Florists Gear Up to Promote 'New' Floral Holiday
By Mary Westbrook
International Women’s Day, on March 8, already is a firmly established holiday in many countries; while it’s still unknown in some U.S. communities, awareness is growing, thanks in part to the efforts of floral industry members such as Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, Calif., who won Floral Management magazine’s 2014 Marketer of the Year award.
Already familiar with the day’s popularity abroad, DeVries has been working alongside industry partners for several years to help the holiday take hold stateside. “Women’s Day will never take off if we stay quiet about it,” DeVries told Floral Management editors in September. “We as an industry have an obligation to tell consumers about this holiday if we want to grow and survive.”
That collaborative campaign incorporates online, offline and even broadcast television promotional efforts and will involve storytelling aspects, for people to “celebrate Arizona women by sharing stories of love, honor and respect” on womensdayaz.com. The initiative is being underwritten by CalFlowers and Asocolflores, with additional contributions from Bloomnet and FTD, according to Watters, who said the promotional effort could expand to other markets next year.
“We want to bring positive awareness of the holiday and think this is a great way to recognize and celebrate the special women in our life,”
On a national level, Yanique Woodall, vice president of public relations and communications at 1-800-Flowers.com, said the company’s “strong digital communications program … will help increase awareness around the holiday, including honoring and celebrating many influential women with floral arrangements.” The company has a history of promoting the event, having partnered with Sun Valley on flower-giveaways in major metros in recent years.
FTD is also promoting the holiday online and offering members a suite of marketing resources and tools, including prepared posters and social media banners, created in partnership with Sun Valley and SAF.
SAF has a full range of tools to help you get ready for Women’s Day, including shareable graphics, talking points, press releases and much more. Access those resources today — and keep us posted on your efforts and results.
SAF and Florists Provide Valentine's Day Insight, Good Humor, Expertise — and Lessons for Mother's Day
By Jenny Scala
SAF answered questions from nearly three-dozen reporters over the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, including many from major news organizations. Among them: USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, NBC News, NPR, TIME magazine, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Arizona Republic and the Omaha World-Herald. Nearly 90 news stories referenced the Society of American Florists during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, according to media monitoring and analytics by Meltwater. In addition, SAF’s consumer websites were popular resources for the media and consumers during the three weeks leading up to the holiday. Combined, AboutFlowers.com, AboutFlowersBlog.com and the NationalFloristDirectory.com hosted more than 103,000 users.
This year, many retail florists took proactive steps to position themselves in the best possible light in news stories, repositioning potentially negative angles and cheerfully reinforcing their position as talented, enthusiastic local business owners.
“Local florists looked like knights in shining armor,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF vice president of marketing. “They showed their professionalism with positive answers about strategic planning and the happy emotions flowers bring.”
This week, we asked Sparks to walk us through some of the best florist quotes gathered from holiday stories and discuss how others can put the same practices in place at their businesses in time for the next big media blitz: Mother’s Day.
PR Fail: “It’s exhausting. My feet hurt. My hands are covered in bandages. I haven’t seen my family in days.”
PR Win: No one wants to hear a business owner complain about being busy. Instead, use these questions to emphasize the professionalism and competency of your business. Practice your talking points ahead of time so that you can find ways to subtly reinforce all of the work that goes into running a retail floral business, without coming across as a Debbie Downer. For example:
PR Fail: “I’m freezing/sweating. We lost electricity. Half my staff couldn’t make it in. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I wish this whole holiday was over.”
PR Win: This is another great opportunity to refocus the conversation on all that a retail florist does well (delivery, logistics, customer service, etc.). Downplay weather drama and focus on your capabilities. That’s what Angela Grout, owner of Agawam Flower Shop did when she compared her store to the United States Post Office. “We always deliver. Doesn’t matter what the weather is.” — ABC40/Fox 6 in “Floral Shops Rush to Send Arrangements After Monday’s Snow Storm”
The Question: Why are flowers so expensive at the holiday? Aren’t you making a killing?
PR Fail: “Um, well. I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day. Flower prices soar. Other stuff is expensive, too.”
PR Win: Rather than stumbling over this potentially tricky question — after all, pricing is a complex issue that involves international factors, many of them far beyond your control — simplify your message to a few basic points (e.g. “Just like other commodities, supply and demand affects the price of roses. Valentine's Day inspires the heaviest demand, more than any other day of the year. Several rosebuds must be sacrificed to create one long stemmed rose, and we need to hire additional help and drivers to fulfill the huge demand for roses on this one day in the middle of winter.”) Be especially proactive by inviting reporters in for a behind-the-scenes look at your business, and all of the factors that go into a successful holiday. For example:
PR Fail: “Your mom’s a cliché!”
PR Win: We’re kidding here; we know you wouldn’t say that (and few reporters would ask that question so directly). But the accusation that flowers are a clichéd or staid gift is out there. If you prepare ahead, you can use just about any news story to tell potential customers that you have the expertise to guide them to a truly unique gift, delivering both value and a high level of service. Consider:
Members can watch the recorded presentation at safnow.org/prbootcamp or order the DVD, available to SAF members for $9.95; $49.95 for non-members.
Pest Management Conference Round Up
By Katie Hendrick
The three-day event featured more than 20 educational sessions, as well as hands-on workshops designed to sharpen skills such as reading pesticide labels and detecting pests, and behind-the-scenes tours of Agri-Starts and DeRoose Plants, two farms that have won the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Stewardship Award.
Among the attendees: first-timer June Jolley, greenhouse manager at the North Carolina Arboretum, whose job includes growing plants in the seasonal landscape and Baker Greenhouse exhibits, curating plants in the interiorscapes, growing cut flowers, and managing the nursery.
She had no regrets about her impulse trip to Florida, as it brought her face to face with world-class scientists and other industry leaders, who offered dozens of tips to advance horticulture.
Two sessions that resonated with Jolley: “Neonics & the Current Public Relations Relationship to Pollinators and Growers at the Retail Level,” led by Gary Magnum, of Bell Nursery USA in Burtonsville, Md. (which recently appeared in a Washington Post feature about poinsettias) and “The Pollinator Initiative” by Joe Bischoff, Ph.D., of AmericanHort, and SAF’s Senior Director of Government Relations Lin Schmale.
Additionally, Jolley said she’d implement new techniques for releasing predator insects to ensure better longevity, explore new options for banker plants, and share with her colleagues tips she learned to identify tropical plant diseases and why they should be on the look out for the European pepper moth.
“The other highlight for me was the opportunity to network with others, whether they were growers or Ph.Ds,” she said.
“There are four strains of Q whitefly in the world and Florida has three of them,” said the head grower of Pure Beauty Farms in Miami, Fla. “I learned how to control Q whitefly and how a mixed population of silverleaf and Q whitefly change over time.”
See more photos from the event, here.
Marvin Miller: "The Time To Talk Is When Congress Is Listening."
By Shelley Estersohn
Early spring is when all the behind-the-scenes negotiating happens on Capitol Hill, Miller explained. “Your legislators and their staff are working to position legislation they want Congress to consider — and we have needs that must be addressed.”
Growers aren’t the only floral businesses impacted by the lack of immigration reform, Miller said: “We must have a legal workforce that provides the employee numbers the industry needs — not only to raise our crops but also increasingly to staff wholesale distribution and, in some cases, even retail operations. Landscaping companies need labor to get our bedding plants installed as well.”
Now is also the time for floral business owners to urge lawmakers to revisit the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and make adjustments to clarify confusion about the definitions of full-time
These are divisive issues, said SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Lin Schmale, and the people in Congress need direct encouragement in order to find solutions. “They need to see the faces of their constituents in order to understand the impact. Nobody can explain your business situation as well as you,” Schmale said.
Miller, who has attended CAD for more than a quarter century, stressed that “having a presence matters. By being visible, persuasive and consistent over time, we've made a difference” on estate tax reform, the Americans with Disabilities Act, floriculture research funding and many other industry concerns. “Each one of us has to make the connections, educate our lawmakers, and help them see our point of view,” Miller said.
For Congressional Action Days details, visit safnow.org/congressional-action-days.
Click here to register. Your registration includes a free registration for a second person from your company who has never attended CAD before. To sign up a colleague, contact Laura Weaver firstname.lastname@example.org at 800-336-4743, ext. 221.
How to Streamline Your Social Media Process
By Katie Hendrick
Coming up with a schedule and writing it down can make a world of difference, said Sujan Patel, the VP of Marketing at thisCLICKS, the makers of When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.
Here are his three tips for a pain-free production cycle:
Create a Calendar For Your Organization A calendar will give you a visual starting point for all your scheduled posts, so you can spot discrepancies or view the upcoming posts at a glance. To jumpstart your process, check out some of the available free social media editorial calendar templates, such as MarketingNutz or Brand Driven Digital.
Choose Content Types An important part for the social media publishing schedule process is determining the categories of content you want to promote, as well as when they will be published. These could include weekly topics or themes (i.e. Throwback Thursday or Trivia Tuesday), but also allows you to reserve space for specific posts, such as evergreen blog content (how flowers boost people’s moods) or event promotion reminders. You will likely how to experiment to figure out what themes work best with your audience, but here’s a example you can try:
“Create a document that outlines the process of a social media post from start to finish,” Patel said. “A mind map or graphic might be best for this, if most of your employees are more visually inclined.”
A text-based version would look something like this:
Follow social media editorial calendar to see what content is needed -> Research and find links to post -> Create social media images for each post -> Schedule posts in Buffer and Edgar -> Review engagement metrics and conversation to see what can be done differently -> Reschedule post if needed as part of evergreen content initiative
What Millennials Like: Laughing and Learning
By Katie Hendrick
A recent study from Newscred found that content marketing ranks as one of the most effective tactics for fostering trust and loyalty among millennial consumers. In fact, more than three out of five (62%) of the people surveyed felt that online content drives their loyalty to a brand.
So what counts as content marketing? Nothing that overtly advertises a product or service. Respondents consistently named “sales-driven” messages among their marketing pet peeves, along with those that are “too long” or “don’t navigate every problem.”
The report also had information that can help content marketers refine their content creation and distribution strategies. Among its findings:
Shop for the Perfect Prom Accessories
By Katie Hendrick
Want to reel in the dough this prom season? Better stock up on some bling. Teens today can’t get enough of the sparkly stuff (just check out their bedazzled phone cases for evidence) and will love the florist who can present them with all the trimmings, from metallic tattoo jewelry to rhinestone hairpieces. Find some great prom products in this month’s Floral Management.
Are Bridal Shows Worth It For Vendors?
Dear Preston, I need your advice. I have been in the floral business for a little over a year and I am having a difficult time getting new clients. There is a bridal show in my town. It's not cheap, but I am considering it in order to get a booth. Do you think this is a good idea? Read more.
Wedding Trend Predictions for 2015
From the Art Deco reception details of the 1930s to the porcelain bridal dolls that appeared at parties during the 1950s, wedding trends are a distinct reflection of the times in which we live. Now, as newly engaged couples plan for their own celebrations in 2015, the country's top wedding experts are weighing in with predictions for what themes will reign during the upcoming season, and some of their answers may surprise you. Read more.
Spring Open House to Honor Fallen Soldiers
A wholesaler in Nebraska is teaming up with a local nonprofit for a fundraiser that will honor the service of U.S. veterans.
DWF-Ohama’s spring open house, on March 18, will include dinner, a flag presentation and a floral design show. It’s the first time the wholesaler has partnered with To Honor and Remember, an organization that seeks to create a national symbol of gratitude for veterans and their families.
Through the March 18 open house, DWF-Omaha and the nonprofit hope to raise $3,500 for the organization, which will use the money to buy 10 flags to present to families of fallen service members. To Honor and Remember is currently working to expand to a national platform, and the open house is intended to help raise awareness for the group.
“We would like to set the example for others in our industry to hold similar events,” said John Adams of DWF-Ohama. “When we present the flags to the families we have also begun to present an arm bouquet of red roses, blue delphinium, and baby’s breath to the mother and widow of the fallen soldier. If you have ever attended an event such as a flag presentation or similar, [you know] it is a very emotional time, and we are proud to present the flowers as a symbol of respect and remembrance.”
For more information on To Honor and Remember, contact Jim Meier, email@example.com.
Let Third Party Experts Market For You
By Katie Hendrick
As you promote Women’s Day (see top story), there’s no need to recreate the wheel. Christine Arylo, the best-selling author of “Madly in Love With Me” and “The Daring Adventure to Becoming Your Own Best Friend” who’s been featured on CBS, ABC, FOX, and E!, brought attention to the holiday in a recent blog post and video for “Flower Factor: a lifestyle blog from aboutflowers.com.”
Arylo urges readers to “take a moment to pause and think about the women in your life who have shaped you, supported you, cheered you on, guided you, inspired you and been there for you over the years” then offers four simple ways to show their appreciation — all of which include flowers. (“Flowers open hearts,” she said in the post, along with a link to the Rutgers University “Emotional Impact of Flowers” study.)
This week, link to Arylo’s posts on your social media pages. Add your own commentary, or steal a tip from the post as a teaser. Here’s one we find especially charming:
For women you have known a while, recount a few of the special moments you have shared, thanking her for her sisterhood. Gather up a few photos and email them, reflecting on meaningful memories. Head over to your florist and order her flowers, one for each year you have shared your lives.
Women's Day Press Releases
By Katie Hendrick
Score some positive coverage for your shop by pitching Women’s Day to your local newspaper and news stations. Send one of SAF’s Women’s Day press releases, which you can customize with your shop’s information. Sweeten the deal by offering corsages for female anchors to wear on air.
Find more marketing materials and ideas in the Women’s Day resource center.
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