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Wimbledon 2015 and Custom USB Strawberries – of course!

Posted by USB2U on 3rd July 2015 | Permalink

Wimbledon 2015 is now in full swing, the weather is behaving (so far) and the tennis, as evidenced by the Dustin Brown vs. Rafael Nadal game yesterday is as enthralling and entertaining as ever. The only slight fly in the ointment is the BBC Highlights programme that has been savaged by tennis fans and much of the media – expect the BBC to rush in changes pretty soon!

One the perennial favorites at SW19 (if you’re lucky enough to attend in person) are the amazing servings of strawberries and cream. They’re simply a must have and are as much a part of Wimbledon as the all white dress code, the ball balls and girls and the queues to get a ticket!

Every year more than 28,000kg of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are consumed by tennis fans and there’s no sign of this classic dish being usurped by anything else soon. Wimbledon is after all as much about the tradition of the event as it is about the tennis and a Wimbledon without strawberries and cream just wouldn’t be Wimbledon.

As much as we love the custom USB strawberries we designed and produced for Sealed Air we can’t see them replacing the real thing!

Custom-USB-Strawberry_Wimbledon

Custom-USB-Strawberry_Wimbledon

Of course these custom USB memory sticks are designed as freebie promotional giveaways and their primary objective is not to refresh a tennis audience but to engage with potential customers and get them talking about Sealed Air’s products and services. Custom USB sticks achieve this to a much greater degree than a standard promotional flash drive because they’re fun, different, they generate “chatter” and they often generate lots of activity on Social Media of the kind that you just don’t see these days with a standard promotional USB stick.

Let’s face it we’re probably all been given at least one or two “twister” style sticks over the last few years but it’s not everyday you get given a USB stick in the shape of a strawberry or truck or power drill!

If you’ve got an seminar, a conference or a marketing initiative coming up that requires a promotional USB memory stick then talk to us at USB2U about getting your own custom version produced. They cost only pennies more than a standard model, there are no set-up costs or tooling costs and they are typically delivered in around 3-4 weeks.

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No Fake Reviews amongst our 3,000 Reviews on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 19th June 2015 | Permalink

This morning the BBC reported that businesses in the UK are ambushing rivals with fake reviews, that customers are using the threat of leaving a poor review to negotiate a discount and that some review sites are failing to “take live” negative comments to give businesses a chance to resolve the matter rather than suffer a poor review.

Such is the concern about the extent of fake reviews that are now on the internet that The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to launch an investigation into the burgeoning review industry. It will report it’s finding and recommendations in 2016 but this is serious stuff with firms found to be acting illegally facing stiff fines and their directors possibly facing imprisonment!

The CMA, an important business regulator, said an initial study on the issue had “unearthed evidence that restaurants and other firms were posting fake reviews in sufficient numbers to warrant a formal investigation”. It also found that online reviews greatly influenced more than half of adult when they were shopping online.

At USB2U we sell promotional USB memory sticks. We operate in a highly competitive market and we know that many of prospective customers read reviews before placing their first order with us – why wouldn’t they, it’s common practice when buying over the internet today.

As a business that has been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for well over a decade (with a large number of customers that come back to us time and time again) we pride ourselves on the product(s) we supply and the service we offer. We, perhaps with a touch of arrogance, think our service is what differentiates us from the competition and we want someone, other than us, to promote this message – who better than our customers.

As such we encourage our customers to review us on Trustpilot. We’ve been using this service now for around 4 years and in that time we have accumulated over 3,000 reviews. We have NO control over what customers post, the score they award us, or the “taking live” of any review and nor would we want it.

Trustpilot, an independent 3rd party review service, posts ALL reviews, good or bad. If a negative review is posted (and we’ve had a few and most of them made fair comments) our recourse is to use the feedback as a learning experience and do things differently and better next time around.

We’re not perfect and we’re always learning. The feedback we get not only helps prospective customers but also us a business. Honest, open, and objective feedback is what we want and what we encourage. It’s disappointing that other businesses are apparently manipulating review sites but all we can do is reassure our customers that all of our reviews are genuine, all reviews are posted and all reviews are read and we appreciate the time and trouble customers take to post them.

We welcome the review by the CMA.

Branded USB Memory Sticks

Branded USB Memory Sticks

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A Promotional Gift that gets in the Face of your Customers – A USB Fan

Posted by USB2U on 18th June 2015 | Permalink

If you’re going to spend your hard won marketing budget on promotional giveaways then you want to make sure its spent on a product that gives you the maximum return possible. One way of doing this is to make sure that you buy a product that is relevant, timely, and useful and works tirelessly to promote your brand.

There are of course lots of promotional gifts to choose from but as we approach the summer and the mercury starts to rise then there are few better options than a USB fan. These are small, personal fans that plug into any spare USB port and can then be directed to blow cooling air directly at the user.

They’re obviously not in the Dyson league of fans but they do help you to keep cool in a warm and muggy office. They’re particularly handy if you don’t have any air-conditioning or where the “power” to decide when the air conditioning is turned on and to what temperature is controlled by someone else!

The beauty of a USB fan as a promotional give-away is that they are incredibly useful, they sit on the users desk and they typically point directly at the users face. Your branding (Logo or design) is applied to the centre of the fan (between the fan blades) so when it’s being used it means that your logo is also pointed directly at the face of the user.

They’re pretty cheap as well with prices well below £2 each (including all the branding and delivery) so they’re not going to break the bank. OK, they might only get used in the summer months but if you can get your brand in front of someone everyday for 4-5 months of the year then a sub £2 purchase has got to be worth it.

The fan blades are made from fabric so you can put your fingers directly into the blades when they’re spinning and you won’t hurt yourself (it’s a bit like a gentle tickle) and you won’t upset any of the Health and Safety bods either!

USB2U hold thousands of these USB fans in stock in the UK and are able to brand and deliver them in a matter of days. Don’t worry about re-sizing your logo to fit on the fan because the in-house design and print team at USB2U will take care of all that for you and you’ll get to approve everything throughout the process so they’ll be no nasty surprises when the fans turn up.

USB Fans from USB2U

USB Fans from USB2U

USB Fans

Promotional USB Fans

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USB Business Cards – No Comparison to Conventional Business Cards

Posted by USB2U on 17th June 2015 | Permalink

If we could just get past the crisis in Greece the economic outlook would look be looking pretty good. Sentiment seems positive, the numbers are moving in the right direction, the UK election has steadied things for the next few years (although the EU referendum could make for choppy waters) and generally businesses in the UK are making lots of positive noises about the future.

It’s been a tough few years with lots of businesses reigning in their advertising and marketing budgets and whilst the shackles aren’t exactly off there has been a marked loosening of the constraints. Money is now once again being spent on marketing and promotional activities but what has changed over the past few years is how the money is spent. Today the focus is much more about interaction, Social Media, digital delivery and other such buzz words. Companies (arguably led by the need to climb to the top of Google for their respective search terms) are desperate to acquire more “likes”, more consumer reviews and more interactions across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

But, what do you do if you’re reliant on salespeople who operate in a “face to face” sales environment? How do you equip them with the tools to encourage customers (or prospects) to engage with your business once the salesperson has concluded the meeting and moved on to his next customer?

One option that is getting lots of interest is the USB Business Card. These are the same shape and size as a conventional business cars and they are printed with just the same company logo, contract details and personal information about the giver BUT unlike paper business cards they carry tons of additional digitised content in the flash memory chip embedded in the card. The content stored on the USB business card is accessed by “flipping” out built-in USB connector and simply plugging it into any PC or Mac.

USB Business Card are the same size as a credit card, they are very thin (2mm thick), they can be printed on both sides and they come in a range of different memory sizes (1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB) with even the smallest memory size capable of being pre-loaded with all of your corporate brochures, product sheets, pricing lists, website links, media files etc.

USB Business Cards create a bit of buzz when they’re handed out and they’re certainly a great “ice breaker” if that’s what your sales people need. They fulfil all the basic requirements of a standard business card (giving your contact details, title and website address) but they go so much further than this.

USB Business Cards are great because:

  • By loading your brochures electronically onto them you can save a small fortune on print, storage and distribution costs
  • They’re excellent for seminar and conference organisers because all of the speakers notes and slides can be pre-loaded onto them again saving print and collation costs.
  • You create a great reason to pick up the phone and make a follow up call – “did you have a chance to read the brochure on the USB card, watch the video etc.”
  • They’ll create a much stronger and longer lasting impact than a standard business card so you get a much bigger bang for your buck!

USB2U carry stock of the USB cards in the UK and can print and deliver them for you in as little as 24hrs.

USB Business Cards

USB Business Cards

 

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Promotional USB Sticks with a logo that will last a lifetime

Posted by USB2U on 15th June 2015 | Permalink

If you’re buying USB memory sticks with your logo on then one of the primary reasons for buying them will be to promote your company and your brand – if all you wanted to do was hand out USB sticks then you could just as easily buy them without your logo on. Arguably it would be easier (and cheaper) to buy them this way but what would be the point!

Let’s face it if you’re going to spend a minimum of several hundreds of pounds on giveaways (like USB sticks) then you absolutely must get your them branded with your logo. Yes there is a small overhead to arrange this (versus buying blank) and you will pay marginally more for the finished product but promotional gifts like USB sticks are all about brand development and without a brand on them you fail at the first hurdle.

BUT one of the things you will need to consider when you buy promotional USB memory sticks with your logo on is exactly how the logo is applied. Do you opt to have the logo printed or is it better to get the logo engraved or embossed on the sticks.

Printing is usually done in one of two ways:

  • Silk Screen printing – using this technique each colour of your logo will be printed individually onto the case of the USB stick (onto which the logo is being applied) with the case often being baked in a small print oven between colours. The baking process tends to be used when metal surfaces are printed on because it hardens and toughens the print and protects it against chipping and scratching. On plastics its typical for a primer or bonding agent to be used.
  • Digital UV Print – UV printing is relatively new but its very popular because its allows full colour printing (photo quality) in a single pass using the latest UV printers. There’s a bit like a large photo printer you might use at home but with special UV inks that are dried and hardened by a UV lamp built into the printer. In many cases it’s still necessary to prime and thoroughly clean the USB sticks before they are printed but with care and an experienced operator the results can be stunning.

Whichever method is used the fundamental problem with printing is that over time the image printed will chip and scratch. Once the “bond” the ink forms during the print process is broken then it’s just a matter of time until the complete logo disappears.

Given the primary objective for buying USB sticks with your logo on is the on-going brand exposure you get from them then the quality of the print is a key consideration. Ink almost wiping straight off metal USB sticks is not unheard of!

An alternative is to choose a USB stick that can be engraved or embossed. OK, you’ll lose the ability to have your logo printed in full colour but the logo will last forever!

On the right model of USB stick, engraving looks brilliant. It’s tactile and the amount of detail you can get may surprise you. Both branding options (printing or engraving) have their merits but if you want longevity then it has to be engraving. Still not sure, then just ask for samples before you place any order.

Engraved Twisters By USB2U

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

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University Open Days are in full Swing – How many Promotional USB memory sticks can you collect

Posted by USB2U on 12th June 2015 | Permalink

It’s that time of the year again when families travel will travel the length and breadth of the country in search of the best University for their son or daughter. For many parents it will be the first time they’ve stepped across the threshold of a university but others will be old hands at the process because they’ll have gone though it for younger siblings or they may have been university students themselves.

If you’re new to the process or you’ve not been to one of these Open Days for a few years then you will need to plan your day (including the travel and parking arrangements) will military precision. With more and more students looking to go to university the Open Days are usually heaving and simply getting to the University can be a challenge – if you’re not a lover of “Park and Ride” then you might just have to relax your prejudices because at Universities like Exeter its pretty much the only way you can get to the campus and whilst they’re well planned the “Park and Ride” aspect can add around 2+ hours to your day!

Once on the campus it can be pretty intimidating finding your way around and if you’ve got pre-booked subject talks then the pressure will be on to find the right lecture room and get a seat. Most sessions will be rammed so it’s a good idea to get their early (Park and Ride permitting!).

There is always lots of information on hand from the University and the various departments and of course they’ll be plenty of additional information of admissions, financing and accommodation to take in on the day.

Lots of universities go out of their way to ensure that on arrival you have a hard copy of the university or college prospectus, details of the fees and any bursaries etc. information on the application process, a map of the university and occasionally a food voucher to redeem in one of the university restaurants and a welcome bottle of water to keep you hydrated during what can be a long and exhausting day!

You might also get the occasional insert or flyer from the Students Union that will give you a taster of the range of extra-curricular activities that are on offer at the University.

An “Open Day” is after all the universities opportunity to sell themselves to you and your son or daughter. Competition amongst the universities to bag the best and brightest students is fiercer than ever and Open Days (as well as exam results) play a huge part in helping students decide where to apply to.

Whilst a promotional USB Memory Stick printed with the universities logo is not going to influence anyone’s university choice it is interesting how many are now supplying these to prospective students as part of the packs they hand out. The promotional USB sticks are typically pre-loaded with copies of the prospectus and all the important forms any prospective student might need. With as much as 8GB of space available on even the most basic USB Stick many universities are increasingly loading videos onto the sticks illustrating student life on campus as well as offering links to Social Networking and Web sites. If you’re visiting lots of universities over the next few months it will be interesting to see just how many USB memory sticks you can acquire!

The way in which universities now engage with prospective students has changed enormously over the past few years. Aside from USB sticks other techniques include:

  • QR codes that can be scanned by Smart Phones and take the students directly to the University (or University department) web sites).
  • Facebook pages that allow the students to engage with the university, current and prospective students.
  • Twitter pages that deliver live news/information snippets.
  • Smart phone apps
  • Email and text updates

This year with around 500,000 university places to fill expect the tens of thousands of USB sticks to be given away and for the airways to be full of tweets, emails and chatter. Times have certainly changed!

USB Sticks for University Open Days

USB Sticks for University Open Days

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2015 Dragon Boat Festival – Expect Promotional USB Stick Delays

Posted by USB2U on 9th June 2015 | Permalink

To be absolutely clear the 2015 Dragon Boat Festival has nothing to do with Game of Thrones or Daenerys Targaryen. In fact it’s doesn’t really have anything to do with fire breathing dragons in the classic sense at all.

The reference to Dragons is actually a reference to “Dragon Boats”. These are boats that are made from teak, they are powered by crews of up to 80 people (using oars) and are decorated to look like dragons – hence the name Dragon Boats. The boats are anything up to 100 feet long, the front is shaped like an open mouthed dragon and the rear like the tail of a dragon.

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant cultural holiday that celebrates the life of the great poet Ou Yuan (not to be compared to George RR Matin the GOT author).

Qu Yuan was a minister to the Zhou emperor during the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC). He was renowned for his opposition to the corruption that was rife in the Imperial Court.

Ou Yuan’s views were popular b ut it was his popularity that ultimately led to his downfall. His fellow ministers became jealous and plotted against him, they convinced the emperor that Qu Yuan was a traitor and as a result he was exiled to his hometown.

Whilst in exile Qu Yuan collected great stories, legends and folk tales, and wrote poetry. Despite be banished to his hometown he remained a strong patriot and never lost his love for his emperor. On the 5th May, 278 BC he was heard the devastating news that the emperor had been overthrown by Qin warriors. In a fit of despair Ou Yuan committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo river.

On hearing of Qu Yuan’s fate the local townspeople rushed to their boats and tried to save him. They failed but he was much loved so out of respect they tried to prevent the fish from eating his body by throwing rice dumplings into the water and beating their drums to keep evil spirits away.

To this day, eating rice dumplings and racing dragon boats celebrate the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. In 2015 The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 20th June with celebrations lasting around 3 days in total.

Although the 20th June falls on a Saturday the likelihood is that many factories in China will take the opportunity to close for 3 days the following week. Consequently orders for branded USB memory sticks that are produced and printed in our China factory are likely to be delayed by a few days. Our advice is to either order early or order from our UK stock because this way we can guarantee to meet your deadlines.

What Problems - Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

What Problems – Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

 

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USB2U adds to its range of Promotional Power Banks

Posted by USB2U on 8th June 2015 | Permalink

Already a leader in the supply of promotional USB Memory Sticks USB2U is now pushing hard in the Promotional Power Bank market. Just last week it added another stunning model to its range and the latest version (The Pearl) is arguably their best yet.

The Pearl Power Bank is thinner (only 12mm thick) but it has a great print area to work with (106mm x 36mm) so brands and logos look amazing when printed in full colour on one of both sides. Being just 12mm thick means its easier to pop this version into your pocket and carry it with you and of course it comes with USB cable to allow you to charge it and to charge your smart phone (or other portable device).

Since they hit the promotional sector a year or so ago Power Banks have taken the market by storm. Hardly surprising when you consider that they address a problem we all face all too frequently – our smart phones running our of battery life and all too often at a time when you’re waiting on an import call or you’re following a really interesting thread on Twitter or Facebook!

New Pearl Power Bank from USB2U

USB2U Promotional Power Banks

Put simply Power Banks are a portable, rechargeable battery that can breathe life back into a dead smart phone in minutes. As such they can be a lifesaver if you find yourself away from a conventional plug socket with a dead phone or other small portable electronic device.

Although many of them look different on the outside it’s really what’s inside that matters – fundamentally they are a stored power source so don’t buy cheap or they might just explode and don’t buy any with a power capacity of less than 2200mah otherwise you’ll find they’ll take ages to charge anything and won’t give a full charge. And please make sure any you buy are fully RoHS and CE compliant and supplied with a 2 year warranty – it also helps to buy them from a recognised and reputable supplier if you’re going to put your brand on them!

As a promotional product they are popular because they meet the criteria that lots of companies look for when buying items to give away with their brand on: they’re desirable, they have a high perceived value, they get repeat use, they’re reasonably priced and they look good printed!

USB2U not only sell a wide range of excellent Power Banks but unlike most suppliers they carry them in stock in the UK so if you get your order in early enough they can print them and get them to you the very next business day (although they are based in the UK they ship globally and can deliver the next day subject to UPS being able to support next day delivery to your address)

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Free Data Loading on Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 5th June 2015 | Permalink

It’s been over 12 years since we first started selling promotional USB memory sticks and the demand for them today is stronger than ever. Other technology based promotional gifts have come and gone during this time but USB sticks have stubbornly clung on.

The reason for their enduring appeal seems to be down to a few key factors; people like them, they’re relatively inexpensive (but have a high perceived value) and more fundamentally they keep giving more for less! By this we mean that today you’ll pay broadly the same for a 8GB USB stick, as you would have done for a 64MB USB stick a decade ago! That’s a huge increase in data storage capacity with no comparative increase cost – no other type of promotional gift (that we can think of) continually offers more in this way.

With branded (USB sticks printed with your logo) 8GB sticks costing less than £2 each (depending on volume and stick type) they really do represent fantastic value. Think about it – 8GB is the standard storage offered on the iPhone C and you can get this for less than £2.

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

Of course this amount of storage is crying out to be used so when customers buy their promotional flash drives from us we strongly advocate using the memory they are paying for is loaded with whatever promotional material they can digitise and make available. Why, we, it’s a great way to distribute information about your company, your products or your event at very little cost. Compared to the price of printing, transporting and distributing the collateral the benefits and savings are significant.

If you do plan to load data onto your USB memory sticks before you distribute them then you will need to get organised and have your data ready. If you don’t want to go through the pain of loading the data onto the USB sticks yourself then ask us to do it for you. We use our own in-house professional data loading and data duplication equipment to load the data onto your memory sticks and by allowing us to do it we can check the data is loaded correctly on each and every USB stick (The professional data loading kit does this using some clever “checksum” algorithms.

Any style, shape, design or memory size of flash drive can be pre-loaded with data and pretty much any format of data can be loaded. Popular examples of data files that are typically used include; PDF’s, PowerPoint Slides, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, Links to websites and media files.

If you buy your promotional USB memory sticks from us and you are interested in our offer of FREE data loading (T&C’s apply)then just mention this to your Account Manager and they’ll talk you through the options.

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Custom USB Memory Sticks – Hell Yeah!

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

At USB2U when asked if we can supply Custom USB memory sticks the answer is a clear, unequivocal and loud “Hell yeah” we do. Hopefully we say it with a little more success than Ed Miliband did when giving his response to Jeremy Paxman during the Pre-Election TV debate when asked by Paxman if he was tough enough for the job of prime minister.

The judgement on our ability to produce and supply Custom USB sticks is not the UK electorate (thankfully) but instead the customers that have trusted us with their orders for more than a decade.

To be clear custom drives or bespoke USB flash drives as they are also referred are promotional USB memory sticks drives that have been designed and manufactured in a shape requested by the customer. Typically the shape will reflect the type of products they sell or might be a simple representation of their brand or logo. Typical examples have included a USB Fork-Lift Truck, a USB ship, USB sticks in the shape of lips or USB Training Shoes for Nike. Literally anything is possible!

These types of sticks are truly “custom” in all senses of the word. One of our designers takes a brief from a customer, we then produce a series of 3-D drawings for comment/approval, our factory then produce a 3-D mock-up before we commit the design into production. The design and final mould used to manufacture the USB sticks is “owned” by the customer so no other company will be able to copy the final product.

Custom Flash Drives are definitely not standard “factory designed” flash drives that have simply been printed, engraved or “stickered” to make them look a little different. Whilst simple printed USB drives can look excellent they don’t deliver the same “wow” factor that you get with a truly custom version and because of this they don’t do as good a job in terms of brand development, brand recall or brand loyalty– something which for many businesses are the core reasons for buying and distributing flash drives.

Historically lots of customers may have been put off ordering bespoke versions because of fears about set-up costs and high unit costs but these are now a thing of the past. Likewise minimum order quantities have fallen from thousands to just a couple of hundred! The only thing to bear in mind is the longer lead-time – to design and manufacture them you’ll need to allow around 3-4 weeks rather than 3-4 days.

If you are looking for a supplying of Custom USB memory sticks then make sure you put USB2U on your list – we love working on these projects and have had huge success with them over the years.

Custom-USB-Shapes

Custom-USB-Shapes

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