Posted by USB2U on 6th October 2011 | Permalink
With a constant need to keep up with competitors, reacting to the ever changing digital world, patterns and trends in industries and the rise and fall of the economy, it’s important to keep one step ahead, and get your businesses’ messages out there efficiently and effectively.
The Rise Of The Promotional USB Stick
Demand for “old fashioned” CD’s has reduced dramatically over the years, and an increase in printing costs for traditional sales brochures has encouraged companies to look at alternative options to distribute information on their products, prices and services. By nature, consumers are also a lot more visual, and react well to videos and animations that is something that traditional printed materials of course, can’t offer.
Customised USB sticks are increasingly the solution companies opt for because:
1. Printed and customised USB memory sticks are now available for less than £2 per unit (subject to minimum quantities and type)
2. You get on-going brand exposure with USB sticks because they tend to be used by the recipient to store and carry their own personal data (after all this is what they are designed for!)
3. Postage costs to send out a DM campaign with USB sticks are significantly cheaper than sending out expensive and heavy glossy brochures.
4. The cost of printing on a USB is generally less expensive that the cost of printing brochures.
5. It’s far easier to take a few hundred or even thousand USB sticks to a trade show than it is to transport the equivalent number of heavy brochures or leaflets
6. Lots of brochures handed out at trade shows and exhibitions end up in the bins outside the exhibition halls – USB sticks don’t as they’re small enough to be carried around!
7. Pre-loading your sales catalogues, price lists, press releases, media files etc. onto any USB stick you hand out is a must – After all you’re paying for the storage space on the sticks so you might as well use it.
USB Pre-loaded Data Is A Vital Commodity
Pre-loading data onto a memory stick purchased for your company makes good commercial sense. The savings made by pre-loading data onto USB sticks rather than printing the equivalent documents can fully offset the cost of the sticks. Plus, as mentioned, with the right memory available, short videos and animation can be loaded- something that consumers react well to.
The process of data loading is sometimes called duplication, pre-loading, copying or replication. It is relatively easy to do but it can be time consuming and you need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get the data organised. Ideally a USB stick supplier would do the data-load for you – most will offer a free data load up to a certain amount, typically 100MB.
Locking Data Onto USB Sticks
If you prefer you can “lock” the data that you pre-load onto the USB flash drive. This means that it cannot be deleted, bear in mind if you want to do this you would generally have to have your data ready early as it has to be loaded and “locked” during the manufacturing process. You also need to consider that if you load too much data onto the stick and therefore not leaving enough room for the user then they are highly unlikely to use it and your brand won’t get the on-going use and exposure you have paid for.
At USB2U we have in-house professional data-duplication equipment that enables us to pre-load data on behalf of our clients. For more information about pre-loading data onto memory sticks, feel free to email us at [email protected]
Posted by USB2U on 16th September 2011 | Permalink
The Microsoft BUILD conference is in process this week and Microsoft have already released the first set of information on Windows 8. Surprisingly for Microsoft the reviews have so far been quite positive, although it is not completely finished so we will have to wait until it’s release expected around mid to late 2012. Amongst many drastic changes that Microsoft have planned for the new operating system is the decision to support USB 3.0 from the launch of Windows 8.
Microsoft have normally been quite sluggish in adopting new technologies but they have announced that Windows 8 will carry a built in software stack to natively support USB 3.0. This is much more meaningful when you understand that in the early days of USB each new drive would come with its own driver that would have to be installed onto every computer that it was used with until Microsoft developed the native driver which put an end to the hassle.
Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0
This announcement complicates the battle between thunderbolt and USB 3.0 but does add a little more ‘umph’ behind USB 3.0. However, at the Intel Developer Forum on Wednesday Asus and Acer, two big names in PC hardware, promised systems supporting Thunderbolt as soon as early 2012. That again equals the score in the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt battle.
Despite the movement of hardware companies to support either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt the state of affairs is still very much a chicken and egg situation. No matter the choice of computer connectivity that is chosen by computer manufacturers if external devices and accessories are not made for that connectivity type then the port on the computer is made redundant. However, external device and accessory manufacturers are not going to make products with a specific computer connection if the computers do not support it.
It’s for that reason that Microsoft’s announcement to support USB 3.0 and Acer and Asus stating that they will support Thunderbolt is very important. Apple’s decision to fit all new computers with Thunderbolt and no USB 3.0 is a very brave but possibly rewarding move. It also has to be wondered what connectivity will come as standard with the new iPhone and iPad? Will Apple try to force Thunderbolt upon users by making the new devices only Thunderbolt compatible, will they make it with dual compatibility or will they not risk their telephone and tablet market dominance over a connectivity battle?
Whatever the outcome, we are keeping a close eye on it to understand the connectivity of the branded memory sticks of the future will be.
Posted by USB2U on 14th September 2011 | Permalink
The holiday season is coming to a close and most of the USB2U employees have used their days of holiday to take a relaxing trip and to go abroad. Employees have gone to Greece, Sicily, France etc. The most recently returned employee came back from a self-catering camping holiday in France. Being a self-catering holiday it meant that they were heavily dependant on local shops, supermarkets and restaurants for food and amenities, which lead to some problems.
Staying in a fairly remote area on the southwest border of France meant that shops closed at lunchtime for around two hours – weirdly even some bakeries and sandwich shops, which in England would benefit most at lunchtime. Most supermarkets also closed at eight o’clock every day and would almost throw you out of the shop at closing time. The most surprising thing about the experience in France was the lack of customer service in most shops.
French USB Twister Flash Drive
Shop opening times always seemed so uncertain and never seemed convenient or made much sense, whether shops were open or not depended on the weather, when wrong change was given in shops you were made to feel like it was your fault for not giving the right amount and custom was even denied at one point because the shop wanted to do a stock take. We are aware that this is one experience of the customer service in France and does not apply to every shop or business and cultural differences could have played a big part in the how things were perceived. However, this experience got us thinking about our customer service.
At USB2U we aim to make ordering your branded USB flash drives as easy, consistent and helpful as possible. We assign an experienced and dedicated account manager to every new enquiry to help you choose the best custom USB memory sticks for the purpose. We are consistently available to contact via telephone between normal working hours of 9 and 5, and we can be emailed or contacted through our website any time of the day and we will respond as soon as we can during work hours. We offer free mock-ups and samples meaning that customers can see their virtual logo USB flash drive and feel the quality of our products in their hands before they place an order.
We deliver all of these services so that ordering custom USB memory sticks from USB2U will not be anywhere near the experience of our employee in France.
Posted by USB2U on 31st August 2011 | Permalink
At USB2U we are proud of our vast product range providing lots of choice and customisation for the best branded USB memory sticks in the market. That’s why we are introducing four new products to the products range. They are the Mini Twister, the Retractor, the Pebble and the Charm; all of these models bring colour and individuality to the product range.
To ensure that our range does not grow too big and complicate customers we have discontinued four of the least popular branded USB flash drive models to make way for the fresh new designs. We have included a small description of each of the memory stick’s personalities to get to know them a little better and how they can better fit your promotional USB needs.
New USB Models
The Metal Mini-Twister is just that, a smaller version of the Twister model. At only 33mm long and 16mm wide this new USB flash drive is certainly neat and compact but still comes in memory sizes from 1GB all the way up to a huge 32GB. The drive is capless and twists to reveal the USB connector with a snap function holding the drive open or closed. The Mini Twister is available in three metallic colours of Gold, Silver and Gunmetal and allows for engraving or printing.
The Retractor USB memory stick is small but vibrant and has a clear printing space for its size. The shell of the Retractor USB memory stick encases the USB connecter that pushes out with a slider on the back of the flash drive. The USB connecter locks in to protect itself and locks out to give a solid entry into a USB port. The Retractor USB memory stick is made from aluminium and comes in a range of colours; purple, black, blue, red and green.
Whilst being one of the smallest USB flash drives on the market, the Charm can house the same levels of memory as our other USB memory sticks – up to 16GB. The charm is compact, cute and stylish and can carry your logo / artwork on both sides, either printed or engraved. It is also available in three different metal finishes; gold, silver and gun metal grey. The Charm USB memory stick is ideal for attaching to mobile phones, MP3 players, lanyards and other devices.
Key Classic 3
If you’re looking for something a little different, a little bit classy, something that will fit easily onto a keyring and is incredibly portable and easy to use then the Classic USB Key could be just what you’re looking for. These USB keys are manufactured from polished stainless steel, available in three colours; silver, gold and gun metal they can also be engraved with your logo and fine levels of detail in the engraving can be achieved. Robust, good looking and available in memory sizes from 512MB to 16GB we think these USB keys will be a real winner.
Posted by USB2U on 30th August 2011 | Permalink
As August comes to a close many educational students will be facing the reality of having to return to school and University for another year of learning. For those students starting a new school settling in will be quite easy and hassle free but for those starting new schools it may take a bit more time, and more help for them to settle in and make the most of their experience. Students starting University will probably find it the biggest change in lifestyle as they move out of home and have their first taster of the big wide world.
Although some students clearly embrace going to University with open arms it can be a daunting prospect for a lot of students because it is no longer a place that you attend for 5 to 6 hours a day, it’s a whole lifestyle change. Students will rely on the University and the surrounding area for pass-times, entertainment and fun. When students move to large University in an unknown city it can be very hard to know what there is to do in the area and what the University offers.
It can also be hard for the University to advertise to the substantial amount of students that join each year the different programmes, activities, sports, clubs, sororities etc. that are available for the students to get involved in. Compared to schools, Universities have substantially more students enrol each year but have less personal contact with the students making introductions, briefings and communicating information much harder. If you work for a University, or even a large organisation and have this problem we have just the solution for you.
We supply many promotional USB flash drives to Universities and educational institutes who use them internally, for open days to attract more students and a number of other ways however, one use of custom USB memory sticks could solve the institutions communication problems.
A University branded USB flash drive loaded with important websites, interactive applications, campus maps, informative documents, introductory videos and any other important information given to every new student would ensure that they had all of the information that they needed to hit the ground running and make the most of their University experience. Not only would the University ensure that each student had the important information that they needed to start the new year, it could be personalised for each school or college within the University and possibly each course. With password protection the information could be referred back to later on in the year once the student has settled in and sobered up to refresh their minds.
Along with great services, a solid track record and innovative ideas, we also have a great selection of logo USB flash drives which can be customised to suit each University and occasion. If the University logo and branding is important then the any of the memory sticks from our classic range would be suitable. If the size and portability of the flash drive is important then we have a range of small and easily transported USB sticks. If you just want to make sure that students use it throughout their time at University then we’re sure that a USB Bottle opener would get a lot of use.
Posted by USB2U on 23rd August 2011 | Permalink
Today’s world is getting faster and faster. With the development of speedier and more functional travel, devices and communication it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This translates to every part of our lives but especially work, we wonder how we used to get things done without certain technologies that we now rely on. We know first hand that deadlines get shorter and shorter with more and more to do; our ability and capacity are stretched to their extreme, that’s why we offer a Rush Service.
USB2U Rush Service
If you have an event coming up and don’t have the promotional material that you need or you are frantically trying to organise a conference and need an impressive finishing touch quick we have just the service for you. Our Rush Service offers branded USB memory sticks within 48 hours of the confirmation of order. We hold blank stock of the most popular range of USB flash drives for those that need their promotional USB memory stick urgently.
It may seem unbelievable but we really can get USB flash drives branded with you logo in your hands within 48 hours. We have tried to make the process as simple and stress free for anyone ordering their logo USB flash drives through the Rush Service because we know that they will most likely be occupied with all of the other things that they have to plan for the event or campaign.
To achieve these timescales and to make the process as smooth as possible we do need a bit of help on the customers side. If the artwork is ready to go in the right format, an order can be confirmed and a proof can be approved in a short time then the process can be underway in good time and the time goal can be met. The colour of the flash drive is subject to availability but we always make sure that we have a range of memory sizes to fit your specification.
Data loading is also usually possible in these tight timescales but since we will do this in-house it will depend on the speed at which you can get the files to us, the size of the files and the availability of our data-loading machine and team. Despite this, we will always try to accommodate your requirements, just give us a call to discuss the possibility.
Not only is the fete to get branded USB memory sticks a pretty impressive one but we have done it many times in the past and have gained much experience at it. If this service fits your requirements for the busy schedule that you have in planning your event then just give us a call to discuss what you need and get the order for your promotional USB flash drives rolling.
Posted by USB2U on 18th August 2011 | Permalink
Along with our range of branded USB flash drives we also make custom USB flash drives. Everything about theses memory sticks is customisable from the storage size of the memory chip to the shape and colours of the casing. We have made some really cool custom USB flash drives for companies like Nike, Silk Cut, Tampax and Orange to name a few. However if you fancy doing this yourselves we also sell the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that make up the memory of the custom USB memory sticks. You might be wondering why we think that companies would want to buy the PCB’s and make 100 or 200 of their own USB cases. Well, we don’t.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
The idea behind selling the PCB’s is that many schools use them as Design Technology projects for their students. At the beginning of the project they will be given a PCB and the challenge to come up with a creative case to hold the memory chip. This is a great way to help develop the students creativity and give them a useful data storage device at the end of it. We have recently come across another use for the PCB’s.
A very interesting use for PCB’s is DeadDrops, a growing, offline, peer-to-peer file sharing movement. DeadDrops involves securing a USB memory chip in a discrete public place stored with some files that you want to share. The PCB’s are usually put in wall using cement – they need to be secured quite tightly. A wall is not the most comfortable place to access the USB drive, the DeadDrops site has a lot of images and videos with people using their laptops, quite uncomfortably whilst holding them next to the wall. The location of the PCB can then be uploaded to the DeadDrops blog and people can visit the street of the DeadDrop and try to find the USB. Files can then be downloaded and uploaded onto the flash drive making it an off-line file sharing system.
Rabbit PCB USB Example
Finding a random USB flash drive cemented into the wall does seem like quite an interesting discovery and it would be interesting to hook your laptop up to it to find out what was stored on there. Although a cool concept, it is quite pointless, but it does seem to have attracted a cool community of followers. The DeadDrops blog also shows a video of people loading some data onto a USB flash drive attached to some balloons and letting it loose into the sky. No doubt the idea is that someone will find this, open the files on the drive, find out what it is about and be expected to release the USB back into the sky for someone else to find.
We don’t condone damaging public property for placing USB’s but DeadDrops is certainly a creative use for PCB’s and we think that many pupils can come up with cases and applications just as imaginative. PCB’s can be supplied in any memory size from 64MB up to 16GB. To find out more visit our PCB product page and our Branded Memory Sticks for Schools and University’s Page. If you would much prefer that we used our creativity to develop a custom USB memory stick to give to customers then get in touch.
Posted by USB2U on 15th August 2011 | Permalink
It wouldn’t be a surprise if for many teachers it feels like the kids have only just left for school holidays and for many parents it feels like they broke up for summer ages ago. Whatever the outlook parents will be buying ‘back to school’ clothing and teachers will be preparing classrooms for the start of another school year.
We supply branded USB memory sticks for a range of educational institutions such as red brick universities, colleges and upper schools to name a few. Our busiest time for supplying educational institutes with logo USB flash drives is towards the end and at the beginning of the school year. So in terms of the supplying schools with flash drives we are currently in the eye of the storm – we supplied a lot for the end of the educational year and are preparing for the rush for the start of the year.
School and University Branded Flash Drives
We recently supplied a job to a school that was giving the flash drives out to pupils who attended the school. They asked for the promotional USB memory sticks in a range of seven different colours, each year group was given a different colour of flash drive and the teachers were given a separate colour to the students. This, we’re sure, had quite a few benefits specific to schools. It could be seen from the colour of the flash drive what year the student was in at the school (this would be particularly handy in a large school), it would prevent flash drives being stolen between years and ‘the dog ate my homework’ was a little less believable now that most of it is done digitally.
In addition to the range of coloured memory sticks we also supplied the flash drives with white stickers on one side for the student to write their name on. This not only made it more unique for the pupils but also made it much easier to return the flash drive to the student who misplaces it.
As the use of computers and Information Technology grows within schools uses for custom USB flash drives will possibly go from being used for students transferring files from home to school to storing their whole years work on them (with a back-up, obviously) and teachers saving homework on them for students to take home and complete.
To see some of our previous customers in the educational sector and to see the services that we offer educational institutes visit our ‘Branded USB Memory Sticks for Schools & Universities’ page.
Posted by USB2U on 11th July 2011 | Permalink
This weekend our in-house designer spent his well-earned money on a brand new SLR camera. As most people would do when spending a lot of money, he put time into researching the best camera for his needs looking at mega-pixels, lens sizes and all things ‘techy’ that photographers look for. As he searched the mainstream camera retailers he noticed one company selling a 32GB USB flash drive for £101.95! (Sadly you do notice things like that when you are in the USB flash drive business).
Unlike the £500 Cartier 4 GB flash drive that we wrote about on our blog last month, this drive was not cased in palladium. Our designer couldn’t believe his eyes and even took the time to email his fellow ‘USB interested’ colleagues about his unbelievably expensive find. A simple search online revealed that a whole host of companies were selling the exact same 32 GB USB Flash Drive for less than a third of the price of the mainstream camera retailer.
Our designer managed to save over £60 on the camera that he bought and the example of the 32 GB USB flash drive also highlights the importance of shopping around on price when spending a lot of money on a product. Along with price, there are a lot of other aspects that need to be taken into account when shopping around.
Quality, service, speed and ease of purchase are just a few things that should be considered when buying a product, especially USB sticks. We are always working on the quality and detail of our offering so that we can give our customers the best overall package.
More specifically, we fit the bill in each category for the following reasons:
- Quality Products: Our flash drives are fitted with Grade A chips.
- Speed: We respond to enquiries within two hours of reception so that you can have answers and quotes when you need them.
- Quality service: A dedicated account manager over every job and free visual mock-ups with your company logo to see the impact of your USB flash drive.
- Ease of Purchase: 7-10 day turnaround after the reception of your artwork.
- Price: We will always aim to price match a like for like quote.
So, no matter how much you shop around for your branded USB sticks, considering our overall service and package we are sure that you will not find a better overall offer and will certainly not find it for a third of the price.
Posted by USB2U on 6th July 2011 | Permalink
We’re getting more and more calls from professional photographers who have purchased USB memory sticks from other suppliers (and occasionally direct from China) only to find when they use then that they have problems with them.
The problems typically come to light when the photographers load photos onto them from one PC and then they try to view the photos they’ve loaded on a different PC or Mac. More worrying is that their clients have problems viewing the photographs when they try to view them from the flash drive.
These problems normally occur when the supplied USB flash drives have been “masked” – that is a “B” grade flash memory chip with say only 256MB of storage has been made to look like a 1GB USB flash drive.
When these 1GB USB flash drives are connected to a PC and you view the properties of the drive it will list it as a 1GB drive, even when you copy nearly 1GB of data to the drive it will look as though it has transferred OK – the problems only begin when you take the drive out of the PC the data has been copied from and try and use it on another PC – all of a sudden “Hey Presto” the data you thought you’d originally loaded onto the drive has gone!!!!
Photographer USB Flash Drives
This problem cannot be fixed. If you have purchased USB flash drives for your business and they are acting in this way then you’ve been duped and you’ve been sold a flash drive with less memory on it that you paid for. Unfortunately this appears to be happening more and more in the promotional USB market because most companies and photographers that buy them and supply them to their clients won’t check or think to check. Understandably once they have finished transferring the data to the USB flash drives they’ll typically remove them thinking their data or photographs are on the sticks!
At USB2U we’re happy to try and help and rush out some alternative USB flash drives that are guaranteed to work but typically these issues are only discovered at the last minute and if replacements are needed within a day or two you may have to compromise on colours, designs and sometimes print.
The only safe way to be sure you don’t get stung is to:
- Buy from a reputable supplier, ideally a supplier that understands the USB flash drive industry and is able to demonstrate they’ve been around for a while and that they supply other customers in your sector (it doesn’t hurt to ask for references either)
- Don’t just buy on price alone – if you’re being offered an “incredible deal” on branded USB memory sticks and other suppliers are suggesting they can’t get close to the price then its usually an early indication that you’re heading for trouble.
- Make sure you have at least 12 months warranty on any flash drives you buy and that you understand the replacement process.
- Buy locally so you have some recourse in the event of any problems. It’s much easier dealing with a supplier in your own country if things turn nasty and you need to resort to the courts to resolve any issues (hopefully it won’t get this far)
- Finally, do your own checks when you take delivery of your USB flash drives – load data onto a random sample (up to the limit of the memory you’ve paid for) and then try and read the data from another PC.