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USB2U News

Iceland Volcano Delays Branded Flash Drive Orders

Posted by USB2U on 16th April 2010 | Permalink

It not just passengers that are being impacted by the activities of the Icelandic Volcano, anyone waiting for the delivery of branded USB flash drives over the next few days could be let down as well.

Red Hot Branded Flash Drives

The Air Traffic Control Body for the UK, Nats, has just announced an extension of the restrictions into and out of UK airspace until Saturday 0100BST at the earliest. With conditions deteriorating today its anyones guess when the restrictions will be lifted and “normal service” resumes.

Realistically even when the restrictions are lifted it will be days, if not weeks, before things return to normal.

The majority of branded flash drives are manufactured and printed in China and then air freighted into the UK with carriers like TNT, DHL and UPS.  The operations of these carriers are all severely impacted by the suspension of flights in and out of the UK and as such there will be many customers anxiously waiting for news on their branded USB flash drive orders.

If you have got an event, show, activity which the USB flash drives were ordered for and it looks like they are not going to arrive in time you could consider getting some printed in the UK.

At USB2U we hold significant quantities of blank (un-printed) USB memory sticks that we can get printed up and delivered to you within 48hrs. Even if we don’t have exactly the same model or size of the ones you’ve ordered we will have something that will get you out of trouble.

We can’t suggest that we anticipated the eruption of the Volcano but we do always carry UK stock to allow us to provide a “Rush” service to our customers. Whether you been let down by a Volcano, another supplier or you just need branded flash drives in a hurry we can help so pick up the phone and give us a ring to talk through you requirements.


Xbox 360 Presents New Opportunity for Promotional USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 7th April 2010 | Permalink

Microsoft has just released a software update for its incredibly popular games console, the Xbox 360. Nothing new about this you might think as these updates are pretty regular occurrences but the exciting thing about this upgrade is that it allows users of the Xbox 360 to use USB flash drives to extend the consoles storage capabilities!

Xbox 360 USB Interface Update

This exciting new development will allow Xbox gamers to save their games and other content directly to a removable USB flash drive and then take it with them to other locations. Of course this is something that users of PC’s have been used to doing for years but not on the Xbox – well until yesterday!

Microsoft are set to launch their own range of branded USB memory sticks in May 2010 but you don’t have to wait until then to take advantage of this new feature because any USB flash drive with a capacity of more than 1GB and up to a maximum of 16Gb will do.

For the promotions industry this development opens up all sorts of new and interesting opportunities. The growth in the use of branded flash drives for promotional purposes has been immense over the last few years as companies recognise consumer demand for these flash drives and tap into this by offering free promotional flash drives pre-loaded with data to encourage use of their products.

Xbox 360 USB Branded Flash Drive

We expect to see a number of companies now come forward and develop a range of branded USB flash drives pre-loaded with “teaser” content aimed specifically at the Xbox demographic. Up until now its been much harder for marketers to target the gaming community with a branded memory stick but this move by Microsoft is bound to get the Creative Directors of many advertising and promotional agencies thinking.

Xbox Custom USB Promotional

Of course USB flash drives don’t need to be restricted to boring rectangular designs that we’re all used to. If you really want to capture the imagination of the Xbox community what about a custom USB flash drive in the shape of one of the weapons from Call of Duty or if that’s too politically incorrect what about a custom USB flash drive in the shape of a Forza Motorsport key fob for the Forza Xbox game.

Expect a plethora of promotional and giveaway Xbox 360 flash drives to underpin the launch of forthcoming games titles.


Free Data Loading On Printed Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 30th March 2010 | Permalink

Rather than silly offers of Free Easter Eggs with every order we thought that in the current financial climate our customers might appreciate something a little more tangible. So during April 2010 we are offering free data loading on all orders for printed flash drives. That’s right the we will load your data onto all of your memory sticks for free, nada, zip, nothing, zilch in fact we won’t charge you for data-loading. Got it!

FREE USB Dataload with orders!

OK there are a couple of catches but they are reasonable ones:

  1. You have to buy the memory sticks from us – I’m afraid we won’t be data-loading them for free if you’ve purchased them from another supplier. We do offer just data loading so if this is a service you need just call us for a quote.
  2. The free offer only applies to orders where we are manufacturing the memory sticks, printing them and data loading them at our factory in China. In other words the free offer does not apply to our UK “rush” stock and rush service.
  3. The maximum of data we will load for free is a generous 100Mb.

Data loading usually costs up around 40p per stick so on an order for 500 branded memory sticks the savings are considerable. You don’t have to order 500 sticks to take advantage of this offer. Our minimum order is 50 pieces.

Why take advantage of this offer? Well a flash drive with your logo or brand printed on makes an excellent giveaway or promotional item. They are popular, well received, they are useful and they get noticed and more importantly they get your brand noticed every time they are used.

If you don’t pre-load data onto the sticks before they are given away then you’re missing a trick. You are after all paying for the memory in the memory stick so you might as well use it. Think about the range of material you could load onto the sticks. Typical examples would include sales brochures, price lists, press releases, presentation slides, media files, links to your website and product user manuals.

Given that it’s free you might as well take advantage of this cracking Easter offer. It won’t last forever but it’s certainly worth more than a freebie Easter egg!


Branded Flash Drives – Certainly No Flash in the Pan

Posted by USB2U on 25th February 2010 | Permalink

When something is described as being a “flash in the pan” its generally considered to be a failure or something that you assumed would offer some value but let you down when it came to the crunch. Believed to have derived from a failure of gunpowder charges in flintlock muskets (the “pan” in the musket held the gunpowder and if it failed to ignite and discharge the round it was described as a “flash in the pan”.

Twisters - Pantone Matched

Branded and Promotional Flash Drives certainly don’t fall into this category. In fact, flash drives (also called memory sticks, USB pen drives and thumb drives) are on set to become one of the best selling promotional products of recent times. Why? Well, these humble little drives deliver on so many levels:

Fantastic Brand Ambassador – Flash drives carry print incredibly well and can even be produced in a 3-D representation of your brand or product. The print quality achievable today by the factories that produce the flash drives is superb with many drives now able to support photo realistic printing. So, no matter how complex a logo or brand is, it can be reproduced to a very high standard.

High Perceived Value – Anyone given a flash drive is immediately going to recognise the worth of what they have been given and will attach a high perceived value to the item. By association this “value” transfers to any brand printed on the drive and engenders a feeling of gratitude and satisfaction.

Easy Distribution of Sales Data and Files – unlike inert promotional products such as umbrellas, mugs, caps etc. flash drives give you the capability to pre-load your sales material onto the flash drive. This is an incredibly powerful capability because not only can you distribute easily and cheaply all of your brochures, price lists, presentation slides but you can also include media files and applications that start automatically as soon as the flash drive is inserted in any USB port on a PC.

Small and Portable – Memory sticks have never been the largest of products but even so the current generation are roughly 25% smaller than they were a couple of years ago. This is good news not just in terms of portability for anyone that is given a promotional flash drive but also for any company having to transport flash drives to a show or event. Compare the shipping overhead of transporting 1,000 small flash drives around compared to 1,000 umbrellas or mugs.

High levels of repeat usage – The fact that flash drives are very popular for saving data to and carry files around means they are handy for use at work, school and home. As a consequence they get high levels of repeated use and with this there is repeated brand exposure.

Relatively inexpensive – Whilst they might be a little more money than a mug, a keyring or a cap they are still relatively inexpensive and the costs can be kept low by ordering smaller memory sizes. Be careful you don’t go too low though because its important if you want to give the recipient enough memory storage and motivation to use the flash drive. When you factor in the costs you can offset on transport, printing of brochures and sales literature and combine this with the benefits outlined above branded flash drives more than stack up in terms of cost vs benefit.

Without doubt branded flash drives are here to stay, they deliver time and time again in terms of real value to the giver and receiver and as such they will never be a “flash in the pan”


Scratch Resistant Flash Drives That Give Greater Protection to Printed Logos

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

Whilst the vast majority of printed USB flash drives are pretty robust and will brush off the knocks and bumps of everyday use, the logo that you get printed onto them will ultimately wear off and scratch over time.

Although most printed flash drives are protected with a lacquer, which the factory applies after the print process, this is not sufficient to give a life long guarantee. If the printed memory sticks are attached to a key ring then the wear and tear inflicted on the printed logo is going to be quite severe and again this will shorten the life of the printed logo.

Given that one of the key drivers for buying branded flash drives is to promote your brand the likely longevity of the print should a key consideration.

Realistically, no supplier is going to be able to give you any hard and fast warranties on just how long the print will stay on simply because no one can anticipate the environment in which they will be used. But allowing for fair wear and tear and “normal” usage if such a thing can be defined you should expect your printed logo to last for more than a few weeks. If the print does start to fail early on then go back to your supplier and ask for an explanation and a plan of action to deal with the issue.

If you’re anticipating that your branded flash drives might take some punishment once distributed to your clients then you might want to consider a model or style of flash drive where the printed logo fully protected under a layer of resin. The benefit of these resin coated sticks is that they support a full 4 colour print process and a clear layer of resin then “encases” the print not only giving it excellent protection but also making the finished product incredibly tactile.

Scratch Resistant Flash Drives

Scratch Resistant Flash Drives

The resin layer enhances the finished product and of course has the added benefit of protecting your logo or brand.  So if you’re looking for a scratch resistant flash drive that offers greater protection and looks fantastic then consider something like the Express Flash Drive from USB2U


Cheap Printed Flash Drives – Fact or Fiction

Posted by USB2U on 11th February 2010 | Permalink

Everyone loves a bargain but is there such a thing as a good quality cheap printed flash drive. Considering that any item that is printed with your company’s brand effectively becomes an ambassador for you company its important when sourcing branded products that you don’t compromise on the core quality of the product by buying cheap.

This is particularly true of memory sticks. Anyone given a printed memory stick is going to want to trust it to store and carry data on. They will expect any promotional memory stick carrying a corporate brand to perform equally as well as, if not better, than memory sticks from regular brands such as Kingston, Sony or Transcend. If you’re printed memory sticks underperforms or worse fails and the user loses their treasured or important data this negative memory will be associated with your brand.

Equally if you want to pre-load the memory sticks you are buying with data before your distribute them then you don’t want to discover when you come to load them that they are slow or worse fail. Today its common for memory sticks to be loaded with Sales Sheets, Product Sheets, Web Links, Audio and Movie Files and other sales collateral. Implicitly you need this data to be accessible and readable otherwise why go to the trouble of preparing it and loading it. Trusting it to a cheap, sub standard memory stick that might have been manufactured using Grade B (recycled) flash memory chip sets would be false economy.

Express Flash Drives

Express Flash Drives

The core component of any memory stick is the flash memory module and the controller chip that goes with it. These have a price in the market just like any commodity and most factories that assemble memory sticks buy from the same small number of flash manufacturers at the prevailing rate. The price variance in the market of the finished memory stick (within a given memory size) is driven by the costs of the shell/case around this core component, the assembly costs, the manufacturers profit margin and the currency exchange rate to bring the memory sticks into the country. Given this the price for any printed flash drive should be broadly similar so if you are being offered prices below the general market price ask yourself why but more importantly ask your supplier why. Ensure you get some guarantees on the grade of chipset being used and check the credentials of the supplier.
In reality the only safe way to reduce the cost of branded memory sticks is to:

  1. Buy memory sticks with a smaller capacity, e.g. 128MB instead of 1GB. The smaller the memory capacity the cheaper the stick but don’t go too small or you will give the user little incentive to carry and use it.
  2. Plan ahead to ensure you allow sufficient time to get them printed at the point of manufacture e.g. in China. Last minute orders mean your supplier will have to print them locally and local printing is typically 3-4 times more expensive.
  3. Avoid times of high demand and limited supply when the prices are driven upwards. Typically this is during Chinese New Year and in the run up to Christmas.

As with everything in life you get what you pay for and printed memory sticks are no exception!