USB Flash Memory Done Right…

Posted on July 10, 2008 by

As a company that services Ottawa’s association and council market, as well as the Government of Canada, I wanted to shed some light on the practical applications of using USB flash drives as a method of delivering interactive and dynamic content. I speak with Comm and Marketing managers every day, and there seems to be a lot of differing opinions on CD/DVD vs. USB.

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM media has traditionally been the vehicle of choice for delivering documentation, interactive driven presentations, promotional pieces, etc… but don’t discount the modern flash drive as a contemporary content delivery vehicle. There’s a big difference between a flash drive and a CD-ROM, and it’s important to note those differences. I think there’s a misconception about the flash drive and how useful it can be, not to mention concerns about the cost. I think part of that is because the flash drive is still seen as a portable hard drive for data storage. It’s usually not considered in the planning stages within comm and marketing teams as a way to deliver the developed message. When developing a communications piece, I think there needs to be consideration as to the intended audience. A disc media piece is great, and has the benefits of being packaged in a variety of different ways to produce the intended visual impression before the user hits what’s on it. A flash drive is fundamentally different in it’s presentation. They are viewed as tools, not one off, use once types pieces, which the disc media piece is generally seen as. Flash drives are not immediately considered because it’s believed that they can’t make the kind of impression that a printed disc piece can, which can affordably combine printed collateral and decorated discs. Flash drives are seen as gimmicky to some degree.

The truth is, the modern flash drive can be one of the most effective content vehicles that you decide to use. Users tend to think of it as a promotional gift, but if done right, and your users are properly made aware of the fact that there is an element of media on there that is meant to be seen by them, you’ll probably find that a flash drive will result in those same users viewing and retaining the media element at a significantly higher rate than if it were delivered on CD or DVD. There’s a reason for that. You’re giving them something. Mobile storage space for data. Industry Canada, pictured above, got it right when they decided to showcase Canada’s Life Sciences innovations via an interactive presentation on USB. They did something called a partitioned drive, which permanently left the presentation on the drive, taking up only about 90 MBs, and leaving over 400MB for the end user. The partitioned drive allows you to expose the user to the intended content, but leaves them with something that they can actually use as well. They did a combination of CD and USB, and the retention was much better than it was before, plus they were promoting their brand on a piece of equipment that had practical every day use for the users personally. USB is more expensive than CD or DVD, but it’s easy to distinguish the ROI when they’re slipped onto a user’s keychain for a year or two.

USB Flash Drives are not ideal for everything. If you’re producing a series of internal .PDF documents every month, meant for inter office eyes only, it may not be considered practical to do that on USB. If you’ve got a communications project that requires a high hit rate, and that you’re looking to make a lasting impression right off the mark, of if you’re supply a steady stream of regular content to a good client, a flash drive should definitely be a consideration. O

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2 responses to USB Flash Memory Done Right…

  1. Good post.

  2. Really good post on USB duplication and some flash drive explanations: http://www.iclickusb.com/blog/?p=121

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