Posted by USB2U on 31st August 2010 | Permalink
If you’re looking to buy branded memory sticks for any event in October then its worth bearing in mind that at this time of the year Public Holidays in China play havoc with availability and lead times. Although many suppliers (USB2U included) will hold local stock and will continue to be able to offer branded USB memory stick solutions these are typically limited in terms of product choice and memory size.
Pretty much every USB flash drive available anywhere in the world will have been manufactured in China and because branded (versions printed with a company logo) are made to order Public holidays not only cause challenges during the holiday period itself but there are in the aftermath there are always delays as the factories and courier firms try to play “catch-up”.
This year the Mid-Autumn Festival will run from 22nd Sept to 24th Sept shortly followed by Chinese National Day holidays that run from 1st Oct to 7th Oct. Some factories and courier firms will be operating during the few days between these two holidays but many won’t. Some businesses are predicted to close on the 18th September and resume again on the 10th October!
Many employees combine these two national holidays to travel back to their families in the provinces and given the distances involved its understandable why the holiday periods are so long.
So, if you are planning to use USB Flash Drives with your logo printed on them for any event, campaign or show in the near future then its worth buying them now to avoid disappointment.
If you do find yourself caught up in these holiday delays don’t panic. Give us a call at USB2U and we’ll talk you through the options.
Posted by USB2U on 29th June 2010 | Permalink
A Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card format that was developed and launched by Sony in late 1998. Memory Sticks are a proprietary design of Sony’s and are commonly used as a storage medium in Sony digital cameras, MP3 and MP4 players, hand-held consoles and video cameras.
Since their launch various “flavours” of the Memory Stick have been introduced including the Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, the Micro and Pro-HD. These variants embrace higher speed formats and smaller form factors but of late it is a format that has struggled to keep up with the demand and usage of SD cards in the market. Sony have now introduced their own version of the SD card which to some has signalled start of the end of the Memory Stick.
Memory Sticks could theoretically have been used by the promotions industry as a portable storage medium but “memory cards” have just not caught on like USB Memory Sticks. The primary reason is that these cards are typically used “inside a device” and therefore any branding is not on display, equally, the shape and size of a Memory Stick does not lend itself to being carried easily.
USB Memory sticks, also referred to, as USB Flash Drives, USB Thumb Drives and USB Pen Drives have become the dominant medium for portable storage. Not only are they incredibly easy to use but also they are lightweight, portable, easy to attach to a key ring or lanyard and these days they are available in a wide range of memory sizes up to a whopping 64GB! They also come in a wide range of styles, colours and shapes, which can all, be over printed, engraved or embossed with a logo.
Branded USB Memory Sticks
If you’ve got data to save, store and transport then for the majority of people a USB memory stick is the preferred option. It’s partly for this reason that they are now commonly used by companies as a promotional product or a way of distributing data and information (e.g. at a seminar, conference or press event).
A USB Memory Stick rather than a Memory Stick, printed up with a company logo is a popular and sought after item with a high perceived value. Users of USB memory sticks not only value them but they use them on a regular basis and as such any brand printed on them gets excellent exposure and excellent and positive brand association.
By pre-loading sales brochures, price lists, technical data sheets, media files and web links onto the memory sticks before they are distributed companies can offset the cost of buying the branded memory sticks against the print savings they make.
So when considering Memory Sticks as a promotional tool make sure it’s a Branded USB Memory Stick you seek quotes on.
Posted by USB2U on 3rd June 2010 | Permalink
In the IT industry in the 1980’s a phrase that was commonly heard was “no one ever got fired for buying IBM” and in the 1990’s this was changed to “no one ever got fired to buying Microsoft”. Today, in our opinion, this phrase can be applied equally to branded memory sticks in the promotional sector.
Branded Memory Sticks
IBM and Microsoft are companies that have dominated their respective sectors, their products were considered “safe bets” and whilst there might have been alternative options, many with better technological solutions, they were rarely every recommended or purchased. The reason for recommending them and buying them was as much about job security as it was about buying the best of breed product. Why take the risk of recommending alternative vendors and products when every one else was siding with “Big Blue” or Microsoft. There might have been better options in the market but when these companies were at their zenith you’d be hard pushed to find them and even harder pushed to find companies that had bet their business on them.
After a slow but steady start branded USB memory sticks are reaching a similar position in the promotional and corporate gift sector. The primary difference here is that it’s a product and not a company or specific brand that is beginning to dominate. Of course the promotional market spans a broad range of needs and budgets and at the “cheap and cheerful” end where budgets are pennies per giveaway the more traditional items like pens, bags, and mugs badges are still top dogs. But, where companies are looking to spend a little more and want to give away something that is going to be retained, used on a regular basis, generates significant brand association and importantly allows them to supply all of their sales material at the same time, then a branded memory stick is the best option.
The price of branded memory sticks, despite the recent hiccup in flash prices and exchange rate fluctuations, continues to fall. Today a typical 1Gb branded memory stick that’s printed, boxed and loaded with data costs as little as £3. This cost will vary depending on memory size and the number ordered (and the supplier you choose) but when you consider that by loading sales, presentation material etc. onto the disk you can offset significant printing and transportation costs the memory sticks can pay for themselves.
Part of growing use of the branded memory stick by the Promotions Industry is that they are incredibly popular with anyone they are given to because they provide real value and benefit. After all we’re all generating more digital data (photos videos, work files, homework etc.) and a branded memory stick is a really convenient way storing and transporting this data.
In an ironic twist both IBM and Microsoft are regular users of promotional memory sticks to underpin the launch of new products and services and to drive customer and re-seller loyalty.
If you are looking for a good value, popular and “safe” promotional option then branded memory sticks should be at the top of your shortlist.
Posted by USB2U on 22nd April 2010 | Permalink
We might be a little bit premature in announcing this but it looks (fingers crossed) as though the flights into the UK are now slowly getting back to normal and this includes the flights bringing our branded memory sticks from the factories in China to the UK.
The carriers we use, including TNT, DHL and UPS are all now getting flights into the UK again and by early next week all shipments should be back on track. We do “on-ship” orders on behalf of customers around the world and the only “problem child” country at the moment where we can’t guarantee deliveries at the moment is Sweden.
With the resumption of services we can now offer our usual lead times of 10 days for all printed memory sticks. So if
Wooden USB Flash Drive
you have any requirements for branded, printed, engraved or custom USB flash drives then give us a call or complete the on-line enquiry form and we’ll get back to you in a flash!
If you do need printed memory sticks in a hurry and 10 days is too long for you then check out our RUSH service. Unlike lots of our competitors we hold blank stock of our most popular models in the UK and we can get these printed and delivered to you in as little as 48hrs. Again just call us if you want more details of this service.
In April we have a range of special offers on all orders for branded memory sticks including FREE data-loading (up to 100Mb), FREE gift-boxes and on certain models we’re also offering FREE pantone matching of the body shell of the memory stick.
Posted by USB2U on 21st April 2010 | Permalink
Our Express Service has been formulated to meet the needs of today’s ever faster world. We know first hand that deadlines get shorter and shorter with more and more to do; abilities and capacity become stretched to their extreme and this is where our Express Service comes in. For anyone struggling to give that impressive finishing touch in a short timeframe, we can help – we can deliver uniquely branded USB memory sticks within 48 hours of order confirmation, and we hold blank stock of the most popular range of USB flash drives for those that need their promotional USB memory sticks urgently.
However (there’s always a catch) – to achieve these timescales and to make the process as smooth as possible, we do need a bit of help from our customers:
1. Your artwork needs to be ready and its needs to be available in either EPS, Adobe Illustrator, or any other vectorised format. Our full guidelines can be found here.
2. Ideally we need the pantone colours for your logo to be supplied at the same time as the artwork – if you don’t have these don’t panic because we can colour match the print to your artwork, but this may take a little longer.
3. We won’t be able to offer you our full range of memory sticks to choose from. We hold stock in the UK of the most popular sticks including the Twister, Chic and Harbour and we try and hold these in the most commonly requested memory sizes, e.g. 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB. It’s always best to call and speak to one of our team about current stock levels.
4. If you require data loading, we can usually fit this into these tight timescales but since we will do this in-house it will depend on the speed at which you can get the files to us, the size of the files and the availability of our data-loading machine and team. Despite this, we will always try to accommodate your requirements, just give us a call to discuss the possibility.
5. We won’t charge you any more for the basic memory sticks but you will have to pay UK print prices which are a little more than those charged by our factory partners in China. We don’t charge any “express” fees or origination charges, we just ask you to pay the higher UK print costs.
6. If you don’t already have an account with us you will be asked to pay for an Express job before we ship the order from our printers. If you have an account then the standard 30-day payment terms apply.
7. If you need any accessories such as gift boxes, lanyards or key rings then again we may be able to supply these from stock for you – please give us a call to check stock availability.
Posted by USB2U on 19th April 2010 | Permalink
Whilst the UK’s Met Office describe the eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland as “weakening” its impacts are still being felt in the most unlikely of ways. The vast majority of branded memory sticks are air freighted into the UK from China on a “just in time” basis using carriers like DHL, TNT and Fedex. Whilst many of these carriers have their own fleet of aircraft they are affected in just the same way that commercial carriers are impacted – they are unable to fly their planes into and out of the UK.
Even when the restrictions are lifted there likely to be days if not weeks of delays as the networks and carriers struggle to return to normality. During this period of uncertainty its going to be incredibly difficult to give any firm commitment on delivery dates for branded USB memory sticks – at least those that are being manufactured and printed by the factories in China. The “normal” lead times of 10-14 days are likely to go out of the window in the short term but at least customers placing now can, to a degree, plan for this.
The bigger issue is for companies that have already ordered branded USB memory sticks in good faith with an expected delivery date of any time now. Many of these companies will have placed their orders to coincide with a show, a press event or media event and the non-delivery is likely to throw their plans into chaos. It’s of course difficult to anticipate these events and no one is really to blame but are there any options to deal with the issue.
At USB2U we are fortunate to hold a significant amount of blank stock of USB flash drives and we are able to get these printed and delivered within 48hrs of an order. We don’t have all of the models shown on our website but we do have quite a few in different colours and memory sizes. So, if you are in desperate need of branded flash drives give us a call and talk to us about our “rush” service.
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Posted by USB2U on 29th October 2009 | Permalink
USB Memory sticks printed with your logo on are incredibly popular at the moment but there are a few golden rules to consider when sourcing them. Here’s our starter for ten:
- Be clear about what logo you want printed on the Printed USB sticks. In many cases you’re not going to have a huge amount of choice about which logo or brand to use particularly if you’re printing your corporate logo and you have clearly defined brand rules and guidelines to adhere to. But, there’s no doubt about it that some logo’s work better than others. Because of the relatively small amount of space the logo will be printed on a complicated or over fussy logo will not reproduce well. Try to use simple logos with strong colours that have a good visual impact. It may be necessary to adapt an existing logo to get the best effect.
- Prepare the right artwork: Don’t expect to be able to use the low-resolution images from your company’s web site for printing. To get a great finish its essential that you make available to your supplier images in the highest resolution possible. Vector shape logos are preferred because they never lose any sharpness irrespective of how big or small you make them. Vector logos will typically be saved as .EPS or .AI files. If you have an in-house designer they’ll understand what’s needed.
- Select a memory stick that works with your logo: Sounds obvious really but some logos look better on certain style Printed USB Flash Drive than others. A popular option at the moment is to go for a model where the main body shell can be pantone matched to one of the primary colours from your logo. The end result when this is done looks fantastic because it looks as though the flash drive has been specifically designed for you. If you’re not sure what the best option is then ask your supplier to work up a range of “mock-ups” for you. They should be happy to do this for you and at no cost.
- Printing is not the only option: Until recently spot printing was the only option available but now slightly more complex logos with colour blending can be accommodated using digital print technology. On metal-cased memory sticks you could also consider laser engraving. This is a professional looking, long lasting option.
- Don’t skimp on the memory size: Whilst cost will of course be a determining factor its important to get the balance right between choosing the correct capacity and the budget available for your logo USB memory sticks. Low capacity memory sticks that don’t offer much on-going use to the recipient. They are “ok” if you’re just using them to distribute data but if you want them to have a life beyond the initial distribution its important you give the user a reason to carry them around. A memory stick with little or no real or perceived storage will just end up in the back of a drawer.
- Data to load? Get it ready early: If you have data that you want to load onto your logo branded memory sticks then try if at all possible to get it ready early. This way the data can be loaded during the manufacturing process for just a few pennies per stick. It’ll save hours of pain and heartache of doing it in-house or further cost if you have to have the data professionally loaded after they have been manufactured.
- Don’t forget the packaging and accessories: If cost is a real issue or if the memory sticks are just promotional giveaways then you probably won’t want to run to the additional cost of presentation boxes or lanyards. But there’s no doubt about it that a good quality presentation tin or box coupled with a neck strap (lanyard) really raises the overall look of the end product and if you want to go the extra mile you can print your logo onto the gift box and embroider your logo into the lanyard.
- Allow enough time: Some supplier can provide printed memory sticks in a couple of days but you’ll be very limited in terms of choice, colour and the number of colours that can be printed. Ideally allow at least 14 days and this way you’ll be able to choose from a very comprehensive range and you’ll even have enough time for the sticks to be pantone matched. Remember the memory sticks are all produced in China so as well as the production time(s) the lead time of 14 days is to allow for the shipment of the finished product to you.
- 9. Don’t always buy the cheapest Printed USB’s: There are many horror stories of memory sticks being supplied with “used” or Grade “B” memory chips inside. Some factories also disguise smaller capacity chips and sell them as larger memory sizes. If you’ve been offered a price that no-one else can match or get close to then its time to ask some hard questions and make sure that chips are brand new, does the price include a warranty, if so how comprehensive is it? Finally, does the price include all of the costs, i.e. Artwork setup, production and delivery.
- Go with the right supplier: There are far too many people trying to make a ‘quick buck’ from unsuspecting customers looking to buy logo USB sticks so make sure you undertake proper due diligence. Get testimonials; check it’s a “real” business and not operating “side of desk” somewhere. Make sure they are a registered company and have QA processes and warranty policies in place.