USB2U News

Custom USB Strawberries – Made For Wimbledon

Posted by USB2U on 24th June 2010 | Permalink

Strawberries are one of the most popular soft fruits in the UK and they are synonymous with the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament where around 30,000 kilos are eaten during the course of the Championships (topped off with thousands of litres of cream of course!)

Its not surprising that strawberries are so popular because not only do they taste great but they are a source of natural sugar and provide excellent amounts of vitamin C and potassium both of which are minerals essential in our diet.

Less tasty but nevertheless just as popular are custom USB flash drives and just to illustrate that they can be supplied in any shape you want here’s an example of a tasty looking strawberry that is actually a custom USB flash drive so it would be best to avoid covering these in cream!

Strawberry USB Flash Drives

Strawberry Flash Drives

Of course USB strawberries are not going to be to everyone’s taste but they work just like standard USB flash drives albeit they generate a little more “buzz” and interest when used to promote a product or service. Standard flash drives printed up with a logo are almost as popular as Strawberries at Wimbledon but custom versions are getting more and more popular.

If you’ve got an event, show, conference or press launch and you really want to grab people’s attention and give them something to take away that reminds then of your and you company/product then it’s definitely worth considering a bespoke memory stick. Any design, any product, any shape can be manufactured in 2-D or 3-D and a wide range of materials are available to create the right overall effect.

All that’s needed to start the process is an idea! Once you have this get in touch and our in-house design team will work up some concepts for you and then develop these with you until you’re happy. The next stage is the production of physical samples for your approval and after that the final mass production. Lead times for custom flash drives are understandably a little longer at around 4 weeks but the finished results are definitely worth the wait.

Custom USB Flash Drives

Various Custom USB

Don’t forget to you can pre-load your data onto custom USB flash drives just as you can with any standard drive. So, make sure you have your sales material, your media files, presentation slides and any other data ready to load onto the drives when they arrive. If you don’t want the hassle of having to data load the memory sticks yourself then this can be done by the factory during the manufacturing process (normally free of charge) or the data can be loaded just before they are despatched to your offices.

So, as you sit back in the sunshine and watch the tennis get your thinking cap on and come up with your own ideas for a killer custom flash drive!


Flash Drive Demand Continues in the Face of Difficult Market Conditions

Posted by USB2U on 23rd March 2010 | Permalink

Despite the current price volatility in the memory stick market their popularity as promotional giveaways continues unabated. The current weakness of Sterling (GBP) against the US Dollar has pushed prices back up a little but hopefully once the uncertainty of the UK General Election is behind us things will settle down and prices will fall again.

Whilst demand for branded memory sticks is not completely immune to pricing, orders continue to be strong with demand for bespoke and custom flash drives seeing a noticeable increase.

Market Conditions USB

The forecast for the remainder of 2010 is that prices of the core components that make up the memory sticks (the flash modules and PCB’s) will remain largely unchanged albeit the usual season peak in the run-up to Christmas will no doubt happen as it does every year.

The one real unknown is what will happen in the currency markets. Some analysts and speculators are suggesting that the pound (GBP) has now “bottomed out” and that there will be a slow but steady strengthening throughout the rest of the year.  But conversely others are predicting a rocky few months as the UK heads towards and comes out of the General Election.

Underpinning the demand for branded memory sticks is the realisation that not only do they make an excellent and popular giveaway but used properly they can also help to reduce other print, production and transportation costs. By pre-loading the memory sticks with sales brochures, price lists, presentations, media files and so on companies are now reducing significantly the amount of printed media they produce and take with them to trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. When these cost saving are offset against the purchase cost of the memory sticks (including the data loading) the business case for their purchase is pretty compelling.

The other major benefits that drive the popularity of memory sticks are:

  • High perceived value
  • Handy and easy to use
  • Large range of designs and styles
  • Great brand ambassadors
  • High levels of repeat usage
  • Easy to store and distribute

If you’re looking to buy branded memory sticks in the short term for your company then, given the current volatility in the market, make sure you shop around for the best all inclusive deal and lock in the price for as long as possible.


Are Branded Memory Sticks Too Expensive

Posted by USB2U on 2nd March 2010 | Permalink

With marketing and advertising costs being tightened its incredibly important to make sure that the budget you do have to play with works incredibly hard for you. Some people see memory sticks as just too gimmicky, a little over-rated and expensive, particularly when judged against more traditional promotional items. To be fair it depends what you’re trying to achieve and perhaps even more importantly who you target audience is.

If you simply want some promotional give-aways for a large consumer show or you’re looking to raise the general awareness of your brand/product then memory sticks might not be right for you. Equally, if your target audience are unlikely to have access to PC’s or have any little or no requirement for portable data storage solutions then memory sticks are unlikely to be appropriate.

Red Probe USB Flash Drive

Even the cheapest 64Mb branded memory stick is going to be quite a bit more expensive than a branded key-ring, a pen with a logo printed on or a packet of sweets or mints with your company name on. These small gestures/tokens are great to have on a stand to hand out en-masse, they will help to draw people to your stand and they’ll engender some basic form of recall and association with your company but memory sticks are in a different league.

If you’ve targeting business clients, partners, and journalists or perhaps you sell high value products to high net worth individuals then branded memory sticks should be on your list of candidate promotional items. Pretty much anyone who uses a PC will be familiar with the benefits of a USB memory stick and will be delighted to be given one (particularly free of charge)!

Leather Boss Flash Drive w/Metal Tin

The real beauty of a memory stick is that you can pre-load the stick with your sales data, your price lists, links to your web site, media files (videos, music etc) and you can even protect this data and/or make it run automatically when the memory stick is used. Whilst you could argue you could achieve the same results with a CD or DVD the reality is these CD/DVD’s rarely get used/played and more likely will end up in the bin. On the other hand flash drives offer real convenience to the user so they have an incentive to use them. As such the content is far more likely to be read and viewed and because memory sticks can be carried around easily on a lanyard or key-ring your brand will get on-going exposure.

In the context of the additional value memory sticks deliver they are not expensive but they need to be purchased for the right event/audience. If you do pre-load data onto the memory sticks instead of printing catalogues, brochures, press releases etc. you can save yourself a small fortune and make life easier for yourself in terms of transportation and storage. Used smartly printed memory sticks will pay for themselves in a way in which an inert cap or mug simply can’t.


Branded USB Memory – Tip 2. The Hidden Dangers Of Autoruns

Posted by USB2U on 15th February 2010 | Permalink

In the second of the series of top tips to consider when purchasing Branded USB Memory Sticks, we explore whether autorun make good business sense when set against the hidden pitfalls!

Many clients are faced with the dilemma of whether they should add an autorun facility to their Branded USB Memory Sticks.

An autorun facility allows users to insert a Branded Memory Stick and for the computer to automatically run a programme e.g. a movie file.

USB Dataload

The advantages of this facility is that it ensures the user is presented with the information the client wants them to see, without having to find the information themselves. This makes is a very intuitive process and ensures the information on the USB Memory Stick is delivered. However there are some hidden pitfalls:

  • Autoruns will not work on Win 98 or 2000 operating systems – beware there are still many users out there with these systems. You will also need to ensure that the appropriate code is written into any autorun for it to work on Mac operating systems.
  • Some corporate firewalls restrict autoruns, so the danger is that the end user will never see the data.
  • Nuisance factor. If one of the objectives is to ensure that the USB Branded Memory Stick is a keepsake that the end user will access on a regular basis then its worth bearing in mind that every time the user wants to access or save a document they will have to run through the dataload programme. Fine for the first few times, but thereafter they may find this an irritation and relegate the memory stick deep into a draw!

There is a middle way, why not consider loading the data onto the Branded USB Memory Stick with an icon labelled ‘Click Here To Start’ and allow the user to access the data when they want.  This data can be protected so it would not be deleted, but overcomes may of the issues detailed above.

If this is not an option, then it is highly recommended to produce a pre-production sample of the autorun. In this way you or your client can test the autorun in the environment it would be used. You do not need to have the final data file to complete this exercise.

Another option would be to load the same data as a non-autorun file on the unprotected part of the Branded Memory stick. In this way, if the autorun fails to work, the user still has the option to select information manually.

There is no doubt that autoruns are a great method to deliver information, but ensure you and/or your client are aware of the pitfalls and try to build in a safety net, as once produced it is extremely difficult to reload the data without returning to the manufacturing plant, which is usually based in China.

View Tip 1. Here.


Promotional Memory Sticks Lead The Way In 2010

Posted by USB2U on 2nd February 2010 | Permalink

Wow – what a start to 2010! Last year we saw significant growth in the use of branded USB memory sticks but orders in the first few weeks of 2010 have surpassed all expectations.

Sales of memory sticks that are either printed or embossed with a company logo or design are accelerating and demand for fully customised (bespoke shapes and designs) is really picking up.

Custom USB Custom USB Custom USB

A well-designed and printed memory stick does wonders to help promote your company, to develop your brand and to keep your company ahead of the competition. They’re also, as many companies are now finding out, a fantastic and cost effective way to distribute your sales literature, data sheets, pricing information and media files.

Popular uses for branded memory sticks include:

  1. Give-aways at trade shows and exhibitions (but pre-loaded with sales brochures to help reduce the paper brochure print costs, transportation and storage).
  2. Handouts at seminars and conferences (pre-loaded with the event details, speakers notes and slides and details of forthcoming events).
  3. Press events. Fully customised usb flash drives are increasingly being used in preference to standard factory models at Press Events and Press Launches because they really do generate a “buzz” and help to get key messages across to the attending journalists. Of course pre-loading the custom sticks with the press releases, core company information, biographies of key staff and media files helps to ensure the journalists have all the key information at their fingertips is recommended.
  4. Promotional give-aways. Everyone loves something for nothing but it helps if what you’re giving away is desirable and will be used by the recipient. Memory sticks certainly fit the bill here.
  5. Staff events and briefings. Memory sticks are a popular way of disseminating key information out to employees particularly if there are lots of forms and details to distribute and you want to reduce the print and reproduction costs of these forms.
  6. Visitor gifts – rather than a boring pencil, pen or T-Shirt lots of companies are now turning to branded memory sticks for visitor gifts. They are after all more “business like” and have a high-perceived value.

Given the growth in sales we’ve already seen in 2010 these examples must just be small snapshots of what printed USB flash drives are being used for. If you are interested in printed usb memory sticks or fully bespoke USB flash drives for your company then give us a call to explore the options.

Branded USB Branded USB Branded USB

Large or Complex Logo? – No problem with the Slider USB

Posted by USB2U on 13th January 2010 | Permalink

If you’ve got a large or complex logo then it’s not always easy to choose the right memory stick to really do it justice. Whilst many suppliers will just ask you to “simplify” the logo or reduce the number of colours in the logo its not really the right answer.

Printing and reproducing your brand or logo correctly is critical. There’s no point spending a fortune designing and developing a brand only to them compromise it simply because the product you want to reproduce it on can’t support it.

USB Slider

But, the reality is that many standard style USB memory sticks are relatively small and the print area on the sticks can be even smaller. Small memory sticks are popular but not always the right solution for complex logos. Whilst some of these small sticks can support a full colour print process, squeezing your brand and any strapline onto the print area will, in some cases, mean its impossible to see/read the end result clearly.

There are several options to overcome this problem including using a Credit Card style memory stick. These are not really “memory sticks” per se but credit card shaped product that has a USB connector built into it with some on-board flash memory. The beauty of this product is that because its exactly the same size as a credit card it fits neatly into a wallet and provides lots of space (front and back) to print on. You can also use the latest full colour printing process techniques on these cards to achieve a very high-resolution reproduction of any complex design. But, credit cards are not to everyone’s taste.

If you have a complex logo and it’s a branded memory stick you want in the true sense of the term then you could consider “Slider” model. This memory stick is capless, it has an integral keying loop and it’s a little larger than much other memory sticks without being excessively large. But, the real beauty of this model is the very large print area onto which you can print.

USB Slider

This example shows the how complex graduated prints with lots of text still look fantastic when produced on the Slider model.

If you think the Slider memory stick might solve your memory stick challenge then give us a call and we’ll provide you with a personalise quote and we’ll even mock one up for you free of charge so you can see just how it will look.


Put Your Branded Memory Stick Spend On A Credit Card In 2010

Posted by USB2U on 8th January 2010 | Permalink

Custom USB Flash Drives are now firmly established as a key tool within the Promotion and Sales industry. Whether you have a sales event or show where you want a convenient way to distribute information about your products or services or perhaps a conference where you want to hand out the event information from the event branded memory sticks are the way to go.

USB Credit Card

In fact these incredibly useful gadgets can be used in many many ways including but not limited to:

  • On-pack sales promotions
  • Competition prizes
  • Trade show “give-aways”
  • Press Launches (and lunches)
  • Product Launches
  • Staff rewards and incentives
  • Customer mailers
  • Re-seller and partner fairs

The most popular style or shape of branded memory stick used for these activities tend to be “stick” shaped (not as in a stick from a tree but small, rectangular shaped flash “sticks”) but there are other options!

One of the key trends in 2010 is expected to be the move to a bespoke or truly custom shape that is unique to the customer using it. Examples would include custom USB disks in the shape of a car or truck to support the launch of a new vehicle or perhaps in the shape of a company logo or brand. Any 2-D or 3-D shape is now possible and bespoke memory sticks really do up the ante in terms of brand support, brand building and product recall.

But, custom memory sticks are not for everyone. If you are looking for something a little different, a little more sophisticated with the scope to support a complex logo or design then you might consider a branded credit card USB. These come in a variety of styles and types but they all adhere to the basic “form factor” of a credit card. Not only do they support a full colour, photo effect print but they can also be supplied in a complementary wallet or case. Costing just a little more than a standard branded memory stick they are certainly worthy of consideration particularly if your target audience is ABC1.

The small additional cost is worth it in terms of the visual impact and much greater perceived value. If you are interested then give us a ring or fill out the on-line enquiry form and we’ll get back to you with a tailored quotation. We also offer a free design and mock-up service to help you visualise the end product.

USB Credit Card


Branded Memory Sticks – A Review of 2009

Posted by USB2U on 3rd January 2010 | Permalink

With the economy still in recession and advertising and marketing budgets often the first casualties it was never going to be the easiest of years for the promotional industry. Several key sectors including the banking sector, a long standing stalwart of the promotional industry, either stopped or reduced significantly its promotional spend in 2009. Other sectors such as health and telecoms continued to spend but their overall activity was markedly down on previous years.

USB Pens

For many businesses the focus became one of survival and cost cutting. All unnecessary costs (perceived or real) were stopped, many staff lost their jobs and inevitably some businesses failed.

Against this backdrop where advertising and promotional spend was approved it had to deliver and getting value become a mantra for budget holders and buyers alike.

Branded memory sticks (also known as USB flash drives or pens) were just beginning to gain a real foothold in the promotions sector in 207/08. Costs were falling, delivery times were shortening, the quality of the product was improving year on year and the target audience “got it”. Branded memory sticks were popular. They were popular with companies looking for something innovative and useful to give that was within their budget and supported their brand and recipients of memory sticks loved them because they were (and still are) incredibly handy and useful bits of kit.

But as we entered 2009 it really did look as though it was not only going to be an “Annus Horribilis” for the promotions industry as a whole but it was also going to be the year in which the growth of branded memory sticks faltered.

Talk of the demise of the memory stick was overstated and premature because whilst its day will inevitably come in 2009 it showed steely resistance and demonstrated just why it is one of the most loved and best performing promotional products.

USB Flash Drives

In a very short space of time the branded memory sticks has risen to become a firm favorite and whilst there have been many casualties in the sector the memory stick is not one of them. Why? Well, branded memory sticks deliver and they deliver on many key metrics. They are:

  • Incredibly well received and popular as a gift or promotional item
  • Excellent at carrying a logo or brand
  • Small, portable, convenient to use
  • Ideal for pre-loading data onto such as sales collateral, press releases, product guides, presentations and audio/media files
  • Relatively inexpensive for what they deliver

They do face challenges in terms of price stability which is not helped by the strength of the $ (USD) against other local currencies in which they are purchased and their price is subject to sudden swings as major player like Apple swoop into the market and buy up millions of flash chip modules. This is unlikely to change in 2010 but as 2009 has shown the core benefits of the product make it a real winner and something that is going to be at the heart of the sales and promotions industry for a few more years!

If you are interested in buying branded memory sticks in 2010 then give us a ring at USB2U or if you prefer fill out our on-line enquiry form and we’ll get back to you with a personalized proposal.


Branded Memory Sticks – Size Matters

Posted by USB2U on 30th November 2009 | Permalink

Sales of branded memory sticks continue to surge as more and more companies look to use them to promote their brand, their products or to use as a give away at conferences and exhibitions. Branded Memory sticks make great vehicles for brand promotion and brand development and the fact that you can pre-load them with tons of sales material (PDF brochures, videos, and presentations) helps justify their cost.

USB Sizes

After all if you can load all of your sales material onto a memory stick you can offset your print and transportation cost(s) and these can be significant if you are, for example, exhibiting or running conferences overseas.

When you’re buying branded memory sticks there are a couple of size related issues to consider to make sure that you get a product that delivers for you particular activity or event:

  1. Physical size: As in life not all USB memory sticks are born equal when it comes to size. A couple of years ago most memory sticks were pretty large with the average memory stick being around 7-9cm long and 2-3cm wide.These were (and still are) great if you need plenty of space to print you logo or message on but with the miniaturization of the core flash memory component there has been a comparative reduction in the size of the case or shell that the flash memory fits into. As a consequence the more popular memory sticks used for branding today tend to be the smaller models and styles. For example the ever-popular Twister (Swivel) Memory stick is 5cm long x 1.7cm wide and the new generation of “baby” twisters are a tiny 3cm X 1.5cm.Bearing in mind that the USB connector on the end of the branded memory stick is just over 1cm wide they can’t go much smaller and too small leaves little room to print you logo on!So, when choosing a memory stick consider carefully how your logo will look on it, don’t choose a model that’s too big and cumbersome and looks dated and bear in mind the bigger/older models can obscure other USB ports around them which then means you may need to consider supplying them with a USB cable. Similarly whilst the small, baby style of USB sticks look cute many of them are simply hopeless at carrying a brand and strap line and they are very easy to lose.
  2. Memory size: The most popular choice for memory size at the moment is 1GB (this will store 250 music tracks, 1,000 pictures or tens of thousands of documents). A couple of years ago is was 128MB and if pricing trends over the last couple of months carry forward into 2010 then 2GB prices will be on a par with 1GB.The key to choosing the right memory size is make sure the user has enough space on the flash drive (after you have loaded any data yourself) to use for themselves. You don’t just want the memory stick to be plugged into a PC, any pre-loaded data taken off or viewed and then discarded. To get positive brand association and exposure you want the user to carry and use the memory stick and ideally use if for as long as possible. So, choose the most memory you can afford within your budget. If in any doubt talk through the options with your supplier.

When it comes buying branded memory sticks size is important so take your time and get it right.


Branded Memory Sticks – Buyer Beware

Posted by USB2U on 22nd October 2009 | Permalink

OK, so you’ve decided you need some branded memory sticks to support your marketing and advertising activities or perhaps to hand out at an event or seminar or maybe even to give away to staff or customers. Not surprising really as branded memory sticks are incredibly popular and are always well received.

Memory sticks are a great way to get your brand promoted, they have real and perceived intrinsic value, they’re portable, useful and they look great printed or engraved with company logos. Not only this but, the price of memory sticks has fallen to a point where they are now a viable option for many activities and events but, when shopping around for the best deal you do need to have your wits about you.

Branded USB
Branded USB
Branded USB

When sourcing printed memory sticks it’s understandably easy to be led by price and price alone. After all, times are hard at the moment and budgets are tight and it’s critical that you demonstrate to the budget holders that you’ve secured the best deal you can. But, don’t let price be the only arbiter because making a buying decision based on price alone, particularly from a supplier you’ve never dealt with before can this can come back and bite you where it hurts!

Here’s a true tale that illustrates this point – A customer recently asked us to beat a price for a large quantity of 1GB branded memory sticks. The customer in question had gone directly to a factory in China and was presenting us with an incredible price challenge. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t get anywhere near the price and the order was placed on the factory.

When the order arrived and the customer started to load data onto the memory sticks they were surprised to find that although the sticks had 1GB labels on them that they could not load more than 128MB of data! On checking with the factory they were informed that the internal memory was 128MB not the 1GB ordered and paid for. The memory sticks had been “dressed up” to look like 1GB sticks and the factories response was that it was the only way the could meet the customers target price!

The factory has refused to accept the memory sticks back so the client is stuck with thousands of branded memory sticks that are useless for their needs. Whilst litigation would normally be an option, cross border litigation against a factory in China is a little more challenging!

The moral of the story is that if a price seems too good to be true then it most probably is and when sourcing branded memory sticks you are best to use a reputable, local company that have a proven track record of delivery and support.

At USB2U we have been supplying branded USB Memory sticks since 2002. We only work with known and trusted factories that we have met/vetted and whose QA processes meet our strict standards. We also ensure that all memory sticks we import are fully RoHS compliant and meet all the latest WEEE and REACH Compliance Regulations. With USB2U you’re in safe hands and we’ll always do our utmost to offer you the best price we can whilst ensuring your needs are fully met.