Posted by USB2U on 10th November 2014 | Permalink
If you’ve been co-opted onto your local fund raising committee and you’ve now been tasked to come up with ideas to raise funds for your local school, orchestra, drama group, playgroup or junior football team then the first of many challenges you’ll face is to generate lots of new ideas to ensure the money continues to flow in!
It’s never easy and with so many national causes understandably grabbing the headlines doing something that encourage support for your local charity is getting harder and harder. We’ve always been a nation of charitable “givers” but during times when we’re all feeling the pinch there is only so much money to go around.
In terms of ideas there plenty of “old favourites” to fall back on like quiz nights, car boot sales, hog-roasts, jumble sales, coffee mornings, sponsored events and scavenger hunts. But, most well established fund raising groups are likely to have tried these already and interest in running them again might meet with some resistance.
Creating your own fundraising blog or Facebook page dedicated to the cause will often help build and maintain interest in your charity – it’s a great way to keep people engaged and to keep them up to speed with how the fundraising is getting along. New charity oriented sites like JustGiving.com also create another well tried and trusted option and these have the added benefit of allowing people to donate on-line.
Fundraising Using USB Memory Sticks
An idea for pushing the fundraising along and one that dovetails nicely into any Social Media activities you might have planned is to sell printed USB memory sticks.
As a concept it’s simple:
- The USB memory sticks are printed or engraved with details of the fundraising challenge – this could include a logo, a date, a Just Giving website address or a phone number etc.
- Pre-load the USB sticks with as much information as you can gather about the cause you’re raising money for. Ideally this should include background articles, video clips, details of what the money will be spent on, profiles of the people or teams involved and don’t forget to include links to any Blog or Facebook pages.
- The finished printed USB memory sticks are then sold for a profit by whatever means is possible.
There are lot of suppliers of printed USB memory sticks in the UK and with lots of competition in the market you’ll be surprised at how cheap they are to buy. Typically you’ll need to order at least 100 to get a good discounted price but if you can you’ll find there is plenty of scope to sell them for a profit. Just one idea to add to your list of “ideas” under consideration.
Posted by USB2U on 29th April 2013 | Permalink
Technology has a habit of permeating every facet of our daily lives and USB memory sticks are proving they are no exception to the rule. Whether they’re used to celebrate a child’s birth, to record childhood events, to store precious wedding photographs or to record the mundanities of everyday life there is no doubting the impact they have made since their introduction some 10 years ago.
Millions of USB sticks are bought in the UK every year and millions more are given away as promotional products to support product launches, as competition prizes and to hand out at conferences and university open days! Wherever there is a need to store and transport data, to hand out data or to raise brand awareness USB sticks are being used.
Today even in death USB sticks can’t be avoided – in the last couple of months we have supplied printed USB memory sticks to Funeral Directors, Will writing companies and to family members of the deceased.
Funeral Directors and Will writing companies are using them just like any other company – they’re printing their brand and logo on the USB sticks, pre-loading them with information about their services, links to their websites, testimonials from customers etc. and then they are handing them out to prospective clients. Apart from the subject area there is nothing unusual in how these particular USB sticks are being used.
But the USB sticks being supplied to relatives of the deceased are interesting because these are typically printed with a photo that celebrates the life of the person that has died. The memory on the stick is then loaded with what amounts to a “scrapbook” of their life; photos, video clips, music they loved, tributes from friends and family and links to websites that they have created: Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.
The USB sticks are then either handed out on the day of the funeral or sent out to friends and family to help them celebrate the life of the loved one that has died. Whilst they might not be for everyone there is no doubt that done well they are a loving tribute to person that has died and they help the person putting them together to heal from their loss.
With the seemingly relentless march of technology into every aspect of our lives we are all going to have to think about how our own personal “digital footprints” are managed and remembered.
Posted by USB2U on 15th February 2013 | Permalink
In response to growing demand from our customers we have introduced a 5 day service for a large proportion of our USB memory sticks. There are no additional charges for this service and it includes engraving or full colour digital printing (on both sides) of the USB sticks and if needed data loading onto the sticks.
We have also retained our popular “Super Express 24hr Service” and our “Rush 72hr Service”. So whether you need your order the very next day or within a few days there are now plenty of options to choose from and you’re not limited to just one or two different designs. Irrespective of which timed (and guaranteed) service you choose from there are currently 18 different models to select from and some come in a range of colours and memory sizes so you really are spoilt for choice!
One of the attractions of this service is that once your order has been confirmed then delivery of your USB memory sticks is guaranteed. There is no exposure to “customs delays” or international shipping because your order will be fulfilled from UK stock. All you have to do is sign off your proofs in a timely manner, arrange your payment (if you’re not on 30 day terms and a lot of our customers are) and then finally make sure that you’re in when your USB sticks are scheduled for delivery!
Optional extras like printed or engraved gift boxes, lanyards and key rings can also be specified when you use any of our express delivery services. If you do have a particularly large amount of data you want pre-loading onto your printed USB sticks then we can normally accommodate this but you do need to consider how you get the data to us. Our data-loading team will test the data and check the “load times” and then agree with you how quickly the data can be loaded – with 4 separate professional data loading machines on-site we are able to load thousands of sticks a day (subject to the data size and structure).
During “pinch points” like Chinese New Year when lots of USB suppliers struggle to maintain their usual service levels these guaranteed delivery options are likely to prove incredibly popular. So, if you do need printed or engraved USB memory sticks in hurry and you don’t want to take any risks with delivery just give us a call or send in a quote request via our website.
USB2U New Rush Service Announced
Posted by USB2U on 29th November 2012 | Permalink
There’s something about being given a gift in a tin that somehow elevates its overall worth or certainly its perceived overall worth. Tins, particularly those printed with a logo, look fantastic, feel fantastic and as well as adding to the overall aesthetic they provide an excellent level of protection to the product encased in its robust outer skin.
When you spend money buying promotional items like USB flash drives one of the key objectives is to make an impact (and hopefully a memorable impact) when you hand them out. It’s a small thing and some might argue that boxes, packaging and tins will just end up discarded in a bin. But, that initial “wow” factor when someone is given a gift is all important and gifts that are well thought out, well presented and well packaged stand a much better chance of being remembered – that’s what you want from anything you give out to customer (or prospective customers), you want to be remembered and you want the memory to be as positive as possible.
USB Memory Sticks - Presentation Tins
Fortunately there are a range of different types and sizes of tin boxes available for printed USB memory sticks and most of these can be printed or engraved with a logo to compliment any branding on the printed USB stick placed inside it. There are also tins with a “window” built into the lid so that the USB sticks (and the brand printed on them) can be seen easily without opening the tin lid.
The tins tend to come in two different sizes (large and small) with the large ones measuring 119mm x 89mm and the smaller ones coming in at 92mm x 62mm. Both sizes offer plenty of room to print a good size logo or image on but smaller ones have the benefit of being easier to store, transport and carry.
USB Flash Drives - Printed Tins
Inside each tin are two pieces of custom cut foam (typically black) that create a soft cocoon for the USB sticks to be held securely in place – black foam tends to be used because it helps to make the USB’s placed inside the tin stand out. The only exception is when black USB drives are used and then the black foam will usually be swapped out for white foam.
In terms of cost the tins (even printed) are surprisingly inexpensive given the overall added value and visual impact they add. Next time you are looking to buy printed or engraved USB memory sticks it’s certainly worth asking for a price for the tins.
Posted by USB2U on 27th August 2012 | Permalink
If you’ve been expectantly waiting for your printed USB memory sticks to arrive only to find that the Bank Holiday has put a bit of a spanner in the works then don’t panic because USB2U can turn around printed or engraved USB memory sticks from UK stock in under 24hrs!
So, if you do arrive back at your desk on Tuesday and get an email or call from your usual supplier of USB sticks to inform you that “there’s a bit of a problem with your order” then you might want to pick up the phone and call the team at USB2U. They carry a wide range of different styles and memory sizes of USB sticks in the UK and are they’re able to print or engrave in-house. So if you get your call in early enough you could have your promotional sticks on your desk the very next morning!
They also carry a huge range of different accessories and tons of different boxes (over 50,000 boxes in fact!) all of which can also be personalised with a logo as well if that’s what you need. Lanyards? Not a problem because they have those too. Same with keyrings and clasps.
The key message is that if you find that your order from another supplier has been delayed for whatever reason then all is not lost. USB2U can typically recover most situations and have been known to turnaround orders in less than a couple of hours!
Even data-loading onto the USB sticks is not a problem because USB2U have invested heavily in state of the art professional data-loading and data-duplication machines that allow them to pre-load thousands of USB sticks every day. Your data can be set-up so that it’s protected (meaning it can’t be deleted by the user) or it can be set-up to “auto-run” so that your web page, PDF’s or application will automatically start when the USB sticks is inserted into a PC .
It does not matter if you only need 25 printed USB sticks or 1,000 USB sticks albeit for larger quantities minor miracles of next day delivery of a little harder to produce unless they are informed very early in morning and their schedule is not already filled with lots of jobs for other customers in a similar situation.
The best advice if you need printed USB memory sticks in a hurry is to call them – they have an 0800 phone number so they’ll pay for the cost of the call (if you’re ringing from a landline). Their friendly and knowledgeable team will talk you through the options, arrange urgent mock-ups and proofs for your sign-off and get your sticks to you in double quick time. Simples!
Posted by USB2U on 7th June 2012 | Permalink
One thing most customers are looking for when buying branded USB memory sticks, or any promotional product for that matter is value for money. Understandably when times are tough and marketing budgets are being trimmed any expenditure that is sanctioned typically has to be hard fought for and consequently its ability to make a real “bottom line” impact will be thoroughly scrutinized. Long gone are the days when companies just threw money at something because it sounded like a good idea.
Branded USB Memory Sticks
So, if you’ve decided that USB sticks printed or engraved with your logo on are an appropriate way to spend your marketing budget then you’ll want to make sure you get the best possible deal you can when you buy them. But, if you’re new to buying branded USB memory sticks how do you make sure that you keep your costs down without compromising on quality. Unfortunately for the uninitiated a push for “value” can mean ending up with cheap and nasty rubbish that will fail in the hands of your customers and will reflect badly on your brand and company. A focus on value is absolutely the right thing to do but it needs to be done armed with a little bit of knowledge about what you’re buying and with some context about how the branded USB market works. As ever in life a little bit of homework will stand you in good stead.
To help you on your way here’s a list of useful tips on how to secure the best deal from your supplier(s) for branded USB memory sticks:
- Branded USB memory sticks – also commonly referred to as USB flash drives, pen drives, thumb drives and USB disks have been around for about 10 years now and over the last couple of years they have rapidly become one of the most popular promotional products on the market. They are small, portable, handy to use, they look good, they’re a great way to distribute data (by pre-loading them) and they have a high perceived value. But, beware because although they all look the same on the surface the “guts” of a USB memory stick (the flash memory chip and the controller chip) determine the speed at which they can transfer data and their potential lifespan. A good rule of thumb is “the cheaper the stick the slower the read/write speed” and typical “promotional” USB memory sticks tend to be at the cheap end of the market with read write speeds of around 3-4 MB per second.
If you need you USB sticks to be faster then you’ll need to specify this and you’ll need to be sure when comparing any quotes that you are comparing like to like.
- Allow enough time – The vast majority of USB sticks are manufactured, data loaded and printed (or engraved) in China. Even if you buy from a local company, the chances are they will still get your sticks produced in China. Typically this is not a problem because lead-times are incredibly short but to be on the safe side you still need to allow around 10 working days. If you need them quicker than this then expect to pay a premium for local labour cost to get your sticks data loaded and printed in the UK.
UK Premiums for “rush” or last minute orders can be avoided simply by planning ahead.
- Go with the more popular models – The best value USB sticks tend to be those that are the most popular. At the moment this is the Twister USB Flash Drive (a perennial favourite because it’s small, portable, has no cap to lose and comes in a wide range of colours) or the USB credit card which is hugely popular because it can accommodate complex, full colour digital prints on both sides of the card.
- Memory – just pay for what you need (and a little bit more) – USB flash drives are available in a wide range of memory sizes starting at 64MB and going all the way up to an eye watering 256GB! The challenge with a USB memory stick that is going to be given away is to choose a size is big enough to hold your own data whilst at the same time has enough spare (unused memory) to make it useful to the recipient. Don’t go overboard though and pay for lots of memory that won’t get used – the most popular memory sizes at the moment for promotional USB sticks are 1GB and 2GB but prices of 4Gb and 8GB versions are falling fast so ask about prices for these as well because you might be pleasantly surprised.
If in doubt go larger not smaller. Whilst you can still buy 64MB and 128MB they are typically only pennies cheaper than a 1GB or 2GB drive and they’re so small they don’t encourage repeat usage which means less exposure for the brand that is printed on them. Only use very small capacity sticks if you’re happy for the majority to be thrown away after their initial use.
- Buy a sensible amount to spread any fixed costs – don’t expect the best price price for your branded USB memory sticks if you only order a small handful of them. There are several fixed costs involved in the manufacture and supply of printed USB drives including print set up costs, printing, proofing, data-loading and freight and these costs need to be spread across every USB stick that you order. Consequently most suppliers won’t quote for less than 25 but you only start to get real economies of scale if you are buying 100+ pieces.
- Buy from a trusted local supplier – If you buy on price and price alone then be prepared to sacrifice quality and performance. Don’t forget from the outside all USB sticks look the same but it’s the inside components that really count and cheap flash memory coupled with cheap controllers will give you a high failure rate. Make sure you buy from a local supplier with a good reputation (check online for recent reviews) and get warranties that have teeth and can be enforced (locally) if things go wrong.
- Timing and the currency markets – No one is expecting you to become a currency dealer just because you want to buy a few USB sticks but flash memory is a commodity that is traded globally in US dollars so when the (GBP) pound is strong against the (USD) dollar prices fall. If you do buy your USB flash drives once or twice a year try and choose a time when currency prices are in your favour as a certain supermarket says “every little helps”!
Posted by USB2U on 24th April 2012 | Permalink
If you’ve got a special event coming up then whether its something personal or business related you’re probably going to want to let people know about it, share you enthusiasm for it and excitement about it and generally let people know how they can join you in marking the occasion.
Increasingly in such circumstances people are using USB memory sticks printed with details of the event to achieve such a goal. Business examples include companies launching a new product, unveiling a new building, launching a new website or introducing a new product/pricing mix.
On the personal front printed USB memory sticks are frequently being used to celebrate the birth of a child, to announce an engagement and to celebrate a wedding (typically the printed USB sticks are circulated around family and friends but only after they have been loaded up with photos, video clips and music). Weddings in particular seem to be a strong area of growth for the USB stick with the happy couple now giving them away as wedding favours (pre-loaded of course with photos of the courtship, the stag and hen nights, personal mementos and pictures of the wedding) and professional wedding photographers are getting in on the act by using high quality USB sticks and packaging to differentiate their service and provide something a little bit different.
Printed USB Sticks - Weddings
Schools are not being left out either with many now using printed USB memory sticks and USB wristbands to hand out to prospective pupils and parents at open days, to help students carry their work to/from home, to raise funds for school trips and expeditions and to generally raise the awareness of the school in the local community.
Charities are also finding printed USB memory sticks are a great way to get their message out in a format that encourages participation and donation. Rather than just sending a prospective supporter a flyer or inert Direct Mail pack by sending them a USB memory stick pre-loaded with photos, videos, Direct Debit Mandate forms and links to their web sites, their donation pages etc. they are able to communicate much more effectively and at a deeper level – unlike standard DM packs very few people will simply throw away a USB stick without first plugging it into a computer and if you load the right data in the right format you’ll get their attention.
So, if you have a special event coming up soon and you want something a little bit different to help you mark the occasion then why not use a printed USB memory stick – you can get them today for less than £2 each (printed and pre-loaded) and if you speak to the right suppliers they can be with you in as little as 24-48hrs so if you’re one of those people that leaves everything to the last minute they are still a possibility.
Posted by USB2U on 6th February 2012 | Permalink
The Queen’s 60th Diamond Jubilee is to be celebrated by millions across the nation this year with the extended Bank Holiday in June 2012 quickly becoming the focus of lots of activities.
The usual late May Bank holiday is being moved to Monday 4th June and an extra “Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday” has been announced for Tuesday 5 June. So, the extended Bank Holiday will last from 2nd June to 5th June.
During this extend break there will be a special pageant on the River Thames on Sunday 3 June when Queen Elizabeth II will lead a flotilla of a 1,000 boats; on the 4th June 2,012 beacons will be lit by communities across the UK and over the Bank Holiday thousands of Diamond Jubilee Street Parties are already being planned up and down the country to celebrate the Queens 60th reign.
But, at least one village is planning its own unique twist on the celebrations and has decided to combine a street party with a the publication of a book crammed with photographs illustrating the changes the village and it’s residents have undergone during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In the run up to the Holiday Week the residents (under the leadership of a well organized committee) have commissioned professional photographers to take photos of the current residents, their families, their houses and local church, school and lots of everyday activities that take place in the village. These contemporary photographs will be catalogued with historic photographs to show how things have changed in the village of the last 60 years.
The finished book will be revealed during the Jubilee Bank Holiday and copies sold to raise funds for the village and the restoration of the local church.
Diamond Jubilee Design
Illustrative of how things have changed during Elizabeth’s reign extracts from the book will be made available on the Village Web Site (every village seems to have one these days) and electronic copies of the book will be sold pre-loaded onto USB memory sticks that have been printed with the details of the village and the official Diamond Jubilee Emblem (designed by 10 year old Katherine Dewar).
Printed USB memory sticks have recently been used for all manner of promotional activities and are commonly used to distribute music, book and photographs on but it’s interesting to see they have also infiltrated the psyche of the local village church and WI’s. Only a few years go USB sticks (USB Flash drives as some people prefer to call them) have, like of technologies, crossed over from being a techie product that is only used by geeks to become part of our everyday life. It’ll be interesting to see in another 60 years time if anyone remembers let alone has a USB memory stick.
Posted by USB2U on 12th March 2010 | Permalink
The phrase “Garbage in, Garbage out” was commonly used in the early days by computing programmers as a mantra to remind themselves that computers will process whatever data you load into them and return a result. Whether the result it returns is correct or not depends, to a large degree, on the quality of the data presented to the computer.
The expression can be applied equally to many other walks of life including the print industry. If you print an item using low quality artwork, particularly artwork that has been digitally compressed then the printed results will be very poor.
Today most digital cameras and web pages use compressed images with the most popular format being JPEG (named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group who created the standard). JPEG images are typically compressed to a ration of 10:1, in other words as much as 90% of the image content is removed or lost during the compression process. This process is known as “lossy” and as the name implies when an original image is converted into a JPEG file many of the original elements of the image cannot be recovered. To the naked eye, particularly when viewed on a web page, there will be no perceptible difference to the image pre and post compression.
Compressed JPEG image files are ideal for web pages because they are smaller and therefore load more quickly but they are rarely suitable for print work because the printers will be unable to create sharp images, crisp lines or graduated colours.
If you try and use a JPEG image to print a memory stick then the end results are likely to be “blotchy” and “blurred” and most professional suppliers will simply reject the artwork preferring instead not to produce inferior products.
When ordering printed memory sticks its recommended that you supply artwork in one of the following formats:
- EPS (Encapsulated Postscript)
- TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
- RAW (Raw Image Formats)
- Vector File Formats
These image formats will allow your logo, design or artwork to be rendered properly, printed correctly and printed to sharpness you would expect. What you cannot do is take a poor JPEG image (that you have for example simply “grabbed from a web page”) and convert it to an EPS file.
If in any doubt talk to the suppliers designer or get your designer or design agency to talk directly to the suppliers designer. Its worth spending the time in the early stages of your order to get it right rather than be disappointed with the results when the printed memory sticks arrive on your desk!
Posted by USB2U on 4th January 2010 | Permalink
Branded Memory Sticks have quickly established themselves as one of the key promotional items in the Sales & Promotion sector. Their popularity stems from several key factors including their inherent usefulness, their ability to carry a brand or logo extremely well, their small, portable size and their cost. Coupled with this the typical repeated used of the product ensures good brand promotion and visibility and the ability to load sales data and media files onto the memory stick helps justify their use.
As marketing and advertising budgets in a “post economic meltdown world” were slashed the demand for branded memory sticks and printed USB flash drives continued unabated. The early predictions of “doom and gloom” in the sector failed to materialise and although there have been periods of price volatility throughout the year this has not dissuaded customers from pushing ahead with their projects.
Towards the end of 2009 several key trends emerged which are likely to continue into 2010:
||Custom Memory Sticks also referred to as bespoke USB flash drives will become more popular because the historic minimum order quantities and relatively high initial tooling and mould set-up costs have been all but removed. As a result it is now possible to get a fully customised USB memory stick in a shape/design that is unique to your company, brand or product for pretty much the same price that you would pay for a simple printed memory stick
||Twister USB Sticks will continue to dominate the branded range of memory sticks. During 2009 the cap less “twister” style of memory stick accounted for over 60% of all orders where a standard factory design/mould was used. In 2010 their on-going dominance looks assured not least because its now possible to pantone match the body colour of the twister memory stick to any primary colour from a design/logo.
||Photo Quality Printing is now possible on many branded memory sticks and for very little additional cost. Historically it was only possible to “spot print” onto a memory stick and you paid for each colour printed. This was not only expensive but ruled out many complex logos or designs. Today many factories offer full photographic reproduction and with costs tumbling its likely this will become the de facto standard in future.
||Smaller Print Runs of 50 pieces or less are now much more affordable bringing printed USB memory sticks into the reach of many smaller companies. The willingness of factories to support smaller batches of printed sticks is also likely to see them used for smaller conferences and seminars.
||Continued Price Volatility will make it difficult to forward predict prices or get firm quotes that last more than a few days. Because the factories price in $ (USD) companies buying from outside of the US need to factor in exchange rate fluctuations plus supply/demand price related increases on the core flash memory components. Good advice is to try and avoid the Chinese New Year period and the run up to Christmas when the volatility is at its worst.
The one thing that does seem clear it that branded and promotional USB drives are going to be with us for sometime to come and that their popularity continues to grow. As far as memory sticks are concerned it seems that you can’t get too much of a good thing!