The Fluid team recently visited key industry events PSI and PPAI. These tradeshows are at the forefront of new product launches and trends. Taking place in January these shows launch the promotional industry year...

The PSI show in Dusseldorf, Germany which hosts over 900 exhibitors and almost 18,500 visitors throughout the show is the leading European trade show for promotional products. Promotional products professionals gain an overview of the latest trends and innovations in the industry.

At the PPAI show in Las Vegas, USA, the show is the yearly launch pad for suppliers and distributors in North America and is its largest tradeshow.

With the Fluid team at the forefront of finding the latest must have products and industry trends here's the top trends we found from both shows.

Focus on design

This year's big design trend sees subtle innovation for everyday products. Brands have taken everyday products and adapted them or added innovative features. The mobile phone accessory market has lead the way with two unique products.

Phone Case

A case compatible with all smart phone cases that turns your phone in to an RFID blocking card wallet. Featuring a secure grip ring on the back of the case letting use your device in new and different ways.

Car Charger

Taking the humble in car USB charger and turning it into a charger and handsfree unit so your device can be answered safely and charged at the same time. The rear of the charger also has a hardened steel point, designed to shatter a vehicle window in case of emergency.

Food and drink on the go is a growing market as people spend more time out of the home and eating on the move. Consumers still demanding that quality out of the home. A European company have produced a product that gives you quality filter coffee on the go! Made from paper and designed like a milk carton this re-useable, environmentally friendly product gives you high quality coffee by just adding water to coffee grounds in six minutes.

Coffee

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is one of the growing trends in technology, with Apple predicting that it will be bigger than Virtual Reality. AR is a great fit for the promotional merchandise industry as unlike VR which shuts the user off from their physical world, AR uses the physical world to enhance the users experience. Using AR technology in a promotional product can give someone a totally new experience from a product as humble as the pen.

PSI was the Launchpad for many companies to show their range of promotional products featuring this new technology, combining classic products with AR. For marketers that want to include AR promotional products in their campaigns, this technology brings some noticeable benefits.

  • Real time information
  • Trackability
  • Greater ROI against traditional marketing platforms when used in the right situation or marketing the right product. For example, the use of AR in the marketing of a children's toy gave a greater ROI for the agency against the same campaign featuring more traditional marketing

Some of the examples where AR can be used in your next promotional merchandise campaign include:

Adding AR into the design of your packaging to tell a story. Lego have added AR to packaging of some of their products allowing you to see moving parts and a short story.

Lego Augmented Reality!

Using a digital unit in the Lego store in London brings to life the packaging.

AR is one of this years must have trends and including this technology in your campaign will put at the forefront of marketing and technological trends in 2017.

Compliance and Production Quality

Product compliance and production quality is vitally important to us and our customers. Our customers are aware more than ever about product quality and making sure the products they use in their campaigns meet the most up to date compliance. That's why we only work with suppliers that follow our strict production and compliance guidelines and have their own processes in place. One of our suppliers works to many different EU directives that cover the vast range of products used in our industry. These EU directives range from 1395/2004 which covers food to 1223/2009 which covers cosmetics and personal care products. On top of these directives there is also the CE mark and General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). So, the promotional merchandise industry is well covered when it comes to product compliance and safety.

It's not just product compliance and quality that is important to us at Fluid. Social compliance is also a key area of concern for our customers. We regularly audit our supply chain to make sure they are following the latest compliance standards and our suppliers do the same. We are members of Sedex which is an internationally recognised, not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.

Sedex's online platform enabling members like Fluid Branding to share and manage information in four key areas:

  • Labour Standards
  • Health & Safety
  • The Environment
  • Business Ethics

Many also take part in the BSCI scheme, launched in 2003 by the Foreign Trade Association. This was established as a response to increasing business demands for transparent and improved working conditions in global supply chains. It unites more than 1,900 companies from around the world whose activities range from retail to importing to branding.

Full Colour Printing Developments

The demand for high quality print finishing on products is very important. With companies investing in their systems with new and different printing techniques. One such company is now offering digital HD UV printing. This process gives customers outstanding high resolution printing using the latest cutting edge technology in design and print that brings to life a customer's promotional products. Other new techniques recently launched enable full customisation of notebooks. Giving you the option to include full colour print on either white product or coloured product, bespoke pages (internally) and Prismalux Full Cover Colour. This unique printing process allows you to design a completely bespoke and multi-coloured impression across the complete front cover, spine and back cover.

Full colour printing

Full colour printing has been going through exciting developments...

Printing on textiles is on the increase with a variety of products now able to be printed on in full colour. Mircofibre products with full colour prints are proving popular. A great product idea is a full colour printed sun glasses pouch that also acts as a cleaning cloth for the glasses. Other new techniques include Letterpress technology allowing unlimited colour options for printing on woven products.

Quicker Lead Times

With some marketers considering promotional products as part of their campaigns at the last-minute lead times are as important as ever in 2017. Lots of suppliers have introduced short lead times to meet customer demands. This has been achievable by European manufacturing bases and the drop-in sterling against the Euro making it a cost-effective process.

Quicker lead times

Some suppliers can now offer as standard 24-hour printing services. Other companies have a product range which make those products available with lead times of 24-72 hour's. Making promotional products a viable option for the last-minute campaign.

If any of these cutting edge products could work in your next campaign contact us for more details and you'll be the first to know about their availability.