PSI Update: This is what the industry can look forward to

Julia Bernert

Published on 28.02.2022

Look ahead and lead the way – this is what the promotional product industry expects PSI to do as Europe’s biggest network for this industry. Correspondingly high are the expectations for the spring PSI from 26 to 28 April 2022 and for PSI Director Petra Lassahn. So it is high time for an update in view of the recently adopted step-by-step Covid plan.

Some nine weeks to go to PSI. How are preparations going?

Petra Lassahn: “One thing upfront: we will see a lively, optimistic spring PSI buzzing with energy and innovations that will send a powerful signal internationally! Some 60 per cent of the exhibitors registered so far are from abroad, from Great Britain, for instance, where we cooperate with the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) that will bring many UK exhibitors to PSI. But domestic commitment from Germany is just as convincing, as evidenced by registrations by Doppler, Halfar, Senator, Stabilo, Troika and uma, to name but a few. Furthermore, the spring PSI – despite all naysayers – will again live up to its reputation as the ‘innovations showcase of the promotional product industry’. Already now one thing is certain: April will also see at least 50 newcomer brands, product inventors and PSI newbies reflect the innovative power of this industry at a high – qualitative and quantitative – level.”

Which areas are registering most activity at present?

Petra Lassahn: “The sustainability theme has seen enormous further development and – when integrated in the promotional product business – benefits from such future technologies as blockchain. But even when it comes to materials, production and such aspects as Corporate Responsibility the standards in 2022 are different from those in 2020. This mega trend – i.e. sustainability – will resonate in the expert programme of PSI across the different segments.”

PSI has already shown strong commitment to sustainability so far. What is new here in 2022?

Petra Lassahn: “Amongst other things we are cooperating with the Academy for Textile Finishing to design a programme for the Textile Campus, which will be all about sustainability in 2022. Here experts will provide valuable input on sustainable textile production, fair and ecological supply chains, green design, circular economy, recycling and upcycling, seals, standards and certifications. In parallel, the nominees of the PSI Sustainability Awards will show how companies can make their processes, products and corporate culture more sustainable.”

Sounds like an innovation agenda for SMEs…

Petra Lassahn: “This was chosen quite deliberately. Small and medium-sized businesses are the driving forces of our industry and they have come up against their limits under the various burdens of the pandemic. Let’s just look at the success factor of planning safety. Especially for SMEs the loss of planning safety in a maze of rules, regulations and measures, which were often adopted, amended or abolished again overnight, was dramatic. Add to this such red-hot issues as skilled labour shortage, CO2 taxation and red tape.”

How can PSI support small and medium-sized companies in this respect?

Petra Lassahn: “With the content compiled for PSI we want to support the industry as best as possible on its path towards economic recovery: with a forward-looking agenda, practical knowledge transfer and product presentations relevant to the current mood. We have adjusted our strategic focus accordingly and look forward to at last providing the promotional product industry with an in-person content hub at Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre again, which is also highly exciting in political terms. After all, PSI has always offered policymakers an important forum for dialogue with an impact on future decisions.”

Speaking of planning safety: can the impact of the last conference of Germany’s state premiers be felt at PSI?

Petra Lassahn: “Well, the prospects for opening the economy put forward by the Government are a long-awaited signal and this is encouraging for the industry! Even though PSI as a trade-only show is not as affected by Covid restrictions as other general-interest events, we realise that the loosening of restrictions at home and abroad will encourage more and more exhibitors and visitors to plan their trade fair participation – with a lead time considered as ‘long’ by pandemic standards.”

The interview was carried out by Julia Bernert, Content & PR Manager at PSI