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Advice for Buying Branded USB Memory

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Branded UBS memory sticks are an excellent way to promote your business, to support the launch of a new product(s), to distribute important news and/or press releases and finally to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.

There are lots of promotional products on the market to choose from including popular products like pens, cups, bags etc. but they simply don’t offer the same level of perceived value and usefulness. Don’t just take our word for it because there are plenty of surveys available (including one from the highly regarded BPMA) that put USB sticks at the top of peoples most wanted list.

If you’ve decided promotional USB sticks are for you then there are some basic rules to follow when buying them:

  1. Take time to choose a USB stick that will work with your brand: There are hundreds, if not thousands of different styles of USB memory sticks to choose from. Most are manufactured from plastic but they are also available in metal, cardboard, wood and some are trimmed with leather.

    The most popular types tend to be “cap-less” with one particular model – “The Twister” dominating the market.

    Photographers tend to choose more “upmarket” wooden or leather drives whilst lots of conference organisers choose dual purpose products like USB writing pens and USB paper clips.

  2. Memory capacity: The general rule is to buy the largest capacity you can afford (unless you plan to simply hand them out like sweets at a show).

    If you want people to hang onto your USB sticks and continue to use them then you need to make sure there is enough memory on the sticks for their daily needs. Give them something useful – a good size to aim for is a 1GB or 2GB.

  3. Choosing the right logo to print (or engrave): If you have a complex design or logo that includes graduated colours and/or tints then you will limit the range of USB flash drive that will take this type of print. Most USB sticks only have a print area of around 2cm-3cm so unless you are willing to simplify your logo it’s not going to look great on a USB stick.If you must print a complicated logo then choose something like a USB credit card because these can take a full colour print to both sides of the card.
  4. Artwork formats:  The general rule of thumb is to supply the best (highest resolution) artwork you can lay your hands on. Ideally you need vectorised artwork in .EPS or .AI format.

    If you just “grab” a logo from your web site or PowerPoint slides the final print will look very patchy and blotchy.

  5. USB Sticks look better in a box:  By default promotional USB memory sticks are supplied “in bulk” – this normally means in simply poly bags or plain white boxes. These “protect” the sticks in transit but they don’ really add to the overall impact when you hand them out.

    There are now lots of different USB packaging options to choose from so just as you take time to think about your USB sticks take time to consider how you want them packaged. Engraved wooden boxes or printed high quality white gift boxes look fantastic and don’t add much to the overall price.

  6. Make sure you can get them delivered in time: It’s critical that you allow enough time for your USB sticks to be manufactured, printed and delivered – ideally build in a day or so contingency. The typical lead time for printed USB drives is 10 working days so use this as a general rule of thumb.

    USB2U have over 20 different models of USB sticks they hold in stock in the UK and can deliver in as little as 24hrs so start with these if you’re working to a tight deadline.

  7. Cheapest isn’t always the best: There are lots of fake and sub-standard USB drives around at the moment and unless you’re an expert it’s difficult to tell what you’re buying. Even companies that claim to offer Grade A chips are often passing off masked and re-cycled USB’s as Grade A. The usual rules apply – if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
  8. Get references: Lots of suppliers of USB memory sticks seem to pop-up overnight and many disappear just as quickly. Before you place any order ideally get references from other customers or check out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot. At USB2U we’ve been around for nearly 11 years and in this time we’ve supplied millions of USB sticks to tens of thousands of customers. We’re also rated as “Excellent” on Trustpilot where we consistently get 5* reviews. We’re also ranked No.1 in the Promotional Items Category in the UK.
Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

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Top 10 Tips For Buying Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Promotional USB flash drives are one of the big success stories of the promotional sector over the past few years. Given just how good they look when they are printed and how popular they are with anyone they are given to their popularity should come as no surprise.

Of course the ability to pre-load them with sales material, technical files, media files (web links etc.) and press releases makes it possible to offset the cost, or a significant proportion of the costs, of buying them.

Significant savings can be made by dramatically reducing your print and transport cots and loading the information digitally on the memory sticks!

If you are considering buying promotional USB flash drives then here are our Top 10 tips:

  1. Make sure you choose a style and design of USB memory stick that reflects your company and more importantly will work with your brand: There are literally thousands of different styles of USB memory sticks to choose from; most are manufactured from plastic but they are also available in metal, cardboard, wood and some are trimmed with leather.

    The most popular types tend to be “cap-less” with one particular model – The Rotate (or Twister as it’s sometimes called) dominating the market.

    If you want to go for something a little bit different then you might want to think about Leather USB flash drives (good for VIP and high net worth customers), engraved metal flash drives are a little more rugged/robust so they make a good option for students and silicon USB wristbands are great for the youth market.

  2. Memory capacity: There is a balance between choosing flash memo based on what you can afford and stretching to a larger memory size that might make the USB sticks more attractive to the person you are giving them to.

    If you want people to keep your USB sticks and continue to use them then you need to make sure there is enough memory on the sticks for their daily needs. It’s all about balance – there is little point in paying for memory that you don’t need for your own pre-loaded data but you need to give people something that is useful – a good size to aim for is a 1GB or 2GB.

  3. Choosing the right logo: If you have a complex design or logo that includes graduated colours and/or tints then you will limit the number of USB sticks you can choose. Most USB sticks only have a print area of around 2cm-3cm so unless you are willing to simplify your logo it’s not going to look great on a USB stick.

    If you must print a complicated logo then choose something like a USB credit card because these can take a full colour print to both sides of the card.

    USB Credit Cards

    USB Credit Cards

  4. Print options: Most USB memory sticks used for promotional purposes are spot printed but they can also be laser engraved or embossed. A less well known option is to use “Dome Stickers” – these stickers are not to be confused with “cheap and cheerful” stickers. Dome stickers look fantastic and the print on the sticker is protected under a layer of resin.
  5. Artwork formats: The general rule of thumb is to supply the best (highest resolution) artwork you can lay your hands on. Ideally you need vectorised artwork in .EPS or .AI format.

    If you just “grab” a logo from your web site or PowerPoint slides the final print will look very patchy and blotchy.

  6. Do you need any packaging? Most suppliers of promotional USB sticks will either supply them in bulk in trays or cheap poly/bubble bags. These “protect” the sticks in transit but they need taking out of these before they are handed out. Just as there are lots of different style of USB sticks there are lots of styles and types of gift boxes to put them in – some are offered for free (if you ask for them) but “premium” products that can be printed or engraved will cost.
  7. Think about accessories: Keyrings, and lanyards are a popular option to “add value” to your promotional USB sticks. Lanyards can also be printed to increase your brand exposure and if ordered at the same time as your USB sticks they will be significantly cheaper.
  8. Be very, very clear on your timeframes: It’s critical that you allow enough time for your USB sticks and make it clear to your supplier exactly when you must have the drives delivered – ideally build in a day or so contingency. The typical lead time for printed USB drives is 10 working days so use this as a general rule of thumb.  A few suppliers  offer a “rush” service where they print but you will typically pay more for this and reduce your design options.
  9. Cheapest isn’t always the best: If you get a quote for printed flash drives that seems “cheap” in comparison to others you may have had then make sure make sure the prices you are being quoted are for new, Grade A chips and not re-cycled or Grade B chips. Recycled, Grade B chips tend to be slower and have a much great failure rate which will reflect badly on your brand
  10. Get references: Lots of “suppliers of Promotional USB memory sticks” seem to pop-up overnight and many disappear just as quickly. Before you place any order ideally get some reference from other customers or check out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot.
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Top 10 Tips For Buying USB Flash Drives Printed With Your Logo On

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The phenomenal growth in the use of USB flash drives by the companies, schools, universities and the promotional sector continues unabated. Perhaps this should come as no surprise when you consider just how good printed USB flash drives look and how popular they are with the recipients. The fact that you can pre-load them with sales material, presentation files, media files, press releases etc. means that it is possible to offset the cost (or a large chunk of the costs) of buying them against the savings made in not printing or transporting lots of printed collateral around.

Our Top 10 tips for buying USB flash drives printed with your logo on are:

1. Think carefully about which style of USB flash drive is right for your company and more importantly your brand/logo: There are hundreds if not thousands of different designs of USB flash drives on the market, most are manufactured from plastic but there are also USB drives available manufactured from leather, metal, cardboard or wood. The most popular promotional USB flash drive is the “Twister” because its relatively small, it has no cap to lose and it comes in a wide range of colours and it looks great printed.

Just because the majority are buying the “Twister” don’t just accept this as the de facto option for your company. Think about who you are going to give them to. For example Leather USB flash drives go down well with high net worth clients because of their perceived value, metal flash drives are a little more rugged/robust so might be better suited for students and USB wristbands are great for the youth market.

Twister Flash Drives

Twister Flash Drives

2. Choose the right memory capacity: Many people just buy the cheapest memory sticks they can find, which invariably means a low capacity flash drive with say 64MB or 128MB of memory. The problem with this is that there is a balance between choosing flash memory capacity based on your budget versus a higher level of memory that makes the flash drive more appealing to the recipient.

If one of the reasons for buying the flash drives is to get brand exposure and/or loyalty from repeated usage then you’ll fail in this objective if you give away flash drives with very little storage on them This can be exacerbated if you pre-load and “lock” your own company data onto the flash drives and in doing so use up a large proportion of the available storage space. Its all about balance – there’s no point paying for memory that you don’t need for your own data but you want people to use the flash drives and promote your product or company effectively. A good size to aim for is a 1GB or 2GB.

Leather USB

Leather USB

3. Choose the right logo to print onto the USB Sticks: If your company logo is complex, contains graduated colours and/or tints then you choice of USB drive will be limited to those that can support full colour printing. Unless you are printing onto a USB credit card the print area you’ll be working with is relatively small. Its not unusual for complex logo’s to be simplified before being printed onto a USB drive – this can either be done by reducing the number of colours or supplying a version with solid colours rather than tones/tints.

4. Select the right printing option: Typically flash drives are “spot printed” but they can also be laser engraved or embossed. Another option that’s growing in popularity is to use “Dome Stickers” – these stickers are not to be confused with “cheap and cheerful” stickers. Dome stickers look fantastic and the print on the sticker is protected under a layer of resin.

USB Credit Cards

USB Credit Cards

5. Have your artwork available in the right format: Don’t expect great looking printed USB drives to be produced from images “grabbed” from your web site or supplied in Jpeg format. To get a really good quality print you need to supply your artwork in the highest resolution possible and ideally in .EPS or .AI format.

6. Think about your packaging needs: The default option with many suppliers of branded USB flash drives is to supply the printed drives in bulk (in trays or polythene bags). Some will offer “free” or discounted options for other gift box and most will offer a premium range of boxes including tin presentation boxes or frosted plastic boxes with magnetic clasps (both of which can be printed)

7. Do you need any accessories: Keyrings, carabineers and lanyards are a great option to “add value” to your printed USB flash drives by making it more them easier to carry.  Lanyards or carabineers can also be printed up to increase your brand exposure and if ordered at the same time as your flash drives will only add pennies to the unit cost.

USB_Boxes

USB_Boxes

8. Define your timeframes very clearly: Its critical that you both allow enough time for your USB drives and make it clear to any supplier exactly when you must have the drives delivered. The typical lead time for printed USB drives is 10 working days so use this as a general rule of thumb and ideally allow a couple of extra days to be on the safe side.

Some suppliers will offer a “rush” service where they print onto stock held locally but you will typically pay more for this and reduce your design options.

9. Cheapest isn’t always the best: If you get a quote for printed flash drives that seems “cheap” in comparison to others you may have had then make sure make sure the prices you are being quoted are for new, Grade A chips and not re-cycled or Grade B chips. Recycled, Grade B chips tend to be slower and have a much great failure rate which will reflect badly on your brand

10. Get references: In the highly competitive world of printed USB flash drives lots of companies “appear overnight” and claim to be experts. The reality is that they’re out to make a ‘quick buck’ from unsuspecting customers so don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from companies they have supplied to. Pre and post sales support from designated account managers will help to ensure that whole process runs smoothly and you are provided with the correct information from the outset. Remember that guarantees on products are worthless if the company is not around to honour them.

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If You’re Buying Branded USB Memory Stick Read This First

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The once humble and now ubiquitous USB memory stick is everywhere. The promotion and advertising market is awash with them. It’s rare to attend a conference, exhibition or seminar and not come away with at least one of these little beauties. The reason is understandable – they are just a fantastic way of distributing data, slides, sales material etc. whilst at the same time giving the recipient something that is useful and something that promotes your brand beyond the event.

But before you rush to buy branded memory sticks for your own event or campaign there are a number of critical factors you must consider. The onus is on you to know this because not all suppliers are equal when it comes to absolute disclosure of what they are supplying

Point #1 – Am I getting A Grade (new) Memory Chips?

Its not particularly well known but flash memory chips are graded.  Only Grade A memory chips are new and give you access to the full amount of advertised memory on the Chip. All other grades of memory chip make less of the advertised memory available for use and in some cases are re-cycled. In other words they are memory chips taken out of used kit or recovered from USB sticks that have failed the build QA process. If you end up with anything other than Grade A memory chips you are likely to experience a higher failure rate, you won’t be able to store as much information on the stick as 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

Point #2 – USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 and does it matter.

The short answer is yes. Anything using USB 1.1 is old. Version 2.0 has been around for several years and is the current standard, its faster and more reliable and you should expect all of your branded USB memory sticks to be Version 2.0. Users will get frustrated with the slow transfer speeds of USB 1.1 sticks and abandon them pretty quickly which is not what you want.

Point #3 – RoHS Compliance – You need to understand what this is.

RoHS stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances and it applies to thousands of electrical and computer parts and components imported into the EU. This is EU Legislation and you must comply with it. Finding out you have imported non-RoHS compliant products and then pushing the blame back to your supplier won’t wash. The fines are significant so ensure you ask the right questions and get copies of RoHS certificates.

Point #4 – WEEE Compliance – Its Your Responsibility

The WEEE directive is designed to actively encourage reuse and recycling. The Directive states that 65% of IT equipment must be recycled, and materials such as old LCD displays and the larger CRT display, printed circuit boards, batteries and computers must be pre-treated before disposal. USB memory sticks fall into the same category and must be supported by a WEEE recycling scheme that allows the end user or recipient of the promotional USB stick to return it for ethical recycling. If you fail in your obligations to support this then you could be prosecuted.

Point # 5 – REACH Compliance – What do you need to know?

This new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use within industry also has a direct bearing on branded USB Memory sticks. The regulation deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. This new law came into force on 1st June 2007.

The legislation is intended to enhance the protection of human health and to protect the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.

Point # 6 – Choose a reputable supplier with a proven track record.

The above points illustrate that there is a little more to buying branded USB memory sticks than just choosing the cheapest supplier. You have a corporate responsibility to understand your obligations and to ensure you comply. An easy way to do this is to work with a supplier of branded USB Memory Sticks that has the experience and expertise to take all of this pain away from you. USB2U is such a supplier.

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