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 focusing 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.
viscom in Düsseldorf is an interactive trade show for signmaking and large format printing.
It targets professionals for visual communication predominantly from German-speaking countries. Over 8,000 trade visitors comprising signmakers, printers, light advertisers, media producers, booth builders and shop fitters as well as (car) wrappers can try out the latest machinery, materials, processes and applications of the 250 international manufacturers and distributors in an experience-rich hands-on way. Activity areas such as “Die Werkstatt”, the Forum Adobe & Corel and the Nations Wrap Cup present practical application examples and invite visitors to join in; themed tours provide orientation.
Exhibitors can expand their sales markets – they encounter an additional 17,000 international trade visitors of the concurrently held trade shows PromoTex Expo (the International Trade Show for Promotion, Sports and Workwear) and PSI (the Leading European Trade Show of the Promotional Products Industry), most of them promotional product distributors and consultants and textile decorators. Together the three trade shows cover the complete cross-section of visual communication, textile and haptical advertising.
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.”
Europe’s trade show for visual communication is the annual event for users from the international promotional industry. At the beginning of the year it kicks off the new business cycle. viscom places solutions from the entire sphere of visual communication centre stage with a special focus on large-format digital printing, signmaking, textile finishing machinery as well as PoS communication. The next viscom will be held in Düsseldorf from 12 to 14 January 2021, running concurrently with the trade shows PSI – Leading European Trade Show of the Promotional Products Industry and PromoTex Expo – International Trade Show for Promotion, Sports and Workwear. Together they form Europe’s biggest trade show alliance for advertising and selling.
Note: Visitor, exhibitor and exhibition space numbers stated for PSI, viscom and PromoTex Expo are established and certified in accordance with the uniform definitions of the FKM – Society for the Voluntary Control of Trade Fair and Exhibition Statistics.
Other Testimonials for the Trade Show:
“We are generally satisfied. We are primarily interested in gaining more exposure for our digital signage systems. Many signmakers first want to find out what’s available in this segment and what they can offer their customers. In general, our portfolio is also of interest to PSI and PromoTex Expo visitors. We therefore benefit from this trade show alliance.”
Ilja Weier, Distribution Aldisplays
“The atmosphere is positive across the board. The people who come to see us are thrilled with our products. We have received plenty of very positive feedback and this is highly motivating for our employees. Our coffee bar with the sustainable cups also met with great approval and the American Diner was a popular spot for photo opportunities.”
Holger Hahn, Trade Show Coordinator at Flyeralarm
“For nine years now, I have been part of this trade show and quite a few things have changed along the way. viscom has not only grown together with PSI and PromoTex Expo, there is also noticeably more interaction between the producers of textiles and those finishing them. This was missing in the beginning.”
Charlie Taublieb, Managing Director of Taublieb Consulting
“At the three trade shows I have found a plethora of examples of sustainability and approaches regarding the ethical aspect of products. This benefits the industry as a whole. Everyone should give it a thought with regard to their segment and their market – because we all have to do something.”
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