is going to mean an increase in prices coupled with a lack a stability in terms of pricing. It’s bad enough now that prices are only held for around 3 days but when the markets enter a period of sustained uncertainty then prices for USB sticks (which are driven to a large degree by the currency markets) can change daily!

As a company this will be our 3rd General Election (we set up the company in 2002) so we’ve a reasonable amount of experience of dealing with the challenges they can pose. To try and protect our customers we have forward bought a large amount of stock and we’ve protected ourselves for some time against currency movements. We want to provide as much as a cushion as we can against the uncertainties we (and our customers) are likely to be faced with over the coming months!

So, if you are looking for USB memory sticks printed of engraved with your logo and perhaps a great looking gift box to put them in then we’d strongly recommend getting in touch with us at USB2U – not just now because of the elections but at anytime!

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of  Election Worries

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Election Worries

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USB Sticks and Keepsake Boxes fit for a Princess

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

Fantastic news about the birth of the latest Royal baby on Saturday! Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana) arrived at 8:34am on Saturday and the announcement has provided a welcome respite to all of the political debate in the lead up to the General Election on Thursday.

Whilst there’s been masses of media coverage and loads of photos of Princess Charlotte it’s unlikely we’re going to see any “official” photos released by the Palace for at least another 3-4 weeks. Her brother (Prince George) was a couple of days short of being a month old before the first official image was released and even then these were a few snapshots taken by Kate’s father.

It’ll be interesting to see if this time around Kate and William use the services of a professional photographer or whether they elect (again) to keep the whole thing “in the family”. It’s a commission that most professional photographers would give their right arm to get albeit it won’t come without lots of pressure, scrutiny not to mention the demands (and intrusion) of the press!

If they do commission a professional photographer Kate and William won’t be alone because these days the newborn baby photography sector is growing fast and there are some brilliant pros that specialise in nothing but baby photography. Of course as a market grows and brings more competition into it one of the challenges is to make sure you differentiate your service so photographers are now using things like engraved USB memory sticks and matching engraved keepsake boxes to store digital copies of the baby photos on and in!

But, a pretty keepsake box and cute engraved USB memory stick is just a great “value add” and nothing more. Fundamentally it has to be about the quality of the photography and how the photographer engages with their client and the baby.

If you are an established baby photographer then, irrespective of whether you get the “gig” at the Palace you might want to think about offering digital copies of your shots to your clients on an engraved or printed USB memory stick. It’s the way the market is moving and there are now several specialist companies (including USB2U) that not only offer these types of products but have also invested in dedicated websites aimed at the Pro-Photography sector.

If you are think that you’re on the short list of possibles for the first official photographs of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge then good luck!

Tasmin Holland

Tasmin Holland – Professional Photography – USB Sticks and Boxes

 

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Advice for Professional Photographers thinking of buying USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 30th April 2015 | Permalink

There has been a marked shift in the way in which professional photographers supply digital copies of their images. Fewer and fewer are using CD’s and DVD’s instead preferring to make them available on USB memory sticks or simply uploading them to a cloud based storage service from which their clients can download them.

Cloud based options are an easy and simple solution but they don’t really offer much in the way of driving additional revenue, building brand loyalty or giving the customer something really personal and tangible. In an increasingly competitive photography market it’s important for photographers to differentiate their service and in pure commercial terms it critical that every revenue opportunity is maximised. When you’re a professional you’re running a business and whilst some of the elite or privileged might be able to just focus on the photography for the rest it’s about earning enough to stay in a business they love and putting food on the table.

There are now some absolutely amazing USB packages available that have been put together specifically with the professional photographer but why buy these instead of just picking up a decent Kingston or Lexar drive from your local Staples or PC World Store?

The standard drives will do the job but they won’t exactly make anyone’s heart miss a beat if they’re given their wedding or family portfolios on one of them and charging a premium for them might be a challenge! Equally don’t expect to see lots of Facebook posts or Tweets about them and how they were blown away by them – these standard USB sticks are boring, they’re about function not flair, they’re not designed to lift peoples spirits they’re designed as a business tool.

Great photographs work on an emotional level so if you are going to use USB sticks to distribute them on then surely it’s best to use one that looks as though some care, creativity and thought has gone into its choice? Use one that reflects your own style and approach and works in harmony with your photographs and your typical clients.

When shopping for USB memory sticks here are some basic tips to help you:

  1. Find a specialist supplier – the vast majority of USB memory sticks suppliers are mainly selling them to companies that give will them away at trade shows and exhibitions or press events. These are usually cheap and cheerful flash drives that will have slow(ish) read/write speeds and will have limited branding and packaging options. Ideally find a supplier has a proved track record of supplying photographers, understands the industry and has developed a range of packages specifically for the photography sector.
  2. Buy a product that is fit for purpose – The typical read/write speeds of a “promotional USB sticks” is usually little more than 2MB per second (write) and 4MB per second (read). This is fine if they are just being data loaded with a couple of PDF sales brochures but, if you’re a professional photographer you will need to get USB sticks with better (upgraded) flash memory and better controller chips. If you don’t then be prepared to spend several hours copying your photographs onto each USB stick.
  3. Consider using the latest USB 3.0 sticks. USB 3.0 is the new standard for USB. USB sticks that use this standard will have read/write speeds of around 50MB – 100MB per second so they are very, very fast! They cost a little more than equivalent USB 2.0 sticks (but not as much as you might expect) but to take advantage of the speeds they offer you’ll need a PC or Mac that is equipped with USB 3.0 USB ports. Even if your clients only have PC’s with the older USB 2.0 USB port on them they will still be able to use them they’ll just run a bit slower. The real benefit is the time you’ll save loading the images onto the sticks.
  4. Get Physical Samples and Mock Ups – Ask for free samples to help you choose which model to go with and get your supplier to work up various mock-ups and examples for you. Again, a good supplier will have an in-house design team and they should be able to suggest and illustrate a number of options that will work with your brand or logo. Don’t pay for this. Mock-ups should be free and will not (should not) bind you to placing an order.
  5. Don’t forget the packaging – the style and type of box you choose can help lift the overall impact your USB sticks make when you hand them over to your client. Printed or engraved boxes are relatively inexpensive providing they are purchased with your USB sticks so make sure to ask about the available options.
  6. Check our what other photographers are saying about the supplier and their products – there are plenty of 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot that will help you to see what other customers are saying but there are also lots of “private” photography forums and boards where you can ask for advice or just read other threads/posts on this subject.
  7. Take all claims of “A Grade” USB and chips with a pinch of salt – every USB supplier now claims this and they get away with it because they know they are rarely ever challenged and when they are it’s often after an order has been placed and fulfilled. Better to trust what other customers are saying that taking the claims of the supplier at face value.
USB Flash Drive Pacakages from USB2UUSB Flash Drive Packages from USB2U

USB Flash Drive Packages from USB2U

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

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Boost Your Sales With Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 28th April 2015 | Permalink

Are your sales are faltering and lagging behind forecast. Perhaps they’re just in need a bit of a boost or is it something more fundamental about your proposition that needs challenging? Maybe you’ve got a new product or service that you’re about to launch or perhaps you’re looking for something to help entice potential customers to your stand at a show or event?

If any or all of the above apply to you or your company then one of the best ways to increase the awareness of who you are, what you do or what you sell (and hopefully drive your sales) is to give your customers something for free. This could manifest itself as a competition or prize draw but typically it takes the form of a “promotional gift”. Ideally any promotional gift needs to be relevant, it needs to have a high-perceived value and it needs to be useful enough for the recipient to want it and to want to use it on an on-gong basis.

The market is full of promotional products including branded caps, mugs, pens, sweets, keyrings, umbrellas and T-shirts but one of the most popular promotional products is a USB memory stick – The most recent survey carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) on behalf of its members found that 45% of the respondents considered the USB sticks the best to be the best product with 64% ranking them the most useful (64%). Pretty compelling statistics!

There is now a huge range of USB sticks to choose from, they all look fantastic when printed with a logo and of course they (unlike most other promotional giveaways) can be pre-loaded with tons of sales and marketing material, dynamic links to web sites, video clips, presentations and so on.

Prices of promotional USB sticks have also fallen over the last few years making them even more attractive as a giveaway. If you buy one of the more basic models in a high enough numbers and with a low(ish) memory (say 128MB) then you’ll get them for around £1.50 per unit!

Whilst they won’t be the right choice for every company, product launch, trade show or PR event you can’t escape the fact that continued re-use of USB sticks, which in turn generates brand awareness, brand loyalty and which then hopefully creates a brand advocate and increased sales is exactly what most companies want from any promotional product!

Equipping your sales force with branded USB memory sticks to hand out as they met their customers is a nice touch and a great way to enable them to “thank” their customers for their on-going support.

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

 

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