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Custom USB Challenge

Posted by USB2U on 28th August 2013 | Permalink

If there’ one thing we like doing more than anything else it’s working with our customers to deliver innovative, fun and exciting custom USB memory sticks that get people talking. Whilst we supply hundreds of thousands of promotional USB memory sticks every year to tens of thousands of companies it’s the custom requests that really get us excited. Why? Well, whilst “regular” promotional USB memory sticks are great and whilst they still account for well over 95% of all of the USB sticks we sell it’s the custom ones that we remember.

So, if you follow that logic through then if we remember them then you can be pretty sure that anyone that’s given one is going to remember it. Whether it’s a USB dinosaur, a set of USB lips, a USB duck or a USB Nike trainer they all create an impact, a buzz and typically a flurry of activity of social network sites and picture sites like Pinterest! It’s well known fact that people like to be given USB sticks (see the research from the BPMA) but they “love” to be given a well thought out and fun custom USB stick.

So, if your company is thinking about using promotional USB sticks as part of an overall advertising and marketing strategy then you might want to explore the options to commission your own fully bespoke USB sticks. Surprisingly they are not as expensive as you might think (prices are typically only a little more than “standard” sticks) and these days there are no set-up or tooling costs to worry about and the minimum order quantities are only a couple of hundred!

What you do need to factor in though is time! Mot good things are worth waiting for and it’s the same with any bespoke item be it a suit, a dress, a piece of furniture. It’s the same with USB’s – a standard model can be printed and delivered in as little as 24hrs but for a custom model made to your design then realistically you need to allow 4-6 weeks. It’s possible to rush things though in closer to 4 weeks but only if you have your design ready and you’re geared up to sign off photographic and physical samples/proofs at the drop of a hat.

So don’t be put off commissioning custom USB sticks because of cost – the very small incremental cost is more than offset by the impact and buzz they’ll make. But, do allow time to get them designed, the moulds built and the samples approved.

Hopefully the images shown here and on our own Pinterest pages will illustrate the art of what’s possible and encourage you to take up the Custom USB challenge.

Custom USB Sticks from USB2U

Custom USB Sticks from USB2U

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More stunning Custom USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 28th May 2013 | Permalink

We’ve seen a bit of a run on orders for fully customised USB memory sticks over the past few weeks and as ever the end results look stunning. These latest examples illustrate the breadth of what’s possible and the quality of the finished product.

Metal-Custom-USB-Sticks

Metal-Custom-USB-Sticks

What’s interesting about these models is that they show you what can be achieved with PVC (the standard material used for custom USB memory sticks) and metal (as shown here with the F1 cars and Planes) – both materials make an impact but in subtly different ways:

  • Custom Metal USB Memory Sticks tend to rely on the shape of the product to get their message across, they’re often engraved but more than anything they’re heavy! If say you’ve ordered X500 of these then you’ll know it when they arrive because the box they come in will take some lifting!

    The upside of this is they make a real “physical impact” when they’re handed out and there is no denying the look of quality they exude. The downside is the weight – they’re not the sort of thing people are going to pop on the end of a keyring or carry around every day in their pocket. Think more “paperweight” than the small, light USB sticks you pick up in your local PC store.

  • Custom PVC USB Memory Sticks are easier to mould, easier to produce, they are typically manufactured in full colour and intricate detail is not a problem. The end results are visually stunning and are they rarely fail to impress. Of course some products lend themselves to being turned into a custom USB sticks more than others but anything is possible.

    Compared to the metal versions PVC models are light and a loop can be factored into the design/mould if you want your customers to be able to attach them to a keyring or lanyard.

Custom-USB-PVC

Custom-USB-PVC

Whichever custom option is chosen (metal or PVC) there is no doubt that they generally make a much bigger impact when handed out than standard “printed” USB sticks and they have a tendency to go viral with people posting photos of them on websites like  Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram! So, if you want to give your advertising or marketing campaign a bit of a kick then you might want to consider commissioning your own Custom Drives – remember at the end of the process you’ll own the design and mould so the finished drives will be unique to you!

Order Custom Flash drives from USB2U during May or June and we’ll waive the normal tooling and set up fees and we’ll drop the minimum order quantity to 200 pieces!

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Custom USB Memory Sticks – Anything Goes

Posted by USB2U on 17th May 2013 | Permalink

If you’re think of buying a few hundred or even a few thousand USB memory sticks for your company, school or university then you’re probably thinking about simply getting some standard promotional USB sticks printed or engraved with your logo on. After all, isn’t this most people do?

Well, if you’d have asked us that question a couple of years ago then the answer would have been a definitive yes but just lately there has been an upsurge of interest in fully customised USB drives – to be clear, these are not “customised” with a logo but instead they are bespoke USB’s that are designed and manufactured in a shape that is unique to the customer that is buying them.

Custom USB Sticks - Tube

Custom USB Sticks - Tube

Most customers choose a specific product that they want their USB sticks to look like and typically the product in question clearly represents their brand or values. Some good examples are USB tyres for a tyre company, a custom USB removal van for a removal company, a custom USB toilet for a European company that rents out portable toilets! Anything is possible it’s just down to your imagination and if you’re struggling for ideas then throw the challenge at us and we’ll see what we can come up with. We’ll happily work up (at no cost) some free concepts and ideas for you albeit you might have to give us a day or two if our design team is busy and they invariably are.

All of the bespoke products we have designed and manufactured look amazing and they never fail to get rave reviews and brilliant customer feedback. What’s more they often generate Social Network “chatter” which in turn drives the profile of the product or company that has commissioned them! These are things you rarely get with a standard USB stick – yes people like them and yes they appreciate being given them but they simply don’t generate the same amount of buzz that you get from a unique and often “tongue in cheek” USB stick.

Custom USB Sticks - Lips

Custom USB Sticks - Lips

One of the reasons that more people are buying custom models is because the costs have been falling – tooling costs are now significantly less than they used to be (at the moment at USB2U we are waiving all set-up and tooling fees), minimum order quantities have fallen to 250 pieces and prices for each custom USB stick (1GB) are now around £4 per unit depending on how many you order – not a huge amount more than a simple printed USB stick but you get something that is unique to you and something that is really going to sell your brand and your products or services.

If you’re interested in getting your own bespoke sticks then simply give us a call on our FreePhone number or drop us an email. We post lots of images of our custom sticks on our USB2U Pinterest page – take a look.

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Taking a bite out of the Custom USB Memory Stick Market

Posted by USB2U on 22nd April 2013 | Permalink

Custom USB memory sticks are challenging the dominance of the standard range of promotional USB flash drives that have been the mainstay of the market for the last 10 years.

Whether it’s a case of overexposure, boredom or companies just wanting something that stands out from the crowd all of a sudden we are seeing a surge of interest in custom USB sticks. Falling prices for custom USB moulds, reduced leads times and falling minimum order quantities have all given bespoke option a real shot in the arm.

The current lead time for a custom model is around 4 weeks (it can be shortened a little if physical samples aren’t needed before the final production goes ahead – in this case photos from the factory will need to be signed off), the minimum order quantity is now 250 pcs rather than 500 and prices are often only marginally higher than comparable “standard” drives that use “factory USB shells”, e.g. the Twister, Chic or Trident.

Any 3-D shape can be created.  Don’t worry if you don’t have the design team or skills in house to come up with the concepts because a reputable local supplier should be able to do this for you as part of the “value” they add to handling your order. You will not be expected to develop CAD drawings or detailed specs – your USB supplier will (or should) do this!

Custom USB Memory Stcks

Custom USB Memory Stcks

Typically the drives will be manufactured from a slight soft and pliable PVC material rather than a hard plastic – this is just easier to work with and allows lots of detail to be produced on the finished product without fear of it snapping off. Other options such as metal or wood are an option but the lead times tend to be longer and they cost more so there is less demand for them.

The finished products always looks fantastic, without fail they generate rave reviews and they always seems to get people taking to sites like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to post pictures of the USB sticks they’ve been given – all of this is a marketing managers dream and is rarely a reaction that is achieved today with “standard” USB drives.

So, next time you’re in the market for some promotional USB’s then you should explore the options to get your own custom versions designed and manufactured – they’ll be unique to you and they’ll give your brand building strategy a real shot in the arm!

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Custom USB Memory Sticks – 5 Reasons to Commission Them

Posted by USB2U on 14th January 2013 | Permalink

When customers talk about custom USB memory sticks many simply mean they want a standard USB design customised with their logo or design rather than wanting a fully bespoke USB stick that is designed, fabricated and printed (or engraved) in shape that is unique to them.

Printed or engraved USB sticks are relatively easy to produce and supply and can often be turned around in a matter of hours. Fully customised USB’s on the other hand typically take around 4-6 weeks to supply and they do cost a little more than a simple printed stick but despite this they are definitely worth considering and here’s why:

  1. They can be made to look like anything – Custom USB Memory Sticks can be designed and manufactured to look pretty much like anything (see the images below). They don’t have to be made of plastic either with popular options being Metal or a softer PVC. The ends results are stunning and without fail they always generate extremely positive feedback.
  2. They generate create a real “wow” factor – people do like to be given USB memory sticks but give them a fully customised stick and you’ll really grab their attention. Because they’re different and “cute” and often done with some degree of humour they just get people talking and in many cases they’ll take to Social Networking sites to talk about the USB drive – get it right and the whole thing can go viral and generate lots of positive PR.
  3. They’re not that much more expensive – don’t be put off by worries about a large one-off set up, mould and tooling costs. In today’s ultra-competitive market these are a thing of the past! OK, you might pay £30 for the design and a small premium for the sticks but typically the difference is only pennies and this small incremental cost is more than offset by the impact they make.
  4. They are exclusive to you – if you do decide to commission a bespoke USB flash drive then the end product will be exclusive to you. You’ll effectively “own” the design and no other company will have access to it. Handy if you operate in a highly competitive market and you need to differentiate your service or product.
  5. You specify the memory size and you can pre-load the memory with whatever files or documents might be relevant to your customers.

Clearly they won’t be for everyone and the majority of customers will continue to buy printed or engraved standard models but with falling prices and improved lead times Custom USB Memory Sticks are going to gain in popularity.

Custom USB Collection

Custom USB Collection

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Custom USB Memory Sticks – Can You Spot The Difference?

Posted by USB2U on 27th November 2012 | Permalink

Custom USB Memory sticks are an incredibly cost effective way to drive awareness of a new product, launch a new brand or design or just get people talking about what you’re doing. Whilst standard USB sticks printed with a logo look great and they certainly do a job they simply don’t have the “wow” factor that a good custom USB stick can deliver.

It’s partly because custom models demonstrate that significantly more effort and thought has gone into their production and partly because they are novel, cute and interesting. When handed out they rarely fail to generate a really positive response with recipients often taking to Social Networking sites to post photos of their new acquisition.

It’s this secondary exposure of the product that really helps to justify the marginally increased cost of a custom USB stick – standard printed versions are appreciated but rarely boasted about and rarely posted about and as such the brand exposure us is one dimensional. By comparison fully bespoke, customised versions that catch the imagination deliver multi-level exposure because.

For evidence that they work just look at these two real versions of a Custom USB tube; the first version (the orange one) was so well received that the company who commissioned it ordered a slightly different version (black and orange) to promote the launch of a new high performance lubricant and sealant – can you spot the difference!

Custom USB Sticks - Orange Tube

Custom USB Sticks - Orange Tube

Get the original design right (as in the case of these tubes) and you can reduce the on-cost of repeat orders because you own the design and mould used to create the sticks. Changing the colour or adding small additional details on subsequent orders is relatively easy and inexpensive.

The myth of these bespoke flash drives is that they are incredibly expensive and take months to produce but the reality is very different. Yes, they do cost a little more than their standard equivalents but only around 20% more and all the upfront tooling costs that used to put customers off have now been reduced to zero! Typical lead times are around 4 weeks for the first order (to allow for tooling and approvals) but repeat order time scales are as little as 2 weeks.

Custom USB Sticks - Black and Orange

Custom USB Sticks - Black and Orange

The small additional effort to organise them and the marginal increase in cost is certainly worth the effort.

USB2U have an in-house design service that can help in turning ideas and concepts into reality so don’t fret too much if all you have a rough design or concept – just talk to your USB2U account manager and they will guide you through the process.

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USB Pen – No License Required

Posted by USB2U on 29th October 2012 | Permalink

If you were listening to Chris Evans last week on Radio 2 you’d have heard him bemoaning the fact that some schools issue a Pen Licence to students when they are deemed capable of moving up from using a pencil to a biro or fountain pen.

The thrust of his argument seemed to be that there is enough mollycoddling of kids these days and they should be allowed to use pens whenever they felt like it. But, from a teachers perspective these licenses are a useful way to help motivate children to focus on how they write correctly before being allowed to use ink. There will always be those that are anti these sort of initiatives because it might put undue pressure on “little Johnny” and lead to bullying if he takes a little longer than his peer group to achieve his pen license but typically these are the same parents that object to competitive sports in school – sorry, but in life there are winners and losers and this is a lesson best early.

Pen Licence

Pen Licence

The vast majority of children who have attended schools where Pen Licenses were used are more likely to have fond memories of being awarded their Pen License and will have taken great pride in the achievement of finally being able to unleash ink onto the pages of their schoolbooks.

Whatever your thoughts are on the use of Pen Licenses by schools there is one type of “pen” which requires no license to use and that’s a USB pen! This does assume that the “USB pen” is just a USB memory stick (also referred to by many as a USB pen) and not a USB pen that also doubles as a writing pen – confused?

Well, there are some USB pens on the market that are primarily writing pens (biro’s rollerballs and fountain pens) but hidden in the “belly” of the pen is a USB memory stick (typically accessed by twisting the barrel of the pen) – these hybrid USB pens are rarely used by young school children of pre-Pen License aged because they are a little more expensive than a standard USB sticks and typically you can’t buy them in shops but instead have to order them from USB specialists and even then there are minimum order quantities of 25 pcs.

USB Pens

USB Pens

USB pens (writing pen hybrids) are more popular with businesses, consultants and seminar organisers who are looking for a promotional product that can carry their brand and onto which they can also pre-load their sales collateral or their speaker notes/slides.

These examples were supplied by USB2U who are one of the leading suppliers of promotional and custom USB memory sticks in the UK.

 

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Professional Photographers – Custom USB Sticks are Not Expensive

Posted by USB2U on 15th October 2012 | Permalink

I was incredibly fortunate this weekend to be invited to the wedding of a family friend and despite the weather the day and evening was a triumph. The bride and groom looked fantastic, there were tears during the ceremony and throughout the speeches and after some great food (and not a little wine) everyone partied until late.

During the evening I got talking to the wedding photographer and asked if he had joined the ranks of other photographers that were now using custom USB memory sticks as an optional way to deliver his finished work on. His response was interesting because he immediately dismissed them as being “too expensive” and consequently not something that he was really interested in.

Now clearly we are a little biased about the benefits of a really good printed or engraved USB memory stick but his immediate dismissal of them was a surprise not least because we know from the sales enquiries that we get every day from professional and wedding photographers that many in the profession don’t share his views. In fact, what was once a trickle of enquiries has, of late, turned into a steady flow and the enquiry levels grow week on week.

For many the benefits and opportunities are clear:

  • Good quality USB sticks printed or engraved with the logo or design of a photographer help to differentiate the service that they offer.
  • Just like a good website, a good portfolio of work and great references customers they project an image of professionalism and quality.
  • Unlike CD’s and DVD’s which can look a bit “tacky” wooden and metal USB sticks supplied in a complimentary gift box have a real “wow” factor about them.
  • They offer an additional earning opportunity – whilst people might baulk at paying a premium for a CD or DVD upselling them a really good looking USB stick is relatively easy (we see this in lots of other sectors as well where people happily pay for their personal data or images stored on a USB stick, e.g. the data from motor racing track day experiences and  4-D images from baby scans)
  • They’re a great way for the bride and groom to supply copies of their wedding photographs to their friends and family or even to use as wedding favours.

Good quality high performance USB sticks in a gift box can start at around £4-£5 each which given the huge benefits and additional earning potential they offer is not expensive. Clearly, if you just compare the price to the price of a cheap CD or DVD they seem expensive but that ignores the overall value they offer.

I remain hopeful that the next wedding I attend the photographer will be using USB memory sticks and hopefully USB sticks sourced from USB2U.

Custom USB sticks for Wedding Photographers

Custom USB sticks for Wedding Photographers

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Custom USB Memory Sticks – What are the benefits?

Posted by USB2U on 10th October 2012 | Permalink

Standard printed and engraved USB Memory sticks are incredibly popular at the moment with more and more companies recognising the benefits they deliver. The downside of this is that as more companies use promotional USB sticks to promote their products or to support their below the line marketing activities it is becoming more challenging to make an impact.

The “wow” factor of being given a USB sticks that was prevalent just a few years ago is in danger of being replaced with a “so what” response. It’s not because the inherent benefits of the drives are any different today than a few years ago it’s just than when you’ve already been given 4 or 5 USB sticks being given another one is just not exciting or interesting anymore. They might perform a function (and perform it well) but the excitement that was associated with being given one for free has certainly dissipated over the years – is it a case of familiarity breeds contempt with USB sticks?

In an increasingly crowded market one of the ways of making your USB sticks stand out is get them produced in a shape or design that is unique to your business or even manufactured in the shape of a product you sell. Custom USB sticks are easier to order than you might think and done well they can generate a significant amount of interest and chatter.

A few years ago you would have had to order custom USB sticks in the thousands to get the unit cost down to a sensible level but today with advances in design, tooling and production (as well as greater competition) price have tumbled as have the minimum order thresholds. They are still going to be a little more expensive than any standard “factory” designed stick but the impact they still deliver the “wow” factor that was common with any free memory stick a few years ago.

If you do decided to order some custom USB memory sticks then bear in mind that the lead time for them will be a little longer than for standard USB sticks. The extra time is to allow for 3-D CAD drawings and physical samples to be produced and approved before the finals production begins. So, plan ahead, allow a couple of extra weeks- it will be time well spent because the end results can be spectacular.

In terms of design or shape pretty much anything is possible as you can see from the examples below. You’re also not limited to plastic because they can be produced in metal, bamboo or wood – it all depends on the effect you’re trying to achieve.

The best advice is to find a supplier that has a proven track record of producing Custom USB sticks and a supplier with local, in-house design capabilities that can work with you on developing your ideas into the final concept.

Custom USB Memory Sticks

Custom USB Memory Sticks

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Have You Got an Eye for Design Then Build Your Own Unique USB Flash Drive

Posted by USB2U on 20th August 2012 | Permalink

USB flash drives remain one of the most popular ways to store and transport data files. They are used across all age groups and demographics and are increasingly used by companies as a way to drive sales, build loyalty and disseminate information about new products and services.

There are literally hundreds of different styles and shapes of USB drives to choose from but most of them tend to be variations around a common core them – a rectangular piece of plastic, metal or wood that is roughly 6cm x 2cm. Of course this broadly common shape helps to drive ease of use and comfort – people know what they are buying and immediately know how to use it.

The downside with this level of familiarity in a product is that it designers and manufactures tend to stay in the market “comfort zone” so we all end up with USB sticks that look pretty much the same. In a world where plenty of people want to stand out from the crowd and actually want something different, something that reflects their personality maybe the answer is to design and build something themselves.

This is not as crazy as it might first sound because the core component of every USB stick is the same – it’s a PCB (printed circuit board) attached to a USB connector and embedded onto the PCB is the flash memory and a controller chip. In essence this is the USB flash drive but to make it strong enough for daily use a shell encases these components and making a unique shell is not that difficult. You just need some basic design flair, some imagination and some basic assembly skills and access to a laser cutter, some strong glue and other basic craft tools might help as well!

Build Your Own USB Flash Drives

Build Your Own USB Flash Drives

Lots of schools DT departments are now buying USB components and challenging their students to design and build USB flash drives as part of their GCSE course work. Companies are also commissioning custom USB flash drives often in the shape of a product or logo – these custom USB sticks are essentially “self-design and build” projects where the mould manufacture and assembly is outsourced. The companies who commission these custom USB sticks end up with something that is truly unique and something that typically stimulates lots more interest and feedback than a standard USB stick that is simply printed or engraved with a logo.

USB2U supply design & build kits if you fancy having a go yourself. Alternatively just ask them supply the fully assembled sticks – you just need to supply the idea and design!

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