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Posts Tagged ‘Branded USB’

Show Off Your Branded USB Sticks in our Premium White Gift Boxes

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Although there are promising signs of recovery in the business markets at the moment it’s still tough. We might be on the path to economic recovery but we’re by no means there just yet. The UK seems better placed than most with the IMF expected today to announce an upgrade in the UK’s national output from 1.9% to 2.4%. This of course is a “forecast” but nevertheless it does seem to support the general consensus that things are on the turn.

The challenge for any business and it’s particularly true in challenging market conditions, is to continue to drive growth and stimulate sales. Although by no means the complete answer, promotional USB sticks used as part of a wider marketing campaign have been proven to drive brand and product awareness and to lift sales.

Of the millions of promotional and branded USB memory sticks that are given away each year the ones that look the best, create the biggest impact and generate the most positive feedback are either fully customised (bespoke 3D) models or those that are handed out in a good quality printed (or engraved) gift box.

USB-Gift-Boxes-Small-White

USB-Gift-Boxes-Small-White

Although everyone seems to love being given a freebie giveaway and USB sticks still rate of the most desired and popular promotional gift (source: BPMA survey 2012 when 45% of those asked said they would prefer to be given a USB stick in preference to any other promotional product) the challenge with so many being given away is to make yours stand out from the crowd. Getting creative with the design and commissioning a unique 3D custom USB is one way of doing this but custom models can take time (typically 4-6 weeks) and they are a little more expensive than “standard” models that are available in just 24hrs.

A less expensive option is to hand out your promotional USB sticks in a printed, engraved or personalised gift box. These come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. Some look better engraved (the small wooden boxes) and some look better printed. At USB2U the box that is the most popular with our customers is our premium white glossy box – it’s popular because it’s white so it works with pretty much any brand, it has a really nice glossy, premium feel to it and it comes with a foam insert that can be laser cut to match any USB stick that it’s supplied with.

We’ve also added a smaller version of the Premium White USB gift box to our range – it’s available from today and we’ll be showcasing it at the forthcoming Photography Show 2014 (held at the NEC from the 1st -4th March).

USB Gift Boxes - Premium White Small

USB Gift Boxes - Premium White Small

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Advice For Buying Branded USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

Friday, December 20th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buying USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

Buying USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

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Pimp Up Your Branded USB Memory Sticks

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

We love our range of branded USB memory sticks and we think they look just great on their own but we understand that some people like their promotional products to be a little bit flashier, to have a bit more “bling” and to really make an impact when they’re handed out. If you fall into this category then here are a couple of simple things you might want to consider when you order you next batch if USB sticks:

Attach an Engraved Dog Tag to your USB sticks – these cute little metal dog tags are the latest addition to our range of accessories. We can engrave them with any message, web address, phone number or simply engrave your logo on the dog tag as well as the USB sticks – combine them with a lanyard and/or keyring to make a really stand-out package.

Pimp Up Your USB Sticks With an Engraved Dog Tag

Pimp Up Your USB Sticks With an Engraved Dog Tag

Print the standard white gift boxes they come in – most of our USB sticks are supplied in a free plain white gift box but these can be pimped-up for relatively little extra cost. Again, anything can be printed on them (front and back) including your contact details, your website address and/or your logo. For a relatively small extra cost your USB package will look tons better. There’s no impact on lead times because the white boxes are held in stock in the UK and they can be printed in just a few hours.

Printed White Gift Boxes for Your USB Sticks

Printed White Gift Boxes for Your USB Sticks

Add a lanyard (a simple neck-strap) – we have tens of thousands of these in stock in the UK in a wide range of colours and they work really well with any of our USB flash drives – ideally choose a colour that works well with one of the colours in your logo or compliments the colour of the USB drive – don’t just choose a boring black lanyard because it’s an easy decision.

Upgrade to a top-end premium gift box – we have a wide range of gift boxes including several wooden boxes that look great engraved or printed, some top quality white premium gift boxes that look stunning printed and several different versions of tins. All of them come with custom cut foam to hold your USB sticks in place (our wooden slider boxes come with a fine coconut coir inlay).

UBS-Draw-String-Bags

UBS-Draw-String-Bags

Put them all in Velvet Drawstring Bag – for that final touch of luxury why not hand them out in one of our little velvet drawstring bags!

If any of these have sparked your interest just give us a call for prices and options – all of the accessories listed above are held in the UK and can be personalised and delivered (with your USB sticks) in as little as 24hrs.

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USB2U Welcomes Paul, Bethany, Tracey and John-Paul to the team

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

It’s been a very busy year at USB2U with more and more customers turning to us to supply them with their branded USB memory sticks. Our customer numbers have rocketed, sales enquiries continue to increase and more importantly our customer seem to love what we do. Don’t take our word for it check out the hundreds of lovely comments on TrustPilot from our customers from the past few months and you’ll get a good feel for what our customers think about the service we offer.

What’s really encouraging is the number of sales to customers outside of the UK and the stellar growth in sales to professional photographers. The increase in sales in the Photography sector was largely expected but the growth from outside of the UK (and in countries as far afield as Australia) has been really surprising – with little to no advertising outside of the UK our international growth is largely being driven by word of mouth which is really gratifying.

Of course with all of this increased activity we need more great people to help us grow the business and to support our customers – it’s critical to us that we maintain the same of level of service we’ve always prided ourselves on.

With this in mind we’ve been on a bit of a recruitment splurge and we’re delighted to announce that Paul, Bethany, Tracey and Jean-Paul have joined our team. Bethany is going to focus on our Professional Photographer customers (it helps that her mum is a highly regarded local professional photographer), Tracey will be supporting the sales team and Paul and John-Paul are seasoned sales professionals who will give us scope to expand the business in 2014.

USB2U-Hires-new-staff-to-underpin 2014 growth

USB2U-Hires-new-staff-to-underpin 2014 growth

Now in our 12th year we’re one of the leading suppliers of branded USB memory sticks in Europe and whilst we don’t have any plans for world domination it would be nice to see further growth in our non-UK sales in 2014 – remember we can, and do, ship anywhere in the world!

So if you’re looking for a trusted supplier for your promotional USB flash drive in 2014 then irrespective of where you are in the world why not give us a try. If you’re a professional photographer and you’re looking to move to USB sticks from CD’s and DVD’s then give Bethany a call – she knows her stuff and she’d love to hear from you!

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C-Type USB Connectors Will Result in Slimmed Down USB Memory Sticks

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The introduction of the USB standards in the mid-1990s revolutionised how peripherals connected and interacted with computers. It also saw the dawn of a range of new products of which the flag ship was the USB Flash Drive.

Over the past 15 years there has been little change to the physical appearance of the USB port / connection.

However, all this is about to change. The Promoter Group which is currently made up of representatives from Intel, HP, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments, announce the new C-type USB.

The primary change will be the reduced in size of the USB port itself which will slim down considerably. It also has the added benefit of the connector being reversible. It means users of USBs will no longer have to worry which way round the port is facing when plugging into a device. How many times have you been caught out!

The change has come from consumer demand for thinner and sleeker products and as a response to Apple’s proprietary lightning cable.

So what will be the benefits?

  • A smaller size – the connector will be about the same size as the micro-USB format used by many smartphones and tablets
  • There will be greater support for power charging; allowing up to 100 watts
  • Data speed transfers of up to 10 Gbps, twice as much as is currently available.

The specification is due to be completed by mid-2014, and the first product on the market by 2016.

So what does this mean for the USB Flash drive, well in short it will continue to be around for some time yet. The benefit of having a portable, lightweight, fast data delivery and storage device will continue to a key driver for users. There are many other reasons for the current and future popularity of Branded USB memory sticks:

  1. Branded USB Memory sticks are a unique way to get a brand in front of an existing or potential ‘key’ customers.
  2. Branded USB Memory sticks are a great way to disseminate information to key customers, staff, or city analysts.  The data can be passive, so the user would need to click on the files, or interactive for a more immersive experience.
  3. Branded USB Memory sticks are excellent ‘keep sakes’ and with a high probability that users will save their own information on them. Making the USB a valued tool that has a high intrinsic value.
  4. The cost of USB Flash Memory has fallen dramatically over the past few years, so they have become a far more cost effective promotional item.
  5. The speed of delivery is now as little as 24hrs, which includes a logo print – so ideal for emergency use.
  6. Security and encryption technology is now well advanced to protect any sensitive information stored on the Branded Memory sticks.

So whilst the USB will slim down, the benefits will still be as large as ever.

Current Branded USB Memory Sticks Will Get Smaller

Current Branded USB Memory Sticks Will Get Smaller

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Branded USB Gives Hope To Traditional Christmas Cards

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

It will come as no surprise that the tradition of sending Christmas cards is in decline, with the total sent out this year expected to be down by over 140 million from five years ago.

One of the key factors cited for this decline is the average cost of a Christmas card which now stands at £1.50!
An important consequent of this decline is the loss of revenue for charities, who have historically found this a significant source of income.

It is unlikely that this decline will be arrested, unless the card itself moves into the 21st century. This is part covered with the growth of e-cards, but with so many emails being received, there is little perceived value and they are soon filed in the delete folder.

However, there is a technology that could breathe new life into the card market. It is the humble Branded USB Memory stick. For a little more that the price of a paper card, individuals, families and businesses can print a personalised message onto a USB memory stick, added photos, videos, letters, including links to social media site such as Facebook and so much more.

USB Memory Sticks - The New Christmas Card

USB Memory Sticks - The New Christmas Card

There are a range of memory sticks that could be used. The most popular are:

  • The Twister model which comes with a swivel action. The benefit of this model is that there is no cap to lose, it is robust and comes in a range of different colours. The metal clip can also be reprinted and replaced, so the opportunity to reuse for the following Christmas or other events.
  • USB Pen – as the name infers is it a combination USB and writing pen. These have a real wow factor, can be fully branded and a great keepsake. Ideal for children to take to school, college or university.
  • Finally, new wafer thin USB technology has allowed the development of a USB in the shape of a business card which is only 2mm thin. It can have a picture perfect image printed on to it and is light and cost effective to post.

It also has the added benefit of allowing the user to utilise the Branded USB Memory stick for their own use, during and after the festivities. A win for the sender, the recipient, and charities if they choose to offer these.

With the UK greetings card market worth over £1.5b pa the opportunity for the USB Card is certainly one to watch.

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That’s A Pretty Dumb Thing to Say to Your Professional Photographer Customers

Friday, May 24th, 2013

If you run a global on line Photo storage and sharing service that has thousands and thousands of professional photographers as users (and many as fee paying users) then surely the last thing you want to do when announcing a major upgrade to the service is to alienate them.

Well, step forward Marissa Mayer Yahoo’s CEO whose company owns and runs Flickr – On Tuesday of this week Mayer said “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing, really, as a professional photographer.”

Understandably professional photographers and the various associations that represent them around the world have reacted with shock, dismay and disappointment.

The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) boasts 25,000 members in 54 countries and they are not happy:

“Mayer could not be more wrong, and her statement shows a lack of understanding that is difficult to comprehend from someone who is a supposed industry leader. “

“None of us would presume that purchasing a set of quality kitchen knives makes us a chef, or that owning a sports car makes us a race car driver. And purchasing a top-notch camera does not miraculously endow the owner with the knowledge and experience needed to create professional-quality images. In reality, acquiring such skills takes years, even a lifetime.” Read the full statement here.

Whilst Mayer has tried to downplay the furore her statement has caused by issuing a clarification on Twitter it’s not going to be enough for many photographers many of whom have been strong advocates of Flickr in the past.

At USB2U we’re a “Pro” user of Flickr simply because we don’t like or want adverts on the pages. We use to showcase our branded USB memory sticks and we use the service because historically it’s been a good vehicle for us to communicate what we’re about and what we can do to professional photographers – this might be up for review depending on what happens over the next few weeks!

If you prefer you can also view lots of images of our products on our USB2U Pinterest pages – in this day and age it makes sense to have a couple of alternatives in place!

Flickr USB Pages

Flickr USB Pages

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Chinese Public Holidays – Why it Matters When Buying USB Memory Sticks

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The majority of Chinese workers live and work in cities, whilst many of their relatives remain in their ancestral towns / villages. With such a vast country, returning home can take many hours, if not days. This coupled with increased prosperity and disposable income has resulted in national holidays taking on greater importance.

The 4th April is the start of ‘Tomb Sweeping’ and is regarded as the most important custom in the Qingming Festival from which the name of Tomb-sweeping day is got. Cleaning the tomb and paying respect to the dead person with offerings are the two important parts of remembering the past relatives. Weeds around the tomb are cleared away and fresh soil is added to show care of the dead. The dead person’s favourite food and wine are taken to sacrifice to them, along with paper resembling money. This is all burned in the hope that the deceased are not lacking food and money.

So why would this impact on Branded USB Memory sticks? In short, the vast majority of Promotional USB Memory sticks are manufactured in the Far East, in particular China. This includes all the component manufacturers such as flash chip suppliers and the assembly / finishing factories.

On the run up to a major holiday, chip manufacturer start to slow and stop production. This in return results in a shortage of supply and increase in prices prior to and for a short period after the holiday.

The leadtime for delivery is also increased as factories and couriers will shut over the holiday period. This delay is compounded by backlogs that are built up at Chinese Customs, which can add several days to the delivery.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Firstly try to order ahead of major holidays (see list below) and if this is not possible look for a provider that holds UK stock of USB Memory Sticks, such as USB2U.

Chinese New Year has passed and the price of USB flash has rocketed. They are starting to stabilise now, but the pattern will continue, so be mindful if you are looking to order branded USB memory stick or frankly any Chinese manufactured products.

 

 

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The Chronology of a Rush Request for Printed USB Memory Sticks

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

If you find yourself up against a tight deadline for printed USB memory sticks then it’s worth knowing that USB2U offer a “rush” service that can often deliver them in under 24hrs. So whether you’ve been let down by another supplier, you simply “forgot” to order them or more likely your boss has decided at the last minute that printed USB sticks would be a good idea, don’t panic, there is typically always a solution.

Fortunately at USB2U we carry lots of blank stock (different models in different memory sizes) and we can print, engrave and load data in house so we have complete control of the end to end process. Because of this we can typically flex our print schedule to help customers who are in a real bind and need their flash drives the very next day.

Below is a real-life example of how we helped a rescue a London Agency who at the last minute realised they needed branded (and dataloaded) USB Sticks for a press event being run by one of their blue-chip clients the following day:

Day 1 – 3.00pm

Customer calls asking if there is any way we could print 250 x 2GB USB sticks with their clients’ logo and get them delivered to central London before noon the following day? Oh, and all 250 USB sticks also need pre-loading with a series of PDF’s PowerPoint Slides and a short video.

Day 1 – 3.10pm

The account manager checks with the design/print team to see if we can schedule the job and checks with the data loading team to see if they can “squeeze in” a last minute job. Everyone is up for it but with only 2hrs before our courier collects it’s going to be tight so to be on the safe side we agree with the customer that a same day van can be organised for the morning.

Day 1 – 3.20pm

Customer signs off the order confirmation form and emails through their artwork and data and arranges payment by credit card.

Day 1 – 3.30pm

Our designers send a mock-up back to the customer of how their printed USB sticks will look – all approved.

Day 1 – 4.00pm

All 250 USB sticks have had the customers files copied onto them and they are passed to the print team.

Day 1 – 4.45pm

The USB sticks are printed as per the mock-up

Day 1 – 4.50pm

The printed and data-loaded USB sticks are QA checked, virus checked and individually packed into small polythene bags. The order is then finally packed into a USB2U carton, a small “thank you” card and pack of Haribo sweets is include with the order.

Day 1 – 5pm

The customers boxed order for 250 printed and data loaded sticks is collected by our overnight courier just 2 hours after the initial enquiry. The customer is sent the tracking details by email (the order has been sent on a pre-noon service) and the same day van that was put on “standby” is cancelled.

Day 2 – 11am

The printed USB sticks are delivered to the Press Event venue in Central London and the day is saved! The London Agency and their client are delighted and just a little bit stunned that in just 20hrs from making a phone call they have the branded USB sticks they wanted.

Now, ideally we’d like a little more time to perform these miracles but we have proven time and time again that it is possible. Every day we print and data load USB sticks for delivery the following day, most customers call in the morning rather than at 3pm in the afternoon and these extra few hours do help but if you are really, really up against it then call us – we like a challenge and we’ll do everything we can reasonably do to help.

Rush Service USB Flash Drives

Rush Service USB Flash Drives

 

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Brand Building With Logo Printed USB Flash Drives

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

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

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

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

Branded USB Flash Drives

Branded USB Flash Drives

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

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

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

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