Serial Numbers & Bar Codes On USB Flash Drives

When companies’ print onto USB flash drives it is typically done to promote their brand and engender some degree of customer awareness, loyalty or both. Branded USB flash drives are also increasingly given away with data pre-loaded onto the drive as a convenient and cost effective way of distributing product and pricing information or copies of presentation slides and/or press releases.

Distributing branded USB flash drives is not new but it is growing in popularity with millions of them being given away every year. Flash drives are now so popular that they have become the de facto way to save, store and carry around data files and they are in daily use in education, business and at home. This growth in popularity creates opportunities and also challenges.

The challenge if you’re giving away flash drives is to ensure that your drive doesn’t become “just another” flash drive amongst many or if it is to make sure that it stands out from the crowd and gets used. There are several ways to do this:

  • Commission custom USB’s in a shape that reflects your company’s identity or the product you are promoting. Examples include cars, fork-lift trucks, pieces of fruit, trainers, floor heaters and so on.
  • Get the USB flash drives pantone matched (this is where you define the body shell colour rather than accepting a standard factory colour). This will help your USB drive stand out from the crowd.
  • Give away a flash drive with a large amount of free storage space. This encourages the recipient to use your drive in preference to any others he/she may have.

The opportunities are many. Amongst other things flash drives are already being used to:

  • Launch new music bands (the disks are pre-loaded with the bands music, bio’s and video’s and tour dates)
  • Store and distribute wedding photo’s (as well as being used as wedding favours)
  • Celebrate the impending birth of a child (3-D and 4-D baby scans are being loaded onto flash drives and given to parents)
  • Record Race Day track event information – driver data and photographs are automatically recorded onto flash drive during “Driving Experience” and “Track Days”. These drives are then given to the participant at the end of their day out.

Flash Drive Serial Numbers and Bar Code Printing

Another interesting development is the use of the branding option on flash drives to include printed bar codes and unique serial numbers. This allows companies to distribute things like software updates via USB drives whilst strictly controlling the distribution of the drives. The drives are scanned as they move around the organisation the combination of bar code and unique serial number “binds” the flash drive to a particular person, location or department.

Whilst unique serial numbers and bar codes are not the most exciting examples of printing on a USB memory stick they do illustrate how creative companies are getting in their use.

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