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Posts Tagged ‘USB Flash Drive’

USB Lanyards & USB Name Badges – Ideal for Conferences & Seminars

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

If you’ve got a conference, seminar, press event or show coming up any time soon then one of the many challenges you’ll have to wrestle with is how you make sure that the attendees can be identified easily. Of course you’ll also be expected to supply them with copies of the speakers’ slides and notes together with any associated Press Releases and marketing material.

In today’s security conscious world the identification of people attending an event is of paramount importance. You need to know that the people attending have actually been invited, they are who they say they are and once identified to you as the organiser that other attendees can easily identify who they are, who they work for and ideally what position they hold. The obvious way of doing this is to go through a sign-in process and the attendees with a name badge – a version they either pin to themselves of a version they attach to a lanyard.

At larger events a common technique is to add a Barcode to the name badge so the badge holder can be “scanned” and identified at various points around the event (handy for controlling access to VIP areas or just for tracking who went where).

If you use a USB Name Badge or USB lanyard you can get all the benefits of a standard badge and lanyard but with the added benefit of supplier the badge holder with a digital copy of the speakers notes, slides etc.

USB Lanyards and USB Name Badges

USB Lanyards and USB Name Badges

A USB name badge can be pre-printed with the attendees’ details and can include a bar code or QR code. Or, to keep it simple you could continue to use the current style/type of name badges you use today but substitute the usual lanyard with a USB lanyard – these can be printed or embroidered with you logo and marketing message as usual.

Either way you get a brilliant way of distributing all of your marketing material to every attendee. No more printing of speakers’ notes and slides, no more building a secure website login to allow attendees to login and download them – just load them up onto the USB lanyard or USB name badge and you’re done. The “uploading” of the data can usually be done for you free of charge by the USB suppliers you just need to have your data ready before they are ready to deliver them to you.

An added benefit of using a USB flash drive solution is that they tend to be retained by the recipient so you get much more continued brand exposure than you ever would with a regular name badge or lanyard.

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Professional Photographers Choose Wooden USB Flash Drives

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The last 12 months has seen a large increase in sale of printed and engraved USB flash drives to the Professional and Wedding Photography sector. For many it’s just a natural evolution from CD’s and DVD’s, for others USB flash drives offer a better and more professional way to present their clients work and for some it’s a new revenue stream opportunity.

Clearly these reasons are not mutually exclusive nor are they the whole story of why professional photographers have now decided it’s time to embrace USB sticks but the do represent what we’re told are the primary reasons for the move:

  1. CD’s and DVD’s have pretty much had their day and all of a sudden feel “old and traditional” in the same way that vinyl felt dated when people moved to cassettes/CD’s. New generation laptops and Ultra books (which combined account for around 70% of all PC’s purchased) are increasingly shipping without a built in CD or DVD player. Sales of CD’s are now easily outstripped by downloads and games and PC software is cheaper to buy if you don’t want a CD. Whilst CD’s and DVD’s aren’t dead yet we’re not far away from reading them their last rites!

    Rapid take up of tablets like the iPad and Nexus (that ship with no USB port) could cause a similar problem for USB sticks at some time in the future but for now they seem to have taken over as the de facto way to save, store and carry personal data around.

  2. Printed and engraved sticks don’t have the same restrictions on their form factor as CD’s and DVD’s (they don’t have to be flat round pieces of polycarbonate plastic) so they come in a wide range of styles, designs and shapes and are manufactured from materials like wood, metal, plastic, leather and PVC. Pretty much all of these can be personalised, printed or engraved and pretty much all of them look (and feel) better and more professional than a CD or DVD with a printed label affixed to them.
  3. People will pay a premium for a well-designed, well packaged USB stick and this is particularly true when they are pre-loaded with the wedding or portrait portfolio.
Professional Photographers Wooden USB Sticks

Professional Photographers Wooden USB Sticks

The challenge for Professional Photographers when considering USB flash drives for the first time is which type of drive from the hundreds on offer will best suit their business, their personality and will appeal to their clients. Equally important is the type of packaging or gift box to choose to compliment the drive (well-chosen gift boxes lift the overall perceptions of quality and value). Finally consideration should be given to the performance of the drive – this is an often overlooked area but if standard “promotional drives” are chosen there is a real risk that the drives will be slow and will struggle to handle large files.

Wedding Photographers USB Sticks

Wedding Photographers USB Sticks

One option, when narrowing down which style/type of USB flash drive to buy, is to look at what works for other photographers and use this as a guide.  A particularly popular option is a wooden USB flash drive – these are typically engraved or printed with the photographer’s logo and supplied in a black gift box which again is printed or engraved. Photographers seem to be choosing this option because they look fantastic, they’re warm and tactile, the have an “eco” edge to them and of course they’re not the sort of thing you can pick up a PC World or Fry’s!

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Does Google Drive Sound the Death Knell for USB Flash Drives

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Whilst some critics are saying they are late to the market the announcement yesterday by Google of their new “Google Drive” service will have competitors like Dropbox and Microsoft (SkyDrive) quaking in their boots.  Hanns Kohler-Kruner from tech research firm Gartner has said “Google Drive will hit some competitors very hard and shake up the market,”

The free entry level option gives users 5GB (gigabytes) of storage. Options to increase the amount of storage (up to a maximum of 16TB) have also been launched but at the top end it’ll cost you $799.99. A more realistic 100GB of storage is available at $4.99 per month which compares favourably to Dropbox who currently charge $25 per month for a similar amount of storage.

Essentially Google Drive is a “Cloud based” storage solution that will allow users to upload and download data (files, pictures, videos, etc.) from their PC or Mac, their mobile phone or tablet. Android phones are supported from the get go and an update is expected within weeks to support iPhones.

With Google now entering the market will people still use or want portable storage options like USB Flash Drives? After all, why pay for a small USB stick that you might lose or break when you can simply upload your data safely and securely to a cloud based storage option like Google Drive. Not only that but whether you use Google, Dropbox or Microsoft you’ll expect your data to be accessible wherever you are and without any worries of it ever being lost or corrupted. With such compelling arguments why would you buy/use a USB flash drive?

Well for some people handing over their precious/sensitive data to Google and entrusting them to keep it secure is a “non-starter”. Worries of who will have access to the data, vulnerability to hacking and just general paranoia about not being able to “physically hold it” mean the solution is not going to be for everyone. But, for your average home user/student, particularly those with the latest smartphones and a Gmail accounts, an integrated Google solution is going to be a formidable option and services like these will gradually erode the use of USB flash drives in the consumer market.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Interestingly though, sales of promotional USB flash drives have never been stronger. Companies wishing to distribute data or provide a relatively inexpensive “branded giveaway” are now using USB flash drives in preference to CD’s and DVD’s and it’s a trend that looks set to continue. Underpinning the growth is a realisation that USB sticks have a high perceived value, they’re small and portable and they look great printed. It’s also cheaper to supply electronic brochures, price lists, catalogues etc. on a branded USB flash drive than it is to get them printed and distributed.

In response manufacturers and suppliers of promotional USB flash drives are continually bringing out new products to drive the market. Recent innovations include wafer thin credit card style USB flash drives that are only 2mm thick and bamboo USB flash drives that play well in the re-cycled/environmentally conscious market.

So, whilst consumers might start to reduce their spend on portable USB flash drives (in favour of cloud based solutions) they are increasingly likely to be given USB flash drives by companies looking for a way to communicate with them in a more innovative and cost effective manner.

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Debt Turmoil In USA & Greece Hits Flash Drive Prices

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Even if you don’t read the business or money pages it’s been difficult to avoid the debt problems in Greece and more latterly the “Debt Ceiling” problems in the US. The US debt has reached $14.3 trillion or to put it another way $4k for every man, woman and child in the US. Unless the US Congress agrees to allow the US Government to borrow more money then the US Treasury could run out of money!

With Greece all but “bust” and the US teetering on the brink of a technical default the currency markets have been a little “choppy” to say the least! Unfortunately the core components that make up a USB flash drive (flash memory, flash controller chip and flash capacitor) are all priced and traded in US dollars so when the markets get nervous the price of flash drives can fluctuate wildly.

Flash Drive Prices in Choppy Waters

Flash Drive Prices in Choppy Waters

In an ideal world the suppliers of flash drives would like some stability in the prices so that they can offer customers a price which is valid for more than a few hours but the margins on the supply of flash drives are skinny and competition is fierce so any price quoted tends to be valid for a maximum of 3-days!

Fortunately, the longer term trend for USB flash drive pricing is downwards albeit there does tend to be an upward spike in prices in late summer when the large players (Apple, HTC, Kingston etc.) start to place their orders for Christmas stock. These orders might not be for USB flash drivers per se but the products they schedule into their production plans nearly always include some form of flash memory and a general increase in demand for flash memory ripples through to the USB flash drive market.

So, when asking for a price for printed USB flash drives don’t be surprised if the price is higher than you were quoted before or if the price is only valid for a couple of days – it’s just a reflection of the market and at the moment the instability in the market!

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Branded USB Flashdrives Solve Marketing and Promotional Challenges

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Communicating with consumers today is much harder than it used to be, however branded USBs can hold the attention of your target audience for those valuable few minutes.

In the early days of business and trading, marketing was performed in the market place where the businesses and customers were gathered.  Marketing was much less varied than today but it was simpler as businesses knew where their customers were and how to get their attention.

With the introduction of newspapers and the wireless more marketing options were available for companies to reach their target market, but it also started to separate customers.  Businesses would have to decide which newspaper best reached their target market, advertise with them and hope that they reached the right readers.

Today however, this problem is much more problematic.  The invention of the television, computer games, Internet and multiple other entertainment mediums have led to a wide range of marketing streams and in turn have further separated customers into segments of one.  Not only are customers becoming harder to reach but they are interrupted from the media and entertainment they want with TV and radio adverts etc.

The challenge therefore is to become creative and clever in the marketing that is used to gain the attention of the right people.  Some companies spend millions on market research to discover which mediums they should use, but really what they should be doing is going back to basics.

When you give a brand new, shiny USB stick to your potential customers branded with your logo, you instantly catch their attention with something that is both visually appealing and useful to them.  We find that there is something a little more interesting and valuable to a USB flash drive than an old fashioned business card, leaflet or even a CD.  A large majority of times your customer is going to plug the memory stick into a computer to use it for file transfers to find out what has been pre loaded onto the USB stick they have been handed.

In that moment you have the complete and undivided attention of a perfectly targeted customer.  For the price of a USB flash drive, a fraction of the cost of any large marketing campaign, you have a few minutes of valuable engaged advertising.

Another advantage of this type of engaging marketing is that files, documents and information that would not be possible to communicate via other forms of marketing can be placed in front of the people you want to read it.

Our USBs can be preloaded with any type of marketing material that deserves the engaging attention of your potential customers.  The files can be set to auto-run when the USB drive is plugged into a computer so that the information isn’t missed and the drives can even be partitioned so that the information is protected whilst the rest of the drive can be used for data storage.  What’s more, the data loading is free (up to 100MB)!!!

To find out more about our data loading services click here.

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Still Sending Out Paper Brochures – Save A Fortune With USB Flash Drives

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Are you one of the thousands of companies that are still sending out glossy, thick, and expensive sales brochures in the post? It’s bad enough if you’re sending these out domestically but if you’re sending them internationally the costs can spiral rapidly.

Print and paper cost are much higher than they used to be and postage costs continue to escalate at levels way beyond inflation.

If you’re a regular buyer of paper for your brochures you might have been lucky enough to see relatively modest price increase of around 4-5% in the last year but without a contract you could have seen prices increase by as much as 20%!

Postage costs are not much better either – to send a relatively small brochures to most major European countries will cost around £3-£4 in postage fees alone and you’ve got to add to this the cost of a large, decent quality padded envelope as well!

On this basis a printing and mailing a moderate sized brochure to customers in the UK could easily cost an average of £4-£5 and brochures sent into Europe could cost as much as £10 each. That’s an awful lot of money for something that “might” get used or might just end up in the bin within a couple of minutes of being opened.

A much cheaper option and an option that is likely to get your brand much higher levels of exposure is to use a branded USB flash drive printed with your company logo and contact details and pre-loaded with an “electronic” version of your brochure.

Twister USB Flash Drives

Twister USB Flash Drives

Branded USB flash drives (even with your data pre-loaded) cost as little as £2-£3 each and because they are much small and lighter than a paper brochure the cost to post them out is a fraction of their paper equivalent.

The real beauty of using flash drives to distribute your brochure is that you can include so much more information without any increase in the cost. For example you couple pre-load onto your USB flash drives price lists, technical drawings, press releases, video clips and presentation files.

The recipient of the branded flash drive can either transfer the electronic brochure onto their work PC or they can keep it on the flash drive. Either way they’re likely to keep the flash drive and use it to store and carry their own data on – in this way your brand gets on-going exposure.

If you’re interested in getting a quote for USB flash drives printed with your logo and pre-loaded with your brochure then give us a call on 0800 008 7079 or fill in the on-line quote form on our web site.

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New Clip USB Flash Drive Launched – and its fab!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

OK we might be a little biased but we think the latest addition to our range of USB flash drives is destined to be a serious contender. The Clip flash drive is a gorgeous little stainless steel drive that can be “clipped” to your clothing or work papers and folders.

USB Clip Drive

USB Clip Drive

There is no cap to lose and the ability to attach this drive securely in a range of different ways should mean the flash drive itself is not lost either.

It’s available in 2 different finishes (gold/silver effect) and it can be printed or engraved – both options look fantastic.

So, if you’ve got a show, a conference or a seminar coming up then the Clip USB flash drive is certainly worth adding to your shortlist. Of course USB flash drives are incredibly popular at the moment with millions being given away every year. Most of them are purchased by companies looking to support their sales and marketing activities although a growing number are given away by schools and universities.

With large number of USB flash drives now being given away part of the challenge when sourcing them for your school

clip_drive_grey_reverse

Reverse of USB Clip Drive

or company is to find something that’s a little bit different than the standard rectangular plastic model – if you’re buying them to support your brand you want them to look good and be well received. The Clip USB flash drive is certainly a little bit different and you’d be hard pressed to find someone would not be happy to be given one.

If you’re not sure what the Clip drive will look like with your logo printed or engraved onto it just give us a call or fill out our on-line enquiry form and we’ll arrange for the Clip USB flash drive to be mocked up for you. This is a free, no obligation service and we can typically turn around your mock-up request the same day.

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Spring has Definitely Sprung and USB Flash Drives Are Flourishing

Monday, March 28th, 2011

What a difference a few weeks make. It seems only yesterday that we were facing blizzard conditions with airports and roads closed and much of the UK’s infrastructure coming to a standstill. Look out of the window today and what a difference – the sun is up, temperatures are rising and despite all the doom and gloom about the economy, there’s a really positive feel in the air.

Spring is also a time when trade shows and trade fairs kick-off with a vengeance. Look at the schedule of forthcoming shows and you’re see a crammed diary with shows covering all manner of topics an subjects including flower shows, caravan fairs and birdwatching to name but a few. As we drag ourselves out of our “winter hibernation” many of the shows have a real Spring feel to them.

The exhibitors at these show and fairs invest huge sums of money to attract potential customers to their stands with the typical cost of attending a national show running into many thousands of pounds. For the larger companies a show budget running into six figures is not unusual.

Spring USB Flash Drives

Spring USB Flash Drives

The majority of the costs are taken up by fees to the shows organisers (space fees) and the costs of the booth or stand. Small “extras” at the show like power sockets, signage, carpets and build costs also add significantly to the typical spend.

Much of the job of driving customers to the shows tends to be left to the shows organisers but once the attendees are in the show halls its down to the exhibitors to get their stand to draw in the customers. Some companies will rely on the compelling nature of their products or offer to draw the customers in, others will be confident in the sales skills of their staff to lure customers to the stand but for many they’ll combine these with a “giveaway” that can be picked up on the stand.

Typical show giveaways include printed bags, promotional sweets (again, often branded with a logo), soft drinks, caps, pens and stress balls. Another technique is to run a business card draw for a larger gift like an iPad or iPhone – show attendees are simply encouraged to hand over a business card which in turn is included in the prize draw.

Another promotional product that is finding favour with exhibitors is the branded USB flash drive. These are customised versions of a standard flash drive that can be printed with the exhibitors company logo, phone number and web address and more importantly they can be pre-loaded with the exhibitors sales brochures, price lists, product images, video clips and audio files.

The beauty of the branded USB flash drive is that it has a high perceived value, it will, without doubt, be popular and attract customers and its costs can be offset by the saving made by not printing and transporting brochures etc. Unlike other “giveaways” that frequently end up in the bins outside of the exhibition halls USB flash drives will be kept and will, in most cases, be used again and again so any company using them will be assured on on-going brand exposure.

Whilst promotional products and giveaways typically account for less than 5% of a show budget it’s important that this spend works and is effective not only during the show but also ideally after the show. Branded USB flash drives deliver on this aspiration hence why more and more of them will be given away at trade show and fairs this year.

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Black and Yellow – A Huge Hit (and with USB Flash Drives)

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Love it or hate it (and I guess it’s a song that has a resonance with a certain age group) the song Black and Yellow has been a massive hit around the world. The song was released by American black rapper Wiz Khalifia on September 14th 2010 and reached No 1 on the US Billboard Charts in February 2011. So far over 2.5 million digital copies of Black and Yellow have been sold.

Black and Yellow USB Flash Drives

Black and Yellow USB Flash Drives

The song’s title pays homage to the colours of the City of Pittsburg and its various sports teams who mostly play in “black and yellow” strips. The most notable being the Pittsburg Steelers, the City’s local football team.

In the branded USB Flash Drive market the colours Black and Yellow are also proving popular because they’re an incredibly striking and powerful combination. Printing black text on a strong yellow background lifts the text and really makes the USB flash drive stand out – they’re certainly hard to avoid!

Black and Yellow Flash Drives

Black and Yellow Flash Drives

Of course, it helps if your brand or company colours are black and yellow to start with but even if they’re not its worth thinking about whether this colour combination could work for you. If not you might want to think about using two other strong colours to use – sometimes the old adage “less is more” is a useful guide when printing flash drives.

By using fewer colours the finished USB drives will be cheaper because you typically pay a fee per colour and

Black and Yellow Twister

Black and Yellow Twister

potentially they’ll be stronger on the eye. The objective with promotional USB flash drives is primarily to get the recipients to build some affinity with your brand and to buy your products or services. So, starting with a flash drive that is striking and crystal clear in terms of the message you want to get out will help.

If you’re not sure what colours will work best for you then throw the challenge and your USB flash drive supplier. Most good and reputable suppliers will have in-house designers whose job is to help customers visualise the options and get the best from their budget.

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USB Flash Drives Trends – Pound begins to strengthen against the USD

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Like many products in the world today USB flash drives are manufactured in China and trade with the factories that produce them is all undertaken in US Dollars ($). So, when the British Pound (£) strengthens against the USD ($) the net effect is a reduction in the factory price of USB flash drives that are imported into the UK.

In May 2010 the US Dollar stood at $1.43 against the GBP (£) but since then the GBP has gradually strengthen to the point where it now stands at $1.62 – this 13% rise in the strength of the British Pound equates to a direct 13% fall in the cost of USB flash drives imported into the UK.

Worries of inflation getting out of control, not helped by recent VAT increases and a rise in commodities, mean we’re

USB Prices

USB Prices

likely to see Base Rates in the UK increase sooner rather than later. The release today of the minutes of February’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting shows growing support for an early rate increase and this sentiment has driven further strengthening of the Pound.

Of course currency exchange rates are not the only factors that determine the price of USB flash drives but they are a pretty critical one and it is one of the key reasons why many suppliers of flash drives will only hold quotes for around 3 days!

Other factors that have a bearing on the price of USB flash drives are classic supply and demand trends, for example prices always spike upwards when some of the global brands place large pre-Christmas orders on the flash memory factories. Bizarrely short terms shortages caused by local power outages (yes, they still happen in China) can also feed through to the price of USB flash drives.

Fundamentally “flash” is a commodity and traded on the markets just like coffee, gold and cereals. As such the price a customer pays can vary dramatically within is short space of time and with so many factors driving the price its difficult to judge which way prices will move.

The only sure thing is that over time prices for a given memory size will fall. They always have and always will. The challenge is predicting what happens in the next few weeks and months!

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