For the last three years, portable chargers and power banks have been one of the top premiums for promotions and gifting across all industries. The market is flooded with hundreds of styles, varying in capacity from 500 mAh boost charger to a 20,000 mAh high capacity power bank capable of charging iPads and smartphones multiple times. While hundreds of suppliers bring these hot devices to the marketplace, how do you determine which is the best product for your promotion, and is it safe for your brand?
First, let’s talk “Safety.”
When it comes to electronics, it is important the product is safety tested and certified. Defective or poor quality mobile accessories that are used to charge your cell phone, can destroy the device, catch on fire or explode. What may have started as a great marketing promotion could quickly turn in to a very expensive branding disaster. Ask Samsung. I imagine they still have not realized the full impact of the explosive Samsung Note 7 on their bottom line.
Although many chargers carry CE, FCC,or Rohs certifications, these are compliance certifications which do not have ensure safety testing, and are often self verified. Only UL (United Labs) testing ensures that electronic components have been tested and passed the stringent safety requirements to ensure product safety. Most of the reputable suppliers are now changing their charger and power banks to those that are UL listed (the battery is certified) or UL certified (the battery and all the components of the charging devices is safety tested). Although the best certification for complete brand protections is UL certification, UL listed devices offer good security for brand protection.
So, why don’t all suppliers have their electronics UL certified? Because it adds to the price. And what about all the portable chargers that have been sold over the last 5 years that were not UL tested? It all comes down to the supplier source. This is not a product you go on to Alibaba or some unknown supplier website to purchase, nor do you purchase from a distributor who does not understand how to protect your brand. At Custom Source, we have identified Secure Source Suppliers who only provide quality products which are compliant and safety tested. When it comes to chargers and power banks, that is a small list. It still amazes us that some of the largest promotional distributors carry products for which they have no documentation for safety testing (and often, customer service doesn’t even know the answer when you inquire). When looking at emergency chargers, you can’t determine quality by price. You need to know what you are purchasing, and the best way to do that is to work with a distributor who has extensive experienced in this area.
Now, let’s talk about other features you need to consider to choose the right charger for your promotion….
Emergency chargers usually range in capacity from 500 to 2600 mAh. To charge the average smartphone to 70-90% capacity, you need 2600 mAh. So, a 500-1000 mAh charger will give you a “boost” if you are navigating somewhere, on an important call on the way to your hotel, and your battery is about to die. Depending on how far you are from a charging source, it might help you, providing your battery hasn’t already died. We recommend 1000 mAh for a boost. A tablet or iPad requires on average 5000-6500 mAh, and you need a 2.1 Amp USB port. Now you are into a power bank, not just a charger. Higher capacity power banks give you the ability to charge your phone and iPad or multiple devices before the battery must be recharged. All can be recharged by a USB cord in your laptop and some can be charged directly in an AC wall outlet. Great for someone who travels.
Most people have some kind of emergency charger. So, how do you choose a product that will differentiate your premium from all the others. You call us 😊. Once we understand your audience and event venue, we recommend a product that will be the “one” they keep. Let’s face it, we all have our “favorite” pen or travel mug. If you want your charging device to create residual branding, it needs to be better than anyone the client or prospect owns. And we try all the new chargers so we can give you relevant advice! And the best product option, isn’t always the most expensive. For instance, I have a few favorites with different features that add convenience to my life. The charger banks that have suction cups are great when you need a charge on the run. Nothing more annoying than having to carry your phone and an emergency battery around when you are still trying to use the phone, like at a tradeshow! Having a boost charger is great if it fits on a keychain or hooks easily to something you carry around all the time…how many times do you need a real emergency “boost” but your charger is at home? And then I also keep a high capacity (compact size) power bank when I travel and know I will not be able to rejoice my phone or iPad until the end of the day.
Sometimes the best charging device is one that emphasizes your brand identity. It might be a custom shape, a light up device, or one that conveys your promotion with full color printing. It could be a lower capacity item for a limited budget promotion, or a gift set packaged in a custom printed or high end gift box to make an impressive gift presentation for an important executive.
Technology products have been and remain the #1 category for brand marketing. As technology continues to be the center of our lives, new premiums are developed with cool features to increase engagement and ROI.
Check our Gallery for some of the hottest technology trends, or give our brand team a call so we can recommend or custom design the best product for your upcoming promotion or event.