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Take a look – USB2U Launches New Promotional Power Bank Website

Posted by USB2U on 28th August 2015 | Permalink

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our new mini website that is dedicated entirely to the latest give-away to take the promotional gift market by storm – the Power Bank.

After more than a decade of focusing almost entirely on promotional USB memory sticks you might ask “Why the Power Bank?” Well, with 35 million smartphone users in the UK alone and approaching 2 billion globally it’s hardly surprising that a product that helps us deal with our seemingly unquenchable thirst for on-line interaction and communication is gaining huge popularity as a promotional give-away.

For an illustration of just how “hooked” we’ve become on social media look no further than the announcement from Facebook that yesterday, for the first time, over 1 billion people used their site in a single day! Think about that for a minute – yesterday 14% of the total population of the world went onto Facebook. Exclude babies and infants and those that never use or simply don’t have or don’t want access to the Internet and you get a more realistic feel for just how engrained and pervasive this one on-line service has become in our daily lives.

Smartphones obviously play a huge part in how we access and use websites and services like Facebook. Arguably the primary use of a smartphone these days is not to “phone” people but to message, post, tweet, blog, photograph and stream music.

The problem this creates is that smartphones are in almost constant use and as a result their batteries run out of power pretty quickly. This is not a problem when you’re at home or near a source of mains power but if you’re travelling, camping, at festivals or just away from any source of mains power then a way of recharging your smartphone is essential.

Powerbanks from USB2U

Promotional Power Banks from USB2U

Power Banks address this problem – they are a portable power source for any smartphone, they’re simple to use, easy to carry, they look great printed with a company logo on, they’re relatively inexpensive and they’re incredibly handy. It’s these attributes that make them an ideal promotional give-away.

At USB2U we now supply nine different types of Power Banks – some wood, some metal, some plastic but all top quality and all fully compliant with the latest safety regulations. They come in a range of different shapes and power levels and we also offer them in a range of attractive gift bags and gift boxes.

Power Banks from USB2U

Accessories available with your Power Banks

If you need your Promotional Power Banks in a hurry then don’t worry because we carry thousands in stock in our warehouse in Northampton and we can typically brand them with your logo and deliver them in as little as 24hrs.

Check out our full range of Power Banks here.

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Crystal USB Memory Sticks – Wow these are Amazing

Posted by USB2U on 14th August 2015 | Permalink

Over the 13 years that we’ve been selling promotional USB Memory Sticks we’ve seen some absolutely great examples of them but after a while you tend to become a little blasé about new models being brought to the market.

When you’ve handled tens of thousands of customer orders and supplied millions of promotional USB sticks it’s difficult to get excited but, every now and then, something really special grabs our attention and gives us goose bumps!

The product in question is the Crystal USB stick but not the standard version. No, our skilled and creative design and print team have taken this core product and blended it with our in-house design and printing capabilities to produce a truly stunning promotional USB memory stick – check out the image below!

Crystal USB Memory Sticks - Amazing

Crystal USB Memory Sticks – Amazing

What you’re seeing is a basic (clear) Crystal model that has been given a full colour print but the print has been applied in a way that retains some of the translucence of the original. When you use the technique to mimic something like a full bottle of perfume the results are stunning. Trust us, in the flesh the Channel perfume bottle looks like it really is a bottle of perfume and it’s the same with the JOOP example.

Now we appreciate not everyone’s product, logo or artwork is going to work with this particular product but if you do have something you want to promote and you’re product lends itself to this kind of promotional treatment then we would encourage you to let us have a go at producing some mock-ups and samples for you. We don’t charge for this service and there is no commitment to buy from us – we just want to be given the opportunity to show what we can do/produce.

If it sounds like we’re excited about the potential of this Crystal USB stick in the hands of our print team it’s because we’ve never before had such a positive reaction across the company to the launch of a new product. We have lots of samples in stock so if you need to see one “in the flesh” to be convinced then just give us a call or drop an email to one of our friendly and knowledgeable sale team.

Don’t worry about the cost either. Despite how brilliant they look they are only pennies more than our “Classic” range of USB sticks.

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What Happens to Your USB Stick Order Before we send it out

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

When you order promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U you need to be confident that what you’ve ordered is what actually arrived. Before we even start the production of your order we’ll have taken you through a comprehensive mock-up and proofing process because it’s easier for everyone to make sure things are right before any production takes place.

Despite these rigorous pre-production checks we also put every single order through a very comprehensive set of post-production checks before it leaves us. To be fair it’s not a popular job because it can be a bit tedious but in a crowded and highly competitive market it’s incredibly important to us. After all, we want our customers to come back to us and we want them to be delighted with their order from USB2U.

Around 50% of our customer orders are “finished” (printed, engraved, data-loaded and packed) before they leave our factory in China and because of this lots of QA checks are done in the factory. BUT, in addition to the QA checks that our factory make our own Operations and Fulfilment team carry out the following additional checks before any order (including the other 50% of orders that are finished in the UK) leaves our hands:

  1. Every carton of USB sticks that arrive from our Chinese factory is thoroughly checked to make sure nothing has been damaged in transit. We look for anhy obvious signs of “crushing” and photographs are taken to record any damage or loss. If anything is found to be damaged or missing (it does happen albeit rarely) then we’ll alert the factory and ask them to prepare and ship replacements and we’ll notify the customer of any potential shortfall in their order. Where we can we’ll replace any damaged sticks from our UK stock so our customers are not inconvenienced.
  2. Every printed or engraved USB stick is checked visually against the signed off proof to make sure that it’s the right colour, that its printed correctly (the right colour, in the right place, in the right orientation and finally that there are no spelling mistakes). If accessories have been ordered, e.g. key rings or lanyards then we’ll also make sure these are attached.
  3. A random sample from each order (several samples if it’s a large order) is checked using the latest Trend Micro anti-virus software – this is particularly important where we have been provided with data to pre-load onto the USB sticks.
  4. A sample of each order is checked to ensure that the internal flash memory is the correct size. If a customer has ordered 8GB USB memory sticks we check to make sure the drives are 8GB.
  5. Assuming all of the above tests and checks are passed we record who undertook the various checks and then we carefully box up the order in a robust USB2U box. Whilst doing this we’ll count the USB sticks to make sure the correct number are being sent out and finally we’ll pop into the box a packet of sweets by way of a “thank you”!

We’ve been supplying branded and promotional USB flash drives since 2002 and these processes have been put in place and refined over the last 13 years to ensure that our customers can be confident that they get exactly what they have paid for every time.

QA Checked By USB2U

QA Checked By USB2U

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Promotional USB Sticks with a logo that will last a lifetime

Posted by USB2U on 15th June 2015 | Permalink

If you’re buying USB memory sticks with your logo on then one of the primary reasons for buying them will be to promote your company and your brand – if all you wanted to do was hand out USB sticks then you could just as easily buy them without your logo on. Arguably it would be easier (and cheaper) to buy them this way but what would be the point!

Let’s face it if you’re going to spend a minimum of several hundreds of pounds on giveaways (like USB sticks) then you absolutely must get your them branded with your logo. Yes there is a small overhead to arrange this (versus buying blank) and you will pay marginally more for the finished product but promotional gifts like USB sticks are all about brand development and without a brand on them you fail at the first hurdle.

BUT one of the things you will need to consider when you buy promotional USB memory sticks with your logo on is exactly how the logo is applied. Do you opt to have the logo printed or is it better to get the logo engraved or embossed on the sticks.

Printing is usually done in one of two ways:

  • Silk Screen printing – using this technique each colour of your logo will be printed individually onto the case of the USB stick (onto which the logo is being applied) with the case often being baked in a small print oven between colours. The baking process tends to be used when metal surfaces are printed on because it hardens and toughens the print and protects it against chipping and scratching. On plastics its typical for a primer or bonding agent to be used.
  • Digital UV Print – UV printing is relatively new but its very popular because its allows full colour printing (photo quality) in a single pass using the latest UV printers. There’s a bit like a large photo printer you might use at home but with special UV inks that are dried and hardened by a UV lamp built into the printer. In many cases it’s still necessary to prime and thoroughly clean the USB sticks before they are printed but with care and an experienced operator the results can be stunning.

Whichever method is used the fundamental problem with printing is that over time the image printed will chip and scratch. Once the “bond” the ink forms during the print process is broken then it’s just a matter of time until the complete logo disappears.

Given the primary objective for buying USB sticks with your logo on is the on-going brand exposure you get from them then the quality of the print is a key consideration. Ink almost wiping straight off metal USB sticks is not unheard of!

An alternative is to choose a USB stick that can be engraved or embossed. OK, you’ll lose the ability to have your logo printed in full colour but the logo will last forever!

On the right model of USB stick, engraving looks brilliant. It’s tactile and the amount of detail you can get may surprise you. Both branding options (printing or engraving) have their merits but if you want longevity then it has to be engraving. Still not sure, then just ask for samples before you place any order.

Engraved Twisters By USB2U

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

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University Open Days are in full Swing – How many Promotional USB memory sticks can you collect

Posted by USB2U on 12th June 2015 | Permalink

It’s that time of the year again when families travel will travel the length and breadth of the country in search of the best University for their son or daughter. For many parents it will be the first time they’ve stepped across the threshold of a university but others will be old hands at the process because they’ll have gone though it for younger siblings or they may have been university students themselves.

If you’re new to the process or you’ve not been to one of these Open Days for a few years then you will need to plan your day (including the travel and parking arrangements) will military precision. With more and more students looking to go to university the Open Days are usually heaving and simply getting to the University can be a challenge – if you’re not a lover of “Park and Ride” then you might just have to relax your prejudices because at Universities like Exeter its pretty much the only way you can get to the campus and whilst they’re well planned the “Park and Ride” aspect can add around 2+ hours to your day!

Once on the campus it can be pretty intimidating finding your way around and if you’ve got pre-booked subject talks then the pressure will be on to find the right lecture room and get a seat. Most sessions will be rammed so it’s a good idea to get their early (Park and Ride permitting!).

There is always lots of information on hand from the University and the various departments and of course they’ll be plenty of additional information of admissions, financing and accommodation to take in on the day.

Lots of universities go out of their way to ensure that on arrival you have a hard copy of the university or college prospectus, details of the fees and any bursaries etc. information on the application process, a map of the university and occasionally a food voucher to redeem in one of the university restaurants and a welcome bottle of water to keep you hydrated during what can be a long and exhausting day!

You might also get the occasional insert or flyer from the Students Union that will give you a taster of the range of extra-curricular activities that are on offer at the University.

An “Open Day” is after all the universities opportunity to sell themselves to you and your son or daughter. Competition amongst the universities to bag the best and brightest students is fiercer than ever and Open Days (as well as exam results) play a huge part in helping students decide where to apply to.

Whilst a promotional USB Memory Stick printed with the universities logo is not going to influence anyone’s university choice it is interesting how many are now supplying these to prospective students as part of the packs they hand out. The promotional USB sticks are typically pre-loaded with copies of the prospectus and all the important forms any prospective student might need. With as much as 8GB of space available on even the most basic USB Stick many universities are increasingly loading videos onto the sticks illustrating student life on campus as well as offering links to Social Networking and Web sites. If you’re visiting lots of universities over the next few months it will be interesting to see just how many USB memory sticks you can acquire!

The way in which universities now engage with prospective students has changed enormously over the past few years. Aside from USB sticks other techniques include:

  • QR codes that can be scanned by Smart Phones and take the students directly to the University (or University department) web sites).
  • Facebook pages that allow the students to engage with the university, current and prospective students.
  • Twitter pages that deliver live news/information snippets.
  • Smart phone apps
  • Email and text updates

This year with around 500,000 university places to fill expect the tens of thousands of USB sticks to be given away and for the airways to be full of tweets, emails and chatter. Times have certainly changed!

USB Sticks for University Open Days

USB Sticks for University Open Days

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2015 Dragon Boat Festival – Expect Promotional USB Stick Delays

Posted by USB2U on 9th June 2015 | Permalink

To be absolutely clear the 2015 Dragon Boat Festival has nothing to do with Game of Thrones or Daenerys Targaryen. In fact it’s doesn’t really have anything to do with fire breathing dragons in the classic sense at all.

The reference to Dragons is actually a reference to “Dragon Boats”. These are boats that are made from teak, they are powered by crews of up to 80 people (using oars) and are decorated to look like dragons – hence the name Dragon Boats. The boats are anything up to 100 feet long, the front is shaped like an open mouthed dragon and the rear like the tail of a dragon.

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant cultural holiday that celebrates the life of the great poet Ou Yuan (not to be compared to George RR Matin the GOT author).

Qu Yuan was a minister to the Zhou emperor during the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC). He was renowned for his opposition to the corruption that was rife in the Imperial Court.

Ou Yuan’s views were popular b ut it was his popularity that ultimately led to his downfall. His fellow ministers became jealous and plotted against him, they convinced the emperor that Qu Yuan was a traitor and as a result he was exiled to his hometown.

Whilst in exile Qu Yuan collected great stories, legends and folk tales, and wrote poetry. Despite be banished to his hometown he remained a strong patriot and never lost his love for his emperor. On the 5th May, 278 BC he was heard the devastating news that the emperor had been overthrown by Qin warriors. In a fit of despair Ou Yuan committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo river.

On hearing of Qu Yuan’s fate the local townspeople rushed to their boats and tried to save him. They failed but he was much loved so out of respect they tried to prevent the fish from eating his body by throwing rice dumplings into the water and beating their drums to keep evil spirits away.

To this day, eating rice dumplings and racing dragon boats celebrate the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. In 2015 The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 20th June with celebrations lasting around 3 days in total.

Although the 20th June falls on a Saturday the likelihood is that many factories in China will take the opportunity to close for 3 days the following week. Consequently orders for branded USB memory sticks that are produced and printed in our China factory are likely to be delayed by a few days. Our advice is to either order early or order from our UK stock because this way we can guarantee to meet your deadlines.

What Problems - Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

What Problems – Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

 

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USB2U adds to its range of Promotional Power Banks

Posted by USB2U on 8th June 2015 | Permalink

Already a leader in the supply of promotional USB Memory Sticks USB2U is now pushing hard in the Promotional Power Bank market. Just last week it added another stunning model to its range and the latest version (The Pearl) is arguably their best yet.

The Pearl Power Bank is thinner (only 12mm thick) but it has a great print area to work with (106mm x 36mm) so brands and logos look amazing when printed in full colour on one of both sides. Being just 12mm thick means its easier to pop this version into your pocket and carry it with you and of course it comes with USB cable to allow you to charge it and to charge your smart phone (or other portable device).

Since they hit the promotional sector a year or so ago Power Banks have taken the market by storm. Hardly surprising when you consider that they address a problem we all face all too frequently – our smart phones running our of battery life and all too often at a time when you’re waiting on an import call or you’re following a really interesting thread on Twitter or Facebook!

New Pearl Power Bank from USB2U

USB2U Promotional Power Banks

Put simply Power Banks are a portable, rechargeable battery that can breathe life back into a dead smart phone in minutes. As such they can be a lifesaver if you find yourself away from a conventional plug socket with a dead phone or other small portable electronic device.

Although many of them look different on the outside it’s really what’s inside that matters – fundamentally they are a stored power source so don’t buy cheap or they might just explode and don’t buy any with a power capacity of less than 2200mah otherwise you’ll find they’ll take ages to charge anything and won’t give a full charge. And please make sure any you buy are fully RoHS and CE compliant and supplied with a 2 year warranty – it also helps to buy them from a recognised and reputable supplier if you’re going to put your brand on them!

As a promotional product they are popular because they meet the criteria that lots of companies look for when buying items to give away with their brand on: they’re desirable, they have a high perceived value, they get repeat use, they’re reasonably priced and they look good printed!

USB2U not only sell a wide range of excellent Power Banks but unlike most suppliers they carry them in stock in the UK so if you get your order in early enough they can print them and get them to you the very next business day (although they are based in the UK they ship globally and can deliver the next day subject to UPS being able to support next day delivery to your address)

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Re-formatting Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 14th May 2015 | Permalink

If you’ve been lucky enough to be given a promotional USB memory stick then there’s a strong likelihood that it will have lots of data already pre-loaded onto it by the company who’s giving them away. Typical files pre-loaded onto a promotional USB tend to include videos, copies of presentations, product data sheets, press releases etc. etc. Usually these files are not “locked” because to do this they’d have to be loaded onto the USB sticks during the manufacturing process so, they’ll just be normal copies of files that can be deleted.

If you want to remove these pre-loaded files so that you can use all of the available space for your own data (after you have fully read and absorbed the content put on the sticks of course – it’s only polite) then it’s pretty simple.

The best way to erase all of the files on a USB memory stick (including any hidden files) is to format the stick. At the end of the format process it will be completely clean of all data and you’ll then be able to create folders and sub-folders to transfer your own personal data back into it.

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

To format any USB Memory Stick just follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Transfer any Data from the USB stick to your PC

We strongly recommend that you take a copy of the files on the promotional USB stick before you format it. Just drag and drop the contents from the stick to your PC (or Mac). Formatting your USB memory stick completely erases the memory stick so if you want any of your data then its critical you copy it first. Once you’ve started the format process there is no way back so please check any copies of the data before you start the process.

Step 2 – Formatting your USB Memory Stick on a PC

This is pretty straightforward but it does worry some people because if you get it wrong you can end up formatting the hard drive of your PC (Ouch!). To get started just “click” on the Windows “Start” icon in the bottom left hand corner of your PC and then click on “My Computer” (or “Computer” in Vista or Windows 7). Once done your PC will perform a quick scan and show you all of the drives (hard drives and external memory devices like USB Sticks) installed or connected to your PC.

You need to identify the drive that has a “Removable Disk” icon. – click on it to be absolutely sure it is your USB Memory Stick. Once you are sure right-click on the “Removable Disk” label. From here you will see a small drop down menu that includes the option to “Format” – click this.

At this point a dialog box will open giving you a couple of options; Leave the “Quick Format” option unchecked because this will make sure absolutely everything is deleted and deleted without errors. Click the “Start” button on the dialog and wait for your USB memory stick to be fully formatted.
Step 3 – Re-load your files

Once your USB Memory Stick has been formatted you’ll have a blank canvas to work with. Its recommended that you then create folders and sub-folders to copy your saved data back into to and that you then get into the habit of saving your data in a structured and organised way.
If you’re a Mac user you can still format your USB Memory Stick as follows:

Load up the “Disk Utility” program. You’ll find this in the “Utilities folder” which you access via the “Applications folder”. Your USB memory stick should be in the list showing a white drive icon. Click that icon and select the “Erase” tab on the main window to start the erase (format) process.

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And the Winner is…..

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2015 | Permalink

The votes are in and they’ve been counted and audited and we’re finally able to announce that the most popular promotional USB memory stick is the Twister!

It was a secret ballot; so secret in fact that even we didn’t know it was happening. The methodology we used was simply to look at the thousands of orders we’ve taken in the last 12 months calculated which USB stick had the largest number of orders. We looked at the data in two ways; how many orders were placed for Twisters and how many actual Twister sticks were sold – it was head and shoulders ahead of its nearest rival.

Did the results come as a surprise? No, not really. The Twister USB Stick (also commonly referred to as the Swivel or the Rotate) has been the best selling promotional USB stick of the last decade. Lots of new models have been launched and have tried to challenge its dominance during this period and whilst some have survived and are still bought in reasonable numbers none have come close to the sales of the humble Twister.

Its popularity is down to a number of very simple things; it’s relatively small, it has no cap to lose, it comes in hundreds of different colours and it’s easy to use. The fact that it sells in the millions means that its cheap (well, cheaper than some of the other models) and easy to get hold of – pretty much anyone who sells promotional USB memory sticks will carry the Twister. They’d be daft not to.

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Ironically there are lots of other flash drives with a larger print area to work with, plenty are also smaller and of course there are others that also don’t have a cap to lose but for some reason the basic Twister model has seen them all off and remains the favourite.

At USB2U we always carry the Twister in stock in the UK and its typically available in a range of different colours and memory sizes. We offer it as part of our “rush” service which means we can get them to any customer (printed and data-loaded) in as little as 24hrs – less if you can collect them from our Northampton office.

We also offer engraved versions of the Twister – we simply change the “clip” the section that rotates or “twists” (hence the name) and replace the standard silver clip with a coloured anodised clip that we can engrave. Some customers prefer these because there is no chance of the engraved logo rubbing off over time.

The reality is we didn’t need any pollsters, or market research to tell us what the winner would be – we knew, almost instinctively that the Twister would still be crowned the winner of our popularity charts. Long may its reign continue.

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Power Banks – Might be needed on Election Day more than ever

Posted by USB2U on 7th May 2015 | Permalink

Today is one of those days when more people than ever are likely to want to stay connected to the web. Yes there will be some voter apathy during the 2015 General Election but many pundits are predicting a surge in voters with more than 70% expected to cast their vote.

If the weather holds fair and the sun comes out then it could push the turnout into the high 70’s, which is what happened when the sun came out in 1992. By comparison when it rained in 2001 the turnout was only 59%!

To be fair today’s election turnout is expected to be strong irrespective of the weather because it is going to be a close run thing and people do appreciate, more than ever, that their vote will/can make a difference.

If you’re a keen observer of the election, the process and the results then in our connected world you’ll want to keep in touch with what’s happening via your smart phone or tablet (that is assuming you’re not near a TV or you’re away from your PC/Mac). The problem with this is that Smart Phone batteries do have a nasty habit of running out pretty quickly particularly if you’re permanently using multiple applications to keep a check on the news, Twitter, Facebook etc. etc.

If you’re a journalist or blogger out and about reporting on the election then you’re usage is going to be even heavier and you’ll almost be able to see your smart phone battery draining in front of your eyes!

One of the ways to keep connected and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action today as it unfolds is to make sure you have at least one Power Bank with you. For the uninitiated a Power Bank is like a glorified re-chargeable battery that you plug into a PC (or main socks using an appropriate adapter) to charge and then plug into your smart phone or tablet when you need to re-charge them! Simple.

Promotional Power Banks

Promotional Power Banks

They take about 2 hrs to fully charge but they’ll restore a completely dead smart phone back to life in a few minutes and fully charge the smart phone in an hour or two. They’re being touted as a great saviour for long journeys and holidays but they come into their own on days like today when you know you are going to be using your phone or tablet more than usual and you’re not necessarily going to be able to recharge them from the mains.

If you’re really lucky you might be given one free of charge because lots of companies are recognising the advantage of getting Power Banks branded up with their logo and giving them away as a promotional gift. Why? Well the best promotional gifts are ones that people want and find useful, that they use on a regular basis and that boost the brand of the company printed on them.

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