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PSI 2024: Quality, Politics, History

Redaktion PSI Journal

Published on 02.02.2024

Opinion Petra Lassahn, Director PSI (PSI Journal February 2024)

2024 can gladly continue the way it has started: PSI 24 kept up with all our expectations – and even more. For three days, we met up in Düsseldorf, networking, drawing inspiration, and becoming enthralled. And the astonishing thing was that, despite farmers’ demonstrations and Germany-wide rail strikes, the PSI trade show welcomed 500 visitors more on two trade show days than the previous year in Düsseldorf. Trade show insiders know that, without strikes and demos, another thousand or more visitors would have been there. That says a lot about the quality and significance of this trade show.

It also demonstrates that PSI has impressively continued to expand its status as Europe’s leading trade show for the promotional products business. With 567 exhibitors and 11,003 visitors from 69 countries, we exceeded 2023’s high level. Particular thanks, at this point, to the participants and guests from this year’s partner country, the Netherlands, who brought many products, trends and new perspectives into the trade show halls.

What struck me most particularly? Once more, the trade show demonstrated why in-person contact and direct communication are indispensable for our industry. Both are simply part of human nature – we are not digital beings, after all. Part of this, and you know this yourself, is that promotional products need to be experienced, looked at, and touched. In addition to lips and tongue, precisely the fingers are where the most sensory receptors are located. When beauty is confirmed in haptics and quality, the objective has been achieved.

It was also good to see exhibitors and visitors taking a lot of time for one another this year. Wheelie trolleys have virtually vanished from the trade show picture; there was a clear rise in the number of expert conversations, there is deeper interest in products, in quality and impact. Exhibitors and visitors had only positive things to say about this development.

To get back to communication: As an industry, we not only have to communicate with one another and with the customers, but we also need to seek continuous contact to politicians. And so PSI, as a dialogue platform, offered scope not only for business encounters, but also important political conversations. Bundestag member Markus Herbrand (FDP and party chairman in the finance committee) and Bundestag member Manfred Todtenhausen (FDP and member of the economics committee) were in Düsseldorf and were visibly impressed by product presentation and quality on the traditional trade show tour. In conversations with entrepreneurs, they also learned very vividly where the industry is feeling the squeeze: they took away these topics to share with their party and respective committees.

One of my personal highlights was the MoPA – or “Museum of Promotional Articles”, which conducted visitors through the past, present and future of promotional products and demonstrated how lively, innovative, and forward-looking our industry is. Speaking of the MoPA, my particular thanks go to Steven Baumgaertner, who put lots of time and effort into curating this exhibition. In partnership with him, we were able to present how industry, marketing and cultural influences have shaped the promotional product since its appearance on the promotional scene. There were many compliments for this, even from senior mayor Dr. Stephan Keller, who opened the MoPA on the evening before the trade show.

It was my great pleasure. See you again.

Petra Lassahn
Director PSI