Digital large-format printing, brilliant colours, iridescent foil effects for interior design, innovations in textile finishing and even a global premiere graced Europe’s Trade Show for Visual Communication in Düsseldorf. The concept focusses on interactive experiences plus the innovative layout went down well with both exhibitors and trade visitors alike.
The high quality of conversations and number of business deals closed, however, could not hide the fact that attendance levels were down on last year. With 7,160 visitors roughly the same number attended as in 2017.
Although the alliance forged by PSI, PromoTex Expo and viscom in The World of Advertising and Selling produced a stimulating effect on trade show activities many exhibitors would have like to see a higher footfall. “We have been taking part for 20 years now and also closed profitable business deals. The first day, however, footfall was too low,” says Lars Bendixen, Manager of the Signmaking Division at cutting machinery producer Zünd. Boris Buhl, Distribution Manager for the DACH region, also sums up results with mixed feelings. “The concept is right. It’s a good idea to expand the Live Signmaking Workshop as a central interactive area and to guide visitors along routes through the halls. But the human factor should not be forgotten. It obviously proved difficult to encourage more visitors from PSI to visit and busy themselves with viscom. Nathalie Eichner, Head of Marketing at Trotec, would also like to see an even closer dovetailing of the three events. “Without the alliance things would have been even more difficult for viscom but the synergies could produce a more perceivable impact. The trade show met with our expectations but did not exceed them.”
International trade visitors
Trade visitors did come from abroad and were, indeed, interested in high-quality products made in Europe. “We are participating at viscom for the first time because we want to build our business. We had been operating in Iran so far and now also have branches in Germany,” report Kourosh Sairy and Azadeh Dashti. They travelled from Iran to find a printer that they can cooperate with in future. Looking for new lines of business, Garcia Fulgencio travelled from Spain to Düsseldorf. His company has been successful for 35 years now. So far, the enterprise had focused on customer relations outside of Europe. “Now we wish to strengthen our business on the European market. This is why we are attending all three trade shows. I hope I will have enough time today. There is lots to discover everywhere.” On a quest for new ideas for their customers are also Petra Erasmi and Bernd Jacobs, Managing Directors at Chic Belgique. “We are particularly interested in textile finishing innovations since this is our core competence.” Both want to visit the trade shows to obtain a total overview of this sector of industry.
A world premiere
Exhibitor Volker Lienig voiced his satisfaction. “We celebrated the world premiere of our new printer Xpertjet 461UF and it was received very well,” said the Sales and Marketing Manager at Mutoh and stressed that to him the quality of conversations was centre stage. To some degree he attributed the avid interest taken by attendees to the accomplished staging at the show. “The asymmetrical architecture of the hall design made for a very relaxed trade show experience. Visitors took markedly more time.” This impression was also very much confirmed by Uwe Niklas as Distribution Manager at Mimaki. “We wanted change and we got change. The connection between the trade shows is good, the Live Signmaking Workshop is very accomplished. But the small “plant” still needs some time to grow and we should all allow it this time.”
Innovative hall layout
Petra Lassahn views the complex environment as another reason for the decline in visitor attendance. “In a highly competitive year it is anything but easy for viscom to stand its ground,” says the Director of viscom and stresses that after the successful debut in 2019 the concept was deliberately developed further into an interactive trade show format. “With the innovative layout we have tried to create a new customer journey. The Barber shop, for example, was a real attraction for many visitors.” Master barber André Lichtenscheidt trimmed hair and beards of just under 30 gentlemen in that short space of time.
For many of them the nostalgic setting also meant a journey through time. “We are beamed back into the Roaring Twenties – but this time in full colour. People were able to really disconnect and I enjoyed this so much that I will definitely be back next year.” Outside signmaker Frank Chaki designed the façade – all traditionally – by hand. “There is so much more soul to that and it is clearly more personal. Those taking a closer look can see every single brush stroke.” To him viscom was also a success above and beyond the signs he made. “My lecture was well attended, exchange was lively and I have established some good contacts.”
Mark Busche also capitalised on viscom to create new networks. “We successfully presented our system here at viscom and I discovered several sustainable textile manufacturers at PromoTex Expo that might be of interest as suppliers for me,” stressed the Managing Director of Shirtful. Together with his business partner Thomas Drees of the smake company he digitalised the production chain for personalised textile finishing and made it cost efficient. Visitors were invited to test the system in operation, design their personal shirts and take the finished garments home. “This has worked out very well. Most people came to pick up their orders and we met numerous customers. From our point of view it was a success.”