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If You’re Buying Branded USB Memory Sticks Take 5 Minutes to Read This

Posted by USB2U on 11th February 2010 | Permalink

Its no exaggeration to say that USB memory sticks are now incredibly popular to the point where they have replaced CD’s and DVD’s as the way to backup personal data and carry it from place to place. Their popularity is driven by their ease of use, their portability and their relatively low cost. Its not uncommon for people to have multiple flash drives with one for work and one for personal data and of course they tend to get replaced/upgraded every year or so to the “latest” model or just a version with more  storage capacity.

Microsoft Slider USB

Branded Memory Sticks – Click to enlarge

The growing dominance of the once humble USB memory stick is something the promotion and advertising sector spotted early on. Think about it, its rare to attend a conference, show or seminar and not have been offered at least one promotional memory stick. The reason is understandable – not only are they incredibly popular but they are an excellent way to distributing sales material, links to web sites, media files, presentation slides and lots more besides.

Of course in accepting a branded memory sticks (often pre-loaded with data) you are complicit in the on-going promotion of the “givers” brand beyond the event. It is though a real “win win” for both parties because the giver gets great brand exposure and brand association with a highly regarded product whilst the recipient gets something truly useful rather than a cheap/tacky gift that will be discarded quickly.

Branded USB stick with matching tin

branded memory sticks

But, a word of warning before you rush to buy branded memory sticks; there are a number of important factors that you must consider:

Am I getting A Grade (new not recycled) Memory Chips?

In the world of flash memory chips not all chips are equal and it’s not just the memory size that is the differentiator. Flash memory chips provide the storage capability inside a USB flash drive and these memory chips are graded by the industry. Only “Grade A” flash memory chips are new and provide certified transfer speeds and guarantee access to the full amount of advertised memory on the chip. Other grades are likely to have failed the factory QA process or will have been salvaged from other products. The consequence of using or buying anything other than Grade A chips is likely to be seen in terms of high failure rates, slow/read write speeds and an inability to access or use all of the claimed memory.

Before you order your memory sticks make sure you are getting new Grade A flash memory chips in your memory sticks and choose a supplier you can trust. Its very difficult to spot the use of cheap chips from a visual inspection of the delivered goods. expected and its possible you’ll overpay for what you’re getting. Always check with your supplier that they are using Grade A memory chips

Should I order USB 1.x, USB 2.0 or event the new USB 3.0 and does it matter.

In short make sure you order USB High Speed version 2.0 memory sticks. Anything using USB 1.1 is old and slow and whilst version 3.0 might be tempting because its new you’ll pay a huge premium for USB 3.0 and its not necessary.  Whilst you might get USB 1x versions at a bargain price anyone you give them to will quickly get frustrated with the slow transfer speeds and abandon them.

RoHS Compliance – You need to understand what this is.

RoHS or the Restriction of Hazardous Substances to give it its long hand  applies to thousands of electrical and computer components imported into the EU. The RoHS legislation is designed to protect the citizens of the EU against hazardous chemicals and substances and its legislation that you and your supplier must comply with. If you are found to have imported non-RoHS compliant products into the EU then you have no defence by arguing that your supplier was to blame. You are collectively responsible and the fines for non-compliance are significant. Before you order anything ensure you ask your supplier about RoHS compliance and if necessary get copies of RoHS certificates.

WEEE Compliance – Educate yourself about what it means to you

The WEEE directive was implemented to encourage reuse and recycling. The Directive states that 65% of all IT kit must be recycled. Some items like old monitors, PCBs (printed circuit boards), computers and batteries should be treated before disposal. It might surprise you but the small, humble USB memory stick falls into this category. As such you ought to advise anyone you give the branded memory sticks to of their obligation under this directive. Failure could result in prosecution.

Choose a reputable supplier who you can trust and who can demonstrate a proven track record.

There are lots of companies springing up (many operating from back bedrooms) that will offer to supply you with branded USB memory sticks and custom flash drives. Whilst their prices may look attractive the above points demonstrate that there is more to buying memory sticks than just price. Choose the wrong supplier and you could get more than you bargained for. You have a corporate responsibility to understand your obligations and to ensure you comply. Ignorance is not a defence.

A reputable supplier will understand the issues and compliance requirements. They will be able to provide you with copies of RoHS and WEEE certificates should you want them for reassurance. Branded memory sticks are fantastic promotional products but just like anything else you buy the better informed you are the better placed you will be to secure not only a great commercial deal but a deal a deal that does not come back an “bite you in the bum”


Buying Branded USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

Posted by USB2U on 2nd February 2010 | Permalink

Chinese New Year is almost upon us and realistically if you haven’t ordered your branded USB memory sticks by now then you are not going to get them from the factories in China for around 4 weeks!

Unbranded Flash Drives

The challenge this year as China starts to celebrate the Year of the Tiger, is that the holiday period is over 2 weeks and the start and the end is staggered to allow for the mass movement of people around China as the staff in the factories and offices return to their families. So, the reality is that the Chinese New Year break will last for nearer 3 weeks and during this period not only do the factories that manufacture branded memory sticks close but pretty much the whole infrastructure closes. So even if things are manufactured its very difficult to get them moved and shipped.

Unbranded Flash Drives

Consequently any new orders placed today for printed USB flash drives could take up to 4 weeks to be fulfilled. But, don’t despair, at USB2U we’ve been through this cycle for the last 7 years so we knew what was coming and we’ve pre-shipped into the UK thousands of blank (un-printed) USB memory sticks that we can print locally for our customers.

Branded Memory sticks that are printed in the UK will always be a little more expensive simply because of the local (UK) printing costs but when you buy them from USB2U you won’t pay any more for the memory sticks themselves. Not only that but we can turn around printed memory sticks using our UK stock in 48 hrs! If you’re struggling with artwork or design ideas don’t worry because our in-house design team can help you with this as well.

If you have been let down by your supplier or you’ve got a “rush” job and simply have to have some branded memory sticks during the next few weeks then give us a call at USB2U. We’d be delighted to hear from you and we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to help.


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.


USB Memory Stick Accessories – don’t forget them!

Posted by USB2U on 23rd October 2009 | Permalink

USB Accessories

A memory stick is a great way to transport data but they can easily find the bottom of your pocket or bag. It is a good idea to remember that USB2U can provide a range of suitable accessories and packaging to help avoid losing that important little stick! There are many different options of accessories and packaging available such as, lanyards, key rings, carabiners and USB extension cables.

USB lanyard


Lanyards are probably the most popular choice with many of our customers. They can be attached securely to the USB drive and placed around the users neck – a great idea to avoid losing vital data!. And while lanyards are typically worn around the neck, it’s not unusual for them to be hanging out of pockets or belt loops, wrapped around as wrist straps or attached to and hanging from many other things! Lanyards can also be branded with your logo or message.

USB keyring


Key Rings are also a useful accessory to consider. Like lanyards they can be attached to the USB drive and in turn attached to your keys meaning you will never be without your memory stick and data! They are available in different sizes and are more robust than lanyards.

USB carabiner


Our carabiner’s are fast becoming a favourite. These function like a climber’s carabiner and can be attached to the hook of your branded USB. They’re also great for attaching onto bags or laptop cases. Unlike most small key rings they are also big enough to carry a brand or logo.

USB extension cable

USB Extension Cables

USB extension cables are worth considering if your PC box is located under your desk. You simply plug the extension into the USB drive of your PC and feed the cable onto your desktop. You’ll never have to struggle to plug your branded USB drive underneath your desk again!

All of the above mentioned accessories can be supplied with your order of branded USB memory sticks and are available in different colours, shapes and sizes. If you are not sure about which would suit you best please contact USB2U where an Account Manager will be happy to discuss your options.


Northampton University Choose USB2U for Branded USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 1st October 2009 | Permalink

The University of Northampton, specifically the Northampton Business School at the University, required a uniquely branded USB Memory Stick to promote the Higher Education Alliance (HEA) within the university.

The University of Northampton Higher Education Alliance (HEA) was established to bring together the University and staff from all regional educational establishments, to provide a forum for the discussion and sharing of best practice regarding the University’s guidance activity.

Univeristy of Northampton USB Flash Drives

The aim of the USB Memory Stick was to provide students with an incentive to complete feedback on their distant learning programmes.  The prerequisite was to provide an incentive that was both compelling, relevant and useful for students.

As there is no permanent storage area on the University network for students, the USB Memory Stick would be an extremely useful tool, allowing students to store, back up and transport important coursework.

The University undertook a tender process and the normal due diligence checks. We were delighted that they selected USB2u to supply Branded USB memory sticks, not least because we are practically neighbours.

Sebastian La Porta, Sales Director for USB2U, explained “We were delighted to be trusted with the University’s important project. We were particularly pleased that the University were able to support a local business.  We have delivered many hundreds of successful projects for universities across the UK, but the team were particularly pleased to be working for our own local university.”

Dr David Burnapp (Senior Lecturer) was a very strong advocate for the project as student feedback is of the utmost importance. The dual-sided branding on the USB memory sticks ensures that it not only represents the University, but also the HEA.

Univeristy of Northampton USB Flash Drives

“We were delighted with the high quality of the goods and level of support that we received from USB2U. Whilst they won the order on our standard selection criteria, it was particularly pleasing to place this with a local and established business.”


USB2U is a leading supplier of promotional USB memory sticks, branded USB flash Drives, custom USB sticks and USB pens printed with your logo on. In fact we can supply and print pretty much anything that has a USB connector on it.

We’ve been supplying branded USB memory sticks since 2002 so you’re in safe hands. Our customers range from small local schools to some of the largest multinational companies on the planet. Irrespective of how big or small you are we’ll strive to give you unbeatable prices coupled with a fast and efficient service. Contact us [email protected].


Branded USB Memory Sticks – Schools and Universities

Posted by USB2U on 22nd September 2009 | Permalink

Just as the biro and ruler are a key part of any students basic stationery set today no self-respecting student goes to school without a USB Memory stick in their bag and typically several. In fact many schools, colleges and universities mandate the use of memory sticks and list them on the “essential kit list” for parents.

The rise of the humble USB memory stick to near global domination of the personal data storage market is with good reason too. Memory sticks are lightweight, portable, inexpensive, easy to use and yet extremely powerful. USB Memory sticks enable students and teachers to save and transport homework, coursework, reference papers, video files, etc. quickly and efficiently.

Whilst much of a students work does still eventually get printed the use of a memory stick to save work electronically has nevertheless reduced dramatically the amount of paper printed and carried by pupils and teachers alike.

Universities have also realised the USB Memory sticks can be used to recruit new students. Memory sticks printed with the Universities logo and preloaded with the university prospectus have become one of the “hot” ideas of 2009.  Not only do these memory sticks portray the university as an innovative, forward thinking institution but by loading the stick with video tours, and other supplementary information they reduce the need to print paper flyers, brochures, advice sheets etc. Students can now be supplied with everything they need to know about the school/university on one small memory stick!

Commercially savvy bursars and administrators have also started to order memory sticks with the school crest/logo on and to resell these to the students to generate an additional revenue stream. Combining branded USB memory sticks with the traditional “school portrait” preloaded onto the disk is another of the more innovative directions that some schools are taking. We watch with interest to see what other ideas the schools come up with.

If you’re looking for branded USB memory sticks for your school or university please give us a call or fill out the enquiry form on our website. We offer some terrific discounts and deals to educational institutions and of course we provide credit terms on all orders. We’ve already supplied tens of thousands of memory sticks to schools and universities in the UK over the last 7 years so you’re in safe hands.


Go Large with a 256GB (Gigabyte) Promotional USB Memory Stick

Posted by USB2U on 8th September 2009 | Permalink

With the announcement a couple of weeks ago by Kingston Technology of the launch of the world’s first 256GB USB flash drive how long will it be before USB memory sticks of this size are being given away free as part of promotional and marketing campaigns.

A 256GB Memory stick is capable of storing 51,000 images or the equivalent of 54 DVDs-worth of data in your pocket. That’s a HUGE amount of data and it really does open up all sorts of data storage options, including the ability to store High Def movies and trailers on a USB memory stick. The downside is that they are not cheap. At the moment the RRP for the Kingston Data Traveller 300 – 256GB is around £550 each!! But this does come with a five-year warranty and 24/7 Tech Support.

So, suggesting that these behemoths of the USB Memory stick world could be given away free by companies simply as a way of promoting their brand or products seems absurd but consider the history of the humble USB memory stick.

In 2002 a typical branded USB memory stick was 16MB. Today the most popular size of USB Memory stick chosen by companies for promotional activities is 2GB. In 2002 using a 2GB memory stick for promotional use would have seemed equally absurd but just 7 years later millions of them are given away free of charge every year.

When we do reach the point where a 256GB USB memory stick can be a economic proposition for the promotions industry it will be interesting to see what use the massive amounts of storage they deliver are being put to. With at least 5 years there is plenty of time to put our collective thinking caps on.


The Naked Branded USB Memory Stick

Posted by USB2U on 18th August 2009 | Permalink

However good your Promotional Memory stick looks, the impact can be lost if it does not include the appropriate packaging or at worst, no packaging at all.

One of the key things to consider when ordering Branded USB Memory sticks is how these are going to be handed to / used by clients as this will have a bearing on the type of packaging.

The following is a list of options that will help you to decide.

No packaging. If you already packaging to insert the Branded Memory Stick into them they can be despatched with no packaging. Ensure they are either placed into individual bubble bags or in tray to avoid them scratching.

Standard Gift Box
Small Cardboard Box. This entry level box protects the customised memory sticks and is very cost effective. Most suppliers will provide these free of charge. Click here.

Window Box
Boxes with windows. These are ideal to show the Branded Memory Sticks off in its full glory as they can be positioned to appear in the window.
Click here.

Tin Box
Tin Boxes. These gives the Promotional Memory Drive greater gravitas and is an ideal executive gift box. Click here.
Blister Pack. If the Branded Memory Sticks are for retail use then blister packaging may be the solution. It allows the memory sticks to be displayed and a printed card inserted. Click here.

Other things of note:

  • All boxes can be printed with a logo or marketing message
  • Make sure the size of the packaging will allow for any accessories e.g. Branded lanyard
  • Ensure that you order your packaging with the memory sticks, otherwise if these are shipped in separately you would be charged duty on the shippment.
  • Suppliers are now offering packaging in recycled material – worth asking.
  • Remember the bigger and heavier the packaging the more it will cost to ship the Branded Memory sticks in.

Branded USB Hubs – Kills The Promotional Mouse Mat…….!

Posted by USB2U on 14th August 2009 | Permalink

Have you already provided your clients with Branded USB Memory sticks? Looking to offer something a little different, but still within the same price bracket of promotional USB Memory Sticks? Then why not consider Branded USB Hubs.

Branded USB

Branded USB Hubs are the equivalent to the mains power extension sockets. In essence, it takes one USB port and splits into 2, 4 or 7 additional ports. Allowing the end user to plug in a whole range of different USB devices, such as Promotional USB Memory Sticks.

They are simple plug and play and you can never have enough USB Ports. Click here to view our range.

So what other advantage by Branded USB hubs provide:

  • As a promotion gift it has real intrinsic and practical value.
  • The print area is typically larger that then average USB Memory Stick allowing greater scope for branding and getting your marketing message across.
  • By adding a USB extension lead it allows the USB hub to sit proudly on the users desktop and as such your brand is always front of mind.
  • A blister pack can also be branded with your logo and marketing message.
  • USB hubs now come in a range of different shape, colours and sizes for greater impact.

A word of warning however, USB hubs draw power from the usb port it is plugged into. As such power hungry USB devices may slow the hub down. There is a solution to this, simply add a mains power supply to the unit and the problem is resolved.

All in all Branded USB Hubs are an excellent alterative to the tired branded mouse mat. To view our range, please click here.


How Not To Make A Drama Out Of A Branded USB Crisis

Posted by USB2U on 13th August 2009 | Permalink



That sinking feeling when something goes wrong and there’s no time left to fix it is one most of us are unfortunately familiar with. Your major press launch is in 3 days, the branded USB memory sticks you’ve been eagerly awaiting have just arrived and you’re feeling as cool as a cucumber about the whole thing – until you open the box and realise there’s a problem! The sands of time are running out – what can you do to put things right?

large red panic button

Don’t panic! Your first port of call should be your UK provider, providing you haven’t purchased directly from the Far East. Any company worth their salt will give you more than excuses and apologies and sort the issue out before the deadline. However, if you have purchased direct from overseas then you’re stuck, as they will not be able to ship replacements out to you in time – that’s if you even get a response. Unfortunately, there are a number of overseas factories producing USB sticks that won’t hesitate to fleece you and provide substandard products, which is why it’s always best to use a UK supplier who will deal with everything on your behalf and have their own trusted factories to avoid any problems.

If you have been stung by a foreign factory, there is still hope – you can still save the day, depending on what the actual problem is.

1.    The memory sticks don’t work when you plug them in. It could be something as simple as a corporate firewall blocking access, so check this and hopefully this will solve the problem. If not, try testing them on various operating systems and computers in case the fact they won’t run is a problem at your end and not with the sticks themselves. If this still doesn’t resolve the issue, then format all the disks and pray!

2.    Problems with the print quality. If the print quality of your logo isn’t top spec, so your boss notices, but end users won’t, then commercially it may be worth using them as planned and then kicking the provider’s shins very hard and asking for a part refund. However, if there is something materially wrong, like a misprint, then ask a UK printer if they can remove the logo using a special solution and then reprint. This can be costly but worth a shot. Alternatively, produce some dome stickers with your logo printed on and place on top of the offending print.

If you have used a Twister memory stick design which you may have done as this is the most popular model of branded USB stick, then look to print some new clips via a UK provider and replace.

3.    Problems with the data load. If you have asked for data to be loaded that then is found to have issues, then provided the sticks aren’t protected or use auto run, they can be simply erased and the correct data reloaded. This will be time consuming, but will solve the problem. If you simply can’t do this at your end, contact a UK data duplication house that can do this for you at a price.

If the disks are protected, however, then it may be time to panic! The only chance you have is to ask the original supplier for software that will allow you to reprogram the sticks. This is both technically difficult and a time consuming process.

4.    Missing Accessories or problems with packaging. It is not uncommon for accessories that you purchased at the original order stage to have been forgotten or broken in transit when despatched from the Far East. Again there are several UK suppliers that hold this type of stock. So get onto the web and start searching – you should find something that will do the trick.

5.    Courier delays. If the memory sticks have been delayed in transit and are now stuck at an international hub, you may be able to save some time. Ask them to hold them at their hub rather than sending on a next day delivery and arrange for a point to point courier to pick them up and deliver direct to your event or client.

Be aware that the packaging will still have all the commercial invoices on the box, so if you want these to remain undisclosed you’ll need to ask the courier to remove them on your behalf.

6.    Customs delays. If you need the goods urgently, then its sods law that your order will have been the one selected by customs for inspection. Not much that can be done other than to provide your courier with a letter or authentication prior to dispatch to minimise the risk. This doesn’t help this time, but may for future reference.
If none of the above works then search for a UK supplier that a) holds blank USB Memory sticks and b) can print within the timeframe required. Follow this up with a phone call to your corporate lawyer to get your money back from the cowboys that produced the original batch.

Finally, always insist on a pre-production working sample. That way, you will know exactly what you are going to receive and as such sleep easier at night!