The PSI 2014 is presenting itself in a completely new form. First of all the exhibitors can invite their customers to Europe’s leading trade show for promotional products free of charge. The distributors can look forward to around 800 exhibitors and a host of innovations from the “PSI First Club” through to the “PSI After Work“.

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Silke Frank

A pug with a ballpoint pen, a lady with lanyards as suspenders. The PSI Show 2014 has launched eye-catching advertisements and is promoting the paradigm shift – from a business show to a lifestyle show. How is the campaign going down with the suppliers and distributors?

Silke Frank: The new campaign is very popular both with the distributors and manufacturers, because it reflects precisely what the market – and inevitably also the PSI Show – needs: new ideas and impulses, creativity and innovations. The PSI Show was and still is – like all trade fairs – a reflection of the industry and as the market’s leading show has to carry out its core task, namely to provide impulses and offer the market a platform for the exchange of industry news, networking and knowledge transfer.

You have not only revamped the show, there are also countless further innovations: i.e. the “PSI First Club“ or the “PSI Catwalk”. Can you tell us something about the concrete implementation thereof?

Silke Frank: 50 exclusive companies will be showcasing products at the “PSI First Club” that have not previously been presented – not even at company events. The members of the “PSI First Club” will not only be heavily promoted at the show, but also in the run-up to the fair, for example via an exclusive advertising campaign. Of course, the novelties won’t actually be revealed until January 8, 2014. They can be admired during the show at the stands of the participating companies, which will be easy to find on the pocket hall plans thanks to an integrated “PSI First – Route”. The plans will be distributed at the two entrances. Incidentally, every hall plan contains a bonus voucher of the “PSI First” companies featuring fantastic show offers.
In the case of the “PSI Catwalk”, we will be taking advantage of the fact that around 300 exhibitors will be exhibiting products from the textile sector, offering them the opportunity to present their products live on models with thrilling musical accompaniment. We will thus carry our visitors away into the fashion world for 15 minutes, giving them a short break and the chance to enjoy drinks and a snack, which will in turn also promote business.

The “PSI Club Night” was always one of the highlights of the past years. However, this event is not being staged this year; instead the PSI is inviting guests to attend the After- Work-Event in the entrance area, the socalled mall. How did this change come about?

Silke Frank: The “PSI Night” was always a fantastic networking event, which was attended by approx. 1,000 manufacturers, distributors and important industry and media representatives. We are staying true to this concept with the new “PSI After- Work”, but we have relocated the event into the mall in order give all of the exhibitors and visitors of the PSI 2014 the chance to bring the first and second exhibition days to a pleasant close on the exhibition grounds while enjoying a drink and a snack, accompanied by the networkingcompatible music of our PSI DJ “Vince”. A lot of exhibitors use this platform to meet up with their customers after the show closes. Others invite guests to their own stand parties at their booths. This year we will be complementing each other optimally and it will also offer new PSI Show participants the possibility to get to know the industry and its most important players.

What is going to happen at the “Lunch & Learn Forum”?

Silke Frank: The theme of knowledge transfer is becoming increasingly more significant within the industry, as the example of legal prerequisites on the theme of the product safety law, etc. clearly demonstrate. Our “PSI Design Forum” expert, Lutz Gathmann will be holding a lecture on the theme of “labelling requirements” during the “Lunch & Learn Forum”. Also on board again is the German Patent and Trademark Office with a lecture on the theme of “Protected Diversity” – an important theme especially for market newcomers and inventors. Furthermore, the Customs Office will be presenting itself “as a partner in the battle against brand and product piracy”. A further newcomer is the Fairwear Foundation, which will address the issue of important improvements in the value chain within the textile industry. The Swiss company promoFACTS will also be making an important contribution in January by holding impulse seminars on the marketing of promotional products. The Lunch & Learn Forum is located in the Hall 13-Area in Hall 12, some of the events are almost fully-booked, it is possible to register on-site – as long as there is still capacity available.

There were already plenty of additional offers for the visitors at last year’s PSI Show, i.e. guided tours on specific subjects. Not all of these measures were well received. How do you intend to motivate the visitors for the new programme items considering the notoriously tight time schedule?

Silke Frank: The guided tours were an attempt to make visiting the show easier especially for first-time visitors, leading the tour-goers to exhibitors according to specific themes. However, the tours were far too long; we lost the visitors along the way in the huge exhibition halls that do after all span approx. 30,000 square metres. Unfortunately, this idea failed – one simply has to be honest here. However, this sometimes happens when one is trying to implement new ideas.

In 2014, the PSI Show will only be occupying Halls 9-12 of the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre. What is going to happen to “Hall 13”, which was extremely popular among many visitors because a lot of unknown exhibitors were found there?

Silke Frank: Of course, “Hall 13“ will carry on existing, it has simply been integrated into Hall 12 as the “Hall 13-Area”. This is where the visitors can discover totally new exhibitors, inventors and newcomers, who present their products in the “Forum for Young Innovative Companies”.

The reduction down to four halls will mean that the show takes on more compact dimensions. How many exhibitors will be participating precisely?

Silke Frank: We are currently in the midst of selling space for the PSI 2014 – just like our colleagues, whose shows take place just after ours. Over the past Silke Frank “The number of visitor registrations is currently up on the previous year, so we are reckoning with an increase in attendance compared to the PSI 2013.” lexon-design.com contact@lexon-design.com few years, it has been observed that many companies put off deciding whether to exhibit at a show until late in the year. We are currently assuming that there will be approx. 800 exhibitors, which is still a good result considering the tense market situation.

The sizes of the stands have decreased noticeably over the past years. Are the exhibitors tending to display economic good sense rather than giving in to the desire to present their companies on as large a scale as possible?

Silke Frank: This is definitely the case for several companies. Other companies on the other hand use the change in stand size to present their new communication concept within the PSI. Splendid stand concepts are created for this purpose, elaborate marketing campaigns are prepared, which are launched prior to or at the PSI. And of course, there are also always companies that increase their space in order to ensure that they expand the radius of attention they attract.

Some of the big names and flagships are missing among the exhibitors. Are you afraid that the attractiveness of the show could suffer as a result that several global players have decided not to participate in the PSI Show 2014?

Silke Frank: We haven’t observed this trend yet; the number of visitor registrations is currently up on the previous year, so we are reckoning with an increase in attendance compared to the PSI 2013. This is no doubt a reaction to our innovations and new measures. Apart from which, several companies will be represented at the PSI 2014, who had decided not to participate in the PSI in the last few years, having opted for different communication channels or events, a development which we find particularly pleasing.

For the first time in 2014, distributors will be permitted to visit the PSI Show free of charge, as long as they have been invited by an exhibitor. Is this a reaction to the decline in visitors over the last years?

Silke Frank: We quite consciously made this decision in order to offer our exhibitors the opportunity to invite their customers, without them having to pay anything extra. This is certainly a big step for the PSI, which we have gladly taken, since it also constitutes an investment in the industry as well as in the PSI Show.

Similar to last year, non-PSI members will be able to attend the PSI Show, if they are invited by exhibitors and if they correspond in principle to the criteria for a PSI membership. Why is this measure being taken and how will you ensure that the members and nonmembers will be treated equally?

Silke Frank: That is a justified question and there is a clear answer: The industry needs new impulses, new faces and further players on the market. This is no longer the 1960s, the market has changed and it continues to change. The PSI Show is only one component of the entire service package that we offer our members, which we will present at the show together with other components such as the “Product Finder 2.0” or the “LiveData Services”. It must simply be made possible to take a look at an event before having to sign a membership contract. The qualification criteria are of course an important element of the whole thing. And on the theme of equal treatment: Every distributor can be invited by the manufacturer he trusts, we don’t make any exceptions here. This also shows how well networked the distributors in our branch are.

The PSI Düsseldorf is Europe’s largest promotional products trade fair. Nevertheless, there are rival events in all major European markets each with a national radius. Does the PSI Show still reach distributors all over Europe?
Silke Frank: It is true that there are regional platforms all over Europe in the meantime, some of which are very successful. These are good events because they reflect their regional market. And specifically in times of economic difficulties people prefer to attend regional events. However, one cannot expect to find the entire bandwidth there that the PSI Show delivers as a reflection of the European market – because after all visitors from 70 countries and exhibitors from 35 nations meet up annually at the PSI Düsseldorf.