B•Informed: Logo USB Flash Drives

Logo USB Drives are known by many names: Custom Flash Drives, Imprinted Thumb Drives, Customized Stick Memory, etc. Whatever you call them, they continue to be popular promotional products for a wide range of businesses. Over the years, they’ve also become available in just about every imaginable style and, if it’s not already available, chances are that a completely custom design can be made to your specifications.
Custom Flash Drives are available in a variety of options from pre-loaded data to lanyards and gift boxes.

Types of Products

Standard Flash Drives – Using “standard” here is a bit of a misnomer since there are hundreds of different standard Flash Drives available from the highly popular swivel flash drives to people-shaped novelty flash drives.
Flash Drive Key Chains – As technology advances it has enabled flash drives to be compressed into smaller packages, the popularity of Logo Flash Drive Key Chains continues to grow. In addition to traditional and novelty style drives that double as a key fob, the newest styles include highly compact key-shaped drives. The great thing about Flash Drive Key Chains is that your flash drive is as handy as your keys. Of course, if you tend to lose your keys a lot, this may not be the perfect option after all.
 Flash Drive Pens – Custom Flash Drive Pens combine the flash memory in what often appears to be the cap of a pen. The USB Drive portion can then be connected to a PC or laptop while the Pen remains available for use. Because the pen must accommodate the width of the USB drive, these devices are more comparable to wide pens rather than a slim stick style pen.
Credit Card Flash Drives – While they’re not quite as thin as a credit card, they are shaped like a credit card. The USB connector typically swivels to extend out from the card when connecting to a PC and then closes back to the center of the card for storage. These Logo Credit Card Flash Drives tend to offer the largest imprint area with full-color imprint options available.
Flash Drive Styluses – Logo Flash Drive Styluses are the latest evolution of flash drives. While current selection is very limited, there will most certainly be a number of new products being introduced in the months ahead. Currently, there are two basic versions: one looks like a more traditional “standard” USB drive with a stylus protruding from one end and the other is comparable to the Flash Drive Pens except for replacement of the pen portion with a stylus. 
A cautionary note: As of this writing, many of these pen-styled Flash Drive Styluses include Resistive Styluses used on early PDAs rather than Capacitive Styluses used for iPads, iPhones and most Android devices. Look for the fatter, rubber capacitive styluses rather than the narrow, pointed resistive styluses if you are looking for one that will work with more recent touchscreens. If in doubt, just submit an Information Request from the specific product’s page that you are interested in or contact a Customer Service Representative.
Flash Drive Wristbands – Logo Flash Drive Wristbands are another great way to keep your flash drive at your fingertips….or, wrist, as the case maybe. These devices integrate the flash memory and USB connector in to a wristband.    While most Custom Flash Drive Wristbands are comparable to the popular Silicone Balance Wristbands, there are options made from metal and faux leather that are similar in appearance to traditional ID bracelets.  
Custom Shape Flash Drives – While there are hundreds of styles, shapes and sizes of stocked wristbands available including many that are available domestically, there is always an option to create your own custom shape Flash Drive. While these tend to require larger order quantities, have longer lead times and higher costs, these custom shaped drives can make quite an impression. Often, companies will create a custom shaped drive based on their logo, product or some other attribute that the company may be associated with (for example, big brown delivery trucks; orange, red and purples airplane, etc.).  These items must be quoted based on the specific design requirements. 
TIP: When considering a custom USB design, keep in mind that the design must accommodate a USB connector and be able to easily be plugged into a laptop and computer USB ports which may have adjacent drives and cables.     

Memory Sizes

Logo Thumb Drives are available with a wide range of memory from 32 MB to 16 GB. Some manufacturers are eliminating the smaller memory sizes from their product selection based on the fact that most customers are looking for at least 256 MB drives. In general, if you are looking for a size that isn’t listed on the catalog page, ask a Customer Service Representative since the factory may offer that size even though it’s not one that is normally posted.

Optional Feature

Depending on the manufacturer, there are a variety of optional features available for Customized USB Drives including:
Custom Printed Lanyards – A custom lanyard can be a great option for drives featuring an attachment point. This helps keep drives readily available for users.
Gift Boxes – Many drives are available pre-packed into a variety of gift boxes. In some cases, there may also be options for imprinting of the gift box as well as the flash drive.
Pre-Loaded Data – A great option for conferences and tradeshows, factories can pre-load data onto drives before shipping. While approaches can vary between factories, typically, you upload the data on to a website and then the factory will load it onto each drive. This approach can save considerable time when preparing larger quantities of Logo Flash Drives. Keep in mind that data will need to be available prior to production of the drives so advanced planning is required.

Lead Times

While most memory is produced overseas, many factories are now stocking the most popular Logo USB Drive styles domestically enabling them to imprint the drives and ship more quickly. Typical lead times for domestic production can run from 3-10 days depending on quantities and options with basic rush production (1 color/1 location) available in as little as 1 day (not including shipping).  Of course, domestic selection is limited to the most popular styles and memory sizes. 
Overseas production is available on a full-selection of Logo Flash Drives as well as Custom Shaped Drives. While typically offering lower costs, overseas production lead times vary from 10 to 60 days or more depending on quantities, level of customization and options. Longer lead times are associated primarily with custom shaped drives rather than standard stocked styles. 
It is important to keep in mind that overseas produced products are typically produced in China. During certain holidays factories close for extended periods of time which can limit overseas options for near terms need dates. Also, it is important to be aware that products produced and imprinted overseas must go through US Customs which, although uncommon, can result in unforeseeable delays (see Terms and Conditions).   

Custom USB Pricing

Pricing of USB drives is based on the amount of memory, the type and style of case selected for the memory, imprint requirements and optional features selected (e.g. gift box, data upload, rush production, additional imprint colors/locations, etc.).
It is important to be aware that the memory included in Flash Drives is considered a commodity. As with most commodities, the price of memory can fluctuate from day to day. While significant daily fluctuations aren’t as common as they once were, various world events can cause dramatic adjustments in price very quickly.  This was most evident following the Tsunami in Japan.  Also at the time of writing this article (March 2013) 1GB and 2GB memory was at a shortage with increased pricing. As a result, it’s important to call to verify any on-line pricing that you find to ensure accuracy regardless of the sources. Many manufactures update pricing weekly, though they reserve the option of adjusting prices more frequently as market conditions warrant.  As a result, we will only guarantee pricing included in our formal quotes for 24 hours. 

Promotional Opportunities

Custom Flash Drives can serve many useful promotional and business purposes. With the wide range of styles and varying capacities, Logo USB Drives can serve a wide range of promotional and business purposes. Among the potential uses are:
eCatalogs – As more companies move away from printed catalogs in an effort to become more environmentally friendly and reduce costs, Customized Thumb Drives are increasingly used to distribute complete product catalogs along with reference material, order forms and much more. 
Conferences – Rather than sending conference participants home with binders of information that they must find room for in their baggage, many conference organizers are utilizing Logo USB Drives to provide participants will all the required materials. With data uploading options, this can also significantly reduce costs associated with copying, binding and shipping materials to conference locations. The Custom Paper Clip Flash Drive and Custom Pen Flash Drive are particularly well suited for conferences.
Office & Schools – In addition to company stores and bookstores, many companies, schools and universities provide workers and students with Logo USB Drives to support near-paperless environments while reducing reliance on printers and copiers.  
Tax Preparers – Rather than print out copies of tax forms and supporting documents, many preparers extend the advantages of e-filing by providing customers with electronic copies of their tax documents via Logo USB Flash Drives which can be used year after year. Alas, gone are the file drawers with 20 years of tax reports!
Note: BInformed™ Articles are meant to provide generalized information to aid in the understanding of common product characteristics and options. The applicability of this information to specific products may vary from the generalized information provided here. This information is provided as a courtesy to customers and does not serve as an explicit or implied guarantee or warranty relative to any individual product. For questions concerning specific products, please submit an Information Request from the applicable Product webpage or contact a Customer Service Representative. Also, please see Terms & Conditions.