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Advice For Buying Branded USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

Posted by USB2U on 20th December 2013 | Permalink

Our advice on buying branded USB memory sticks during Chinese New Year is simple – don’t do it. Not only should you avoid trying to buy them during Chinese New Year but if you can, you should also avoid buying them just before and just after these particular holidays.

Almost without exception all USB memory sticks are manufactured in China so when China closes for a national holiday all production stops. In 2014, Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) starts early – the actual day is 31st January but factories and offices will start to close from around the 21st January and many won’t re-open until the 10th February!

So, for nearly 3 weeks NO USB sticks will be manufactured. In the run-up to the holidays the factories come under intense pressure to push through all orders before they close and on their return things are equally as chaotic as they try and deal with a 3 week backlog. It’s not just the closure of the factories that cause problems – in the rush before the holidays the International Courier services out of China and Hong Kong (UPS, Fedex, DHL etc.) get swamped and it’s not unusual for shipments to get “bumped” off overloaded flights. In summary chaos ensues.

The other big impact this extended holiday has on USB sticks is to push up prices – it’s a classic “supply and demand” scenario with too many customers trying to buy limited stock. Price increases of 10% – 20% are not unusual and for certain styles the price increases can be even higher.

Perhaps the biggest issue for any business looking to buy promotional USB memory sticks in early 2014 is uncertainty – uncertainty on price, uncertainty on availability and uncertainty on whether any order will actually arrive when it’s needed!

At USB2U we’ve lived through Chinese New Year for the last 11 years and we still carry the scars but fortunately we’ve learnt some valuable lessons along the way. Now we plan ahead, we encourage customers to buy early where they can, we load up with UK stock, we embargo all staff holidays, we set up overtime rotas for our in-house design and print teams and we generally prepare ourselves for a huge spike in demand for our UK “rush service” (we know from past experience that other suppliers will over promise and underestimate the impact of the Spring Festival and we often end up picking up the pieces).

Our core advice remains the same this year as it has been in all previous years – order you USB sticks now – you’ll get better prices, you’ll get your sticks for when you need them and you’ll won’t have to worry or stress about whether they are going to turn up on time.

Buying USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

Buying USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

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Advice for Buying Branded USB Memory

Posted by USB2U on 31st July 2013 | Permalink

Branded UBS memory sticks are an excellent way to promote your business, to support the launch of a new product(s), to distribute important news and/or press releases and finally to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.

There are lots of promotional products on the market to choose from including popular products like pens, cups, bags etc. but they simply don’t offer the same level of perceived value and usefulness. Don’t just take our word for it because there are plenty of surveys available (including one from the highly regarded BPMA) that put USB sticks at the top of peoples most wanted list.

If you’ve decided promotional USB sticks are for you then there are some basic rules to follow when buying them:

  1. Take time to choose a USB stick that will work with your brand: There are hundreds, if not thousands of different styles of USB memory sticks to choose from. Most are manufactured from plastic but they are also available in metal, cardboard, wood and some are trimmed with leather.

    The most popular types tend to be “cap-less” with one particular model – “The Twister” dominating the market.

    Photographers tend to choose more “upmarket” wooden or leather drives whilst lots of conference organisers choose dual purpose products like USB writing pens and USB paper clips.

  2. Memory capacity: The general rule is to buy the largest capacity you can afford (unless you plan to simply hand them out like sweets at a show).

    If you want people to hang onto your USB sticks and continue to use them then you need to make sure there is enough memory on the sticks for their daily needs. Give them something useful – a good size to aim for is a 1GB or 2GB.

  3. Choosing the right logo to print (or engrave): If you have a complex design or logo that includes graduated colours and/or tints then you will limit the range of USB flash drive that will take this type of print. Most USB sticks only have a print area of around 2cm-3cm so unless you are willing to simplify your logo it’s not going to look great on a USB stick.If you must print a complicated logo then choose something like a USB credit card because these can take a full colour print to both sides of the card.
  4. Artwork formats:  The general rule of thumb is to supply the best (highest resolution) artwork you can lay your hands on. Ideally you need vectorised artwork in .EPS or .AI format.

    If you just “grab” a logo from your web site or PowerPoint slides the final print will look very patchy and blotchy.

  5. USB Sticks look better in a box:  By default promotional USB memory sticks are supplied “in bulk” – this normally means in simply poly bags or plain white boxes. These “protect” the sticks in transit but they don’ really add to the overall impact when you hand them out.

    There are now lots of different USB packaging options to choose from so just as you take time to think about your USB sticks take time to consider how you want them packaged. Engraved wooden boxes or printed high quality white gift boxes look fantastic and don’t add much to the overall price.

  6. Make sure you can get them delivered in time: It’s critical that you allow enough time for your USB sticks to be manufactured, printed and delivered – ideally build in a day or so contingency. The typical lead time for printed USB drives is 10 working days so use this as a general rule of thumb.

    USB2U have over 20 different models of USB sticks they hold in stock in the UK and can deliver in as little as 24hrs so start with these if you’re working to a tight deadline.

  7. Cheapest isn’t always the best: There are lots of fake and sub-standard USB drives around at the moment and unless you’re an expert it’s difficult to tell what you’re buying. Even companies that claim to offer Grade A chips are often passing off masked and re-cycled USB’s as Grade A. The usual rules apply – if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
  8. Get references: Lots of suppliers of USB memory sticks seem to pop-up overnight and many disappear just as quickly. Before you place any order ideally get references from other customers or check out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot. At USB2U we’ve been around for nearly 11 years and in this time we’ve supplied millions of USB sticks to tens of thousands of customers. We’re also rated as “Excellent” on Trustpilot where we consistently get 5* reviews. We’re also ranked No.1 in the Promotional Items Category in the UK.
Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

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Wooden USB Flash Drives should you Engrave or Print them

Posted by USB2U on 21st June 2013 | Permalink

Some of our most popular USB flash drives at the moment are our wooden versions. It’s not just professional and wedding photographers that are buying them either (although they do buy a significant number) but a growing number of large corporate companies that like the “eco-credentials” of the wooden and bamboo USB sticks we sell.

We have eight different wooden and bamboo styles to choose from and they typically come in dark and light wood options and of course they come in a wide range of memory sizes typically starting at 128MB and going all the way up to 32GB. The most popular models are our Woodland USB Flash Drive and our Wooden Twister USB Drive.

Wooden-USB-Twister-Printed

Wooden-USB-Twister-Printed

The Woodland version is rectangular, incredibly tactile and the cap is held in place with two small discrete magnets that are carefully recessed into the cap. The Twister version has no cap to lose, it’s a little smaller than the Woodland but it has equally strong eco-credentials and style.

The biggest decision facing anyone buy any of our wooden USB models is whether to get their logo printed onto the USB stick or engraved onto the USB stick – both options (as the images here illustrate) produce excellent results but they have their own benefits:

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Engraving onto a wooden product somehow just seems the right thing to do, it seems more sympathetic to the core product and because no ink is being applied to the product it maintains the integrity of any “eco” message that you want to push.  You also get a very tactile finish and robust finish that isn’t going to chip or fade.

The compromise though is that no colours are involved when they are laser engraved – the image is created by cutting away at the surface of the wood and because of this you will get some variation across the USB sticks – this is simply because you’re dealing with a natural material with different grain effects and slight variations in colour. Arguably this adds to the appeal albeit some “brand managers” are put off by the absolute lack of control you get with engraving on wood.

If you want the benefits of a wooden promotional USB stick but you need your logo reproduced in full colour then you’ll need to opt for the printed option – the results can look striking and they’ll keep the brand police happy. The only compromise is that the print will eventually chip off unlike an engraved logo which is there to stay!

Whichever option you choose we can typically supply these from UK stock in as little as 24hrs! Call us for latest availability and prices.

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USB Memory Stick Boxes that are Pretty as a Picture

Posted by USB2U on 5th March 2013 | Permalink

If you’re a professional photographer and you’re looking for a gift box to use to hand out your USB memory sticks in then you might just want to take a look at our new glossy white gift boxes. They are the best USB gift boxes we’ve seen for some time and because they’re white (and glossy) they really show off any image or logo that’s printed on them.

Take a look at some of the examples below and you’ll see what we mean. The boxes are a good size (14cm x 10cm and 2.75cm) so we can print high quality full colour images on the front (and back if needed) and we can print them in pretty small quantities as well. Whilst the minimum order is 25 we can print different images on the batches of 5 boxes within a small order of this size.

USB Gift Boxes

USB Gift Boxes

The benefit of this is that all of a sudden it means that not only can you use the boxes to advertise and promote your own business but you could use them (fully customised) for your customers. For example if you’re shooting a wedding and you’re presenting the final images on a USB memory stick then you could get one of the images printed onto the front of the gift box and really personalise the box (your own details could be printed discretely on the back of the box).

In a competitive market where you need to make your service stand out the ability to offer your client their finished portfolio pre-loaded onto a top quality printed or engraved USB memory stick and delivered in a gift box that has been personalised is going to give you a real advantage. Not only that but there will be plenty of margin for you in these gift boxes over and above the margin you make on the USB sticks and to paraphrase a certain leading supermarket “every little helps”!

White USB Gift Boxes

White USB Gift Boxes

We carry thousands of these gift boxes in stock in the UK and we can print and deliver them in as little as 24hrs if you need them quickly. You’ll pay a small premium for our 24hr service so if you can factor in a 5 day lead time you’ll save yourself any “rush fees”.

Every box is supplied with custom fit black foam inserts and the lids contain a discrete magnet to ensure it stays in place.

Interested? Give us a call or drop us an email – we mock them up free of charge!

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Boxing Clever with USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 31st January 2013 | Permalink

It’s the perennial question – to box or not to box. We’re talking promotional USB sticks of course and for many the answer is always going to be “no” simply because they don’t like the idea of paying for a box or tin that will typically end up discarded in the bin.

Equally many more say “no” because for them all forms of packaging are just “land fill” and they if this is their perspective then they refuse to add to it by buying boxes for their USB sticks. It’s the same for companies who are pushing a strong environmental message – for them the avoidance of any packaging is understandable.

However for many handing out a USB memory stick printed with their brand on without a gift box is akin to handing out gifts at Christmas or on birthdays without wrapping them first. It smacks of laziness, it cries “lack of thought” and it like penny pinching on something that is supposed to impress.

Printed TIns for USB Flash Drives

Printed TIns for USB Flash Drives

Between these extreme views plenty of people just aren’t that bothered but, if it’s your company’s logo that’s on the USB stick it is worth giving some thought to where you stand on boxes and whether the people you are giving them to would prefer a box or not. Perhaps more importantly you need to think about whether it will help build your brand and develop a greater level of loyalty and affinity to the brand.

It’s easy to dismiss the option of boxes but ask yourself why hugely successful companies like Apple, Sony, IWC and Samsung put some much effort into their packaging – they’re not doing it for fun, they’re doing it because it makes sound commercial sense.

If you buy printed or engraved boxes or tins when you buy your USB sticks the incremental cost is relatively small. So, even if you’re a small company you can “play with the big boys” and have your USB sticks supplied in fully customised boxes.

USB Gift Boxes

USB Gift Boxes

For some sectors and businesses (professional photographers are a good example) a branded box to hand out the customers USB sticks is pretty much a must.

Fortunately there are lots of gift boxes available for printed USB sticks some of which are made from recycled cardboard so there is an option to appease the environmental lobby whilst still boxing up your sticks.

Check out the complete range of packaging and gift box options on the USB2U website or just speak to our account manager for details.

Gift Boxes for USB Flash Drives

Gift Boxes for USB Flash Drives

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Lots of new Promotional USB Memory Sticks Launched for 2013

Posted by USB2U on 11th January 2013 | Permalink

We’ve started 2013 with a bit of a bang and so far we’ve added seven new USB flash drives to our portfolio and we’re not finished yet!

All but one of these new USB drives are held in stock in the UK and are ready for same day print, engraving and data-loading. The benefit of this is that our customers can get any of these new models within 24hrs of placing an order.

New USB Products for 2013 - Carbon and Engraved Slider

New USB Products for 2013 - Carbon and Engraved Slider

We recognise that more and more customers need their USB flash drives delivered quickly and by this they mean within a day or two rather than the typically quoted 6 – 10 days. It’s for this reason that we are now looking to add to the range of USB sticks we can offer on our popular “Rush Service”. You pay a very small “rush” fee for 24hr or 72hr delivery but in return we guarantee their delivery, their quality and by managing the job completely within the UK we de-risk the project entirely – there is no exposure to the vagaries of Customs control delays, volcanos and freight forwarder losses.

New USB Products for 2013 - Mini Flip Square and USB Button

New USB Products for 2013 - Mini Flip Square and USB Button

The latest additions are the; Data Bar, the engraved Carbon USB Stick, a range of coloured engraved USB Keys, a capless Engraved Slider, and several new shapes of mini flip USB cards the most notable of which is the USB Badge which is already proving popular with our customers. Some are only suitable for engraving but often this is often preferred because there is no compromise on the reproduction of the image with engraving and an engraved image is permanent (printed USB sticks will, over time degrade).

Judging from the interest shown in promotional USB flash drives already this year there has been no loss of appetite for these products over the Christmas and New Year period. So, despite all the doom and gloom that permeates the business news on what seems like a daily basis companies are still committing money to advertising, marketing and promotion and at least some of that budget is being spent on USB memory sticks.

New USB Products for 2013 - Data Bar and Engraved Key

New USB Products for 2013 - Data Bar and Engraved Key

If your business has a requirement for USB sticks this year then you might want to check out our growing range of products – all of them come with a 5 year warranty, they’re all High Quality “Grade A” products that have passed through a rigorous QA process before being despatched and we’ll pre-load your data files onto them free of charge (up to 200MB and excluding the Rush Service).

If you’re not sure which of our growing range of USB sticks would be best for your brand or logo then simply send us your artwork files and we’ll send you back completely free of charge a range of different visuals and mock-ups.

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Brand Building With Logo Printed USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 19th June 2012 | Permalink

Companies that operate in a crowded market have to pay more than lip service to developing their brand and raising awareness of the brand and what it represents. Branding is not just about coming up with a nice, snazzy logo that your designer thinks is “cool” instead it’s about building up a set of positive associations  between your customers (and potential customers). These associations can be at a company level, product level, they can reflect the service received (or given) and/or they can reflect the interaction with an individual or number of individuals within the company.

When any company embarks on a brand building strategy they are fundamentally looking to  develop a programme that encapsulates the strengths and values of their business, to make clear why they are different from their competitors and why customers buy (and repeat buy) from them. Companies with a great brand will have worked hard to create a special relationship with their customers and often it’s a relationship that evokes strong emotional reactions – get it right and customers become strong advocates and ambassadors for the brand and will help drive sales forward.

A logo is often confused with a brand but a brand is more to do with the sum of many parts of which the logo is just one component albeit it is often the element that is most widely seen and remembered.

Branded USB Flash Drives

Branded USB Flash Drives

As part of a brand building initiative lots of businesses are now using USB flash drives with their logo printed or engraved onto them. The drives are either handed out at corporate events (seminars, conferences, trade shows or press events) or given away to customers as part of a promotional campaign. In most cases the USB drives are pre-loaded with lots of useful information about the company, its products and how to engage with them (website addresses, Twitter and Facebook details etc.).

Branded USB flash drives are a relatively inexpensive way to give customers, prospective customers, journalists and other influencers something that has a high perceived value, something that has the potential for repeat usage (recipients will usually use them to store and carry their own data on) and something that will help to engender a positive feeling towards the company gives them away.

The logo that is engraved or printed on the USB flash drive serves as a constant reminder of the company that handed out the USB stick and providing you don’t forget to take care of the underlying base principals of what a good brand is all about them they will support any brand building campaign.

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Drive Your Sales With USB Keys

Posted by USB2U on 29th November 2011 | Permalink

Are your sales are faltering or just in need a bit of a boost? Have your got a new product or service that you’re about to launch or perhaps you’re looking for something to help draw potential customers to your stand at a show or event?

If any of the above apply to you then one of the best ways to increase the awareness of who you are, what you do or sell and hopefully drive your sales is to give your customers (and prospective customers) something for free. Ideally this “something” needs to be relevant, it needs to have a perceived high 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.

USB Pens

USB Pens

There are of course plenty of promotional products to consider including caps, mugs, pens, toys, chocolates, keyrings, umbrellas and T-shirts but the most popular promotional product of 2011 has been the USB flash memory drive – A survey carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) on behalf of its members earlier this year 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%).

USB flash drives not only look fantastic when printed or engraved with a logo but they can also be pre-loaded with sales and marketing material, dynamic links to web sites, media files, presentation files and so on.

USB Flash Drives

USB Flash Drives

USB flash drives are a little more expensive than some of the other available options and they won’t be the right choice for every product, trade show or PR event but continued re-use which in turn generates brand awareness, brand loyalty and which then hopefully creates a brand advocate is exactly what you want.

Combine this effect with the benefits of distributing large amounts of sales and marketing material without the usual print and transportation costs and you begin to understand why USB flash drives are so popular.

Equipping your sales force with branded flash drives 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 previous support.

There are loads of great looking USB flash drives to choose from these days and the lead time to get them is now a matter of days rather than weeks so, if you are looking give a “shot in the arm” to your sales before Christmas or you need help with a product launch then USB Flash Drive Keys might just be the answer.

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Still Sending Out Paper Brochures – Save A Fortune With USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 27th June 2011 | Permalink

Are you one of the thousands of companies that are still sending out glossy, thick, and expensive sales brochures in the post? It’s bad enough if you’re sending these out domestically but if you’re sending them internationally the costs can spiral rapidly.

Print and paper cost are much higher than they used to be and postage costs continue to escalate at levels way beyond inflation.

If you’re a regular buyer of paper for your brochures you might have been lucky enough to see relatively modest price increase of around 4-5% in the last year but without a contract you could have seen prices increase by as much as 20%!

Postage costs are not much better either – to send a relatively small brochures to most major European countries will cost around £3-£4 in postage fees alone and you’ve got to add to this the cost of a large, decent quality padded envelope as well!

On this basis a printing and mailing a moderate sized brochure to customers in the UK could easily cost an average of £4-£5 and brochures sent into Europe could cost as much as £10 each. That’s an awful lot of money for something that “might” get used or might just end up in the bin within a couple of minutes of being opened.

A much cheaper option and an option that is likely to get your brand much higher levels of exposure is to use a branded USB flash drive printed with your company logo and contact details and pre-loaded with an “electronic” version of your brochure.

Twister USB Flash Drives

Twister USB Flash Drives

Branded USB flash drives (even with your data pre-loaded) cost as little as £2-£3 each and because they are much small and lighter than a paper brochure the cost to post them out is a fraction of their paper equivalent.

The real beauty of using flash drives to distribute your brochure is that you can include so much more information without any increase in the cost. For example you couple pre-load onto your USB flash drives price lists, technical drawings, press releases, video clips and presentation files.

The recipient of the branded flash drive can either transfer the electronic brochure onto their work PC or they can keep it on the flash drive. Either way they’re likely to keep the flash drive and use it to store and carry their own data on – in this way your brand gets on-going exposure.

If you’re interested in getting a quote for USB flash drives printed with your logo and pre-loaded with your brochure then give us a call on 0800 008 7079 or fill in the on-line quote form on our web site.

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Be Bold, Be Strong, Make An Impact

Posted by USB2U on 24th June 2011 | Permalink

What’s the driving factor for most companies when they buy promotional or branded USB memory sticks?

Are they simply buying them as an easy way to distribute information and to save themselves the cost of printing, transporting and storing sales and marketing collateral or are they looking to drive customer engagement and hopefully sales.

Is the purchase of USB memory sticks driven by the need to give a gift or “thank you” to attendees at a conference or seminar or are they being purchased to engage with journalists and the media at a press event or product launch?

Whatever the reason for buying them it’s important that companies understand that branded memory sticks are a great way to develop and extend their brand. If you give USB sticks away with a reasonable amount of storage space on them then, they will almost always get used by the recipient to store and carry their own data around with them.

Companies buying USB sticks need to tap into this on-going use and ensure any brand or logo they print onto the USB drives is bold, strong and makes an impact – this is their opportunity to develop and push their brand, not just once but, every time the USB stick is used or handed around.

Excellent Example Of Colour Matched USB Flash Drives

Excellent Example Of Colour Matched USB Flash Drives

There are lots of examples of branded USB sticks around where they’ve been purchased for the right reasons but the execution is poor because:

  • Standard black USB sticks with a black print has been chosen because they’re the easy option and a single colour print is cheaper but it’s a missed opportunity – if a companies brand colours are red and white then don’t buy black USB sticks and print them with a black logo/text.
  • Too much information is printed and it looks “squished” and difficult to read – it makes far more sense when you’ve only got a limited amount of space to work to stick to a simple but strong message.
  • Opportunities to take advantage of colour matching the body of the flash drive are missed – standard factory colours are “OK” for companies in a hurry but many suppliers of USB sticks will pantone match the colour of the flash drives – this takes a little longer but the end results are much better.

The best advice for companies when buying branded or promotional USB flash drives is to ensure they allow time to get the right USB sticks in the right colour and with a logo printed on them that reflects their company. Compromise, unless you really do not have the time, should not be an option!

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