Plant Tags: New Ways To Share Plant Information

Gerry Giorgio

During his tenure as creative director and then marketing manager for MasterTag, Gerry Giorgio has had a hand in the evolution of labels and tags from basic identification to information source. But it’s not nearly enough, he says. Giorgio shares his thoughts on new innovations in the market as well as the one thing he wants to change most about tags.

GG: How are labeling companies helping growers to find new customers and helping those customers be successful?

Giorgio: I can’t speak for other tag companies of course, but MasterTag is helping growers find new customers by helping gardeners. It’s not just about providing content on a tag anymore. We have to be prepared to provide and distribute that content through many communication channels and media. Website development, social media management, marketing promotions and original content generation are all part of the fuel that we put into supporting a label program with some growers and retailers.

GG: What kind of labels are growers asking for? Has that changed over the years?

Giorgio: Two years ago, Home Depot and Lowe’s specified QR codes on their tags. This year, Walmart joined them in the requirement. That prompted growers to investigate QR codes for other products they are selling. Some have embraced the new technology by adding video links to the codes. We continue to see growers upgrading their labels to be larger and carry more information. Label size has followed the changes in container size over the years. As less packs were sold and more four-inch and larger pots took over, the need for a larger label evolved along with that trend.

GG: What are some really cool new ideas that are either out there right now or just around the corner?

Giorgio: In the really cool category, there is Augmented Reality (AR). AR is used to enhance an image enough to change the viewers’ experience of it. For example, AR might take a two-dimensional image and turn it into a three-dimensional animation simply by pointing your phone or other device at the image. AR can also be used in mobile devices where you point your phone at an object and it provides you with layers of additional information. This is being tested out on many consumer products.

MasterTag is developing AR for use on tags and signs. We see AR being used to provide a unique experience and help a gardener literally see the vision of their garden. This technology will become more common as mobile devices evolve and continue to influence people’s behavior.

GG: In the area of labels and tags, is there anything we should not be doing anymore?

Giorgio: The biggest thing is to stop putting a photo on a tag when none is needed. I’ve been ringing that bell for probably my whole career at MasterTag. For example, a photo is redundant on annuals that will only be sold in bloom, or herbs and foliage plants that present themselves. This is important because gardeners are continually asking for more information.

It’s difficult to put all the information on the tag that really needs to be there and still keep the tag in scale with the pot and with your costs. The photo can take up to 50 percent or more of the front of a tag. Why not put that space to better use?

Growers need to pay attention to the consumer. They’re paying attention to crop quality, paying attention to logistics and delivery and paying attention to jumping through hoops for their customers — especially mass merchants. But they’re forgetting about the person who actually picks up that plant in the end.

GG: Are you seeing ideas in other industries that we should be doing in ours?

Giorgio: We could discuss best practices in merchandising or smart packaging that solves a problem. But one overriding example of all, in my opinion, would be to go to market with a finished, retail-ready product. There has been a huge trend away from the activity of gardening and an explosion of interest in outdoor living space and gardening as decorating. Our industry could do better at creating products that look and feel finished and ready to use for these new purposes. Labeling takes on a different purpose here, so be innovative with it. Don’t think like you are selling plants, think like you are selling decorating accessories like pillows and throw rugs.

GG: In an ideal world, if you could get growers to adopt one new idea, what would it be?

Giorgio: It would be to think beyond their retail customer and craft their
products to have increasingly more value to garden center shoppers. Ultimately, like any other industry, it’s the consumer who drives it. If they are finding helpful information before they shop and while at the store, their good experience will translate into more sales. Keep your eye on the consumer and everything else will fall in line.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
protecting bees and pollinators video

March 31, 2015

New Video On Protecting Bees And Pollinators Educates Horticulture Industry Professionals

A new educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship is one result of industry collaboration by the Horticultural Research Institute, AmericanHort, Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment. “Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy pollinator ecosystems.

Read More
Basil_Persian-AAS2015_620x329

March 31, 2015

California Summer Vegetable Trials To Be Hosted By National Garden Bureau Members

Vegetable breeding companies will come together this August to host the Summer Vegetable Trials in California. Like the long-standing California Spring Trials that are held annually in California, attendees will have the opportunity to visit breeding companies' trial sites in seven locations throughout the state, from August 20-21, 2015. National Garden Bureau (NGB), the non-profit organization promoting gardening on behalf of the horticulture industry, is organizing and publicizing this event on behalf of its members.

Read More
DNA-logo

March 31, 2015

DNA Green Group Will Acquire Rijnplant

DNA Green Group and Riknplant have finalized DNA Green Group's acquisition of Rijnplant, meaning that the breeding and propagation activities in pot and cut anthurium, bougainvillea and heliconia will transfer to DNA Green Group.

Read More
Latest Stories
Bloomtown_Screen Shot 2015-03-10

March 24, 2015

Bloomtown Exposes Consumers To The World Of Horticultur…

A new web series called Bloomtown is all about the mud, sweat and tears of horticulture. Filmed in St. Louis, Mo., it chronicles the world of horticulture using local flower growers, greenhouses, wholesalers, florists, consumers, retail shops and arborists, with the goal of opening consumers’ eyes to the world of horticulture around them.

Read More
SAF CAD

March 18, 2015

Growers Ask For Immigration And Healthcare Reform Durin…

Nearly 90 growers, retailers, suppliers and wholesales attended the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2015 Congressional Action Days March 9-10. The delegation, representing 18 states, arrived on Capitol Hill at a time when two major industry issues - immigration and healthcare reform - are especially prominent in national headlines.

Read More
Nexus Corporation's Cheryl Longtin Encourages Women To Seek Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

March 4, 2015

Nexus Corporation’s Cheryl Longtin Encourages Wom…

When Cheryl Longtin came to the horticulture business in 1994, she applied her experience in the automotive industry to promote the adoption of more technology in greenhouse production. Longtin says horticulture, with its rich family tradition, has long promoted women in the industry compared to other industries, but women in horticulture must continue to seek out opportunities to provide volunteer leadership in organizations that shape the future of the business.

Read More
Smart Herb Garden

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success …

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Student Flash Mob At TPIE Has Roots In Floriculture

The local FFA students who entertained TPIE attendees in 2014 and 2015 received industry donations of plants and a greenhouse structure to help expand their horticultural program.

Read More

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More
GROW Logo

January 6, 2015

Growers Resolve To Educate Public About Their Operation…

See what growers plan to work on for their 2015 business resolutions.

Read More

December 22, 2014

National Garden Bureau Launches Therapeutic Garden Prog…

National Garden Bureau has chosen the Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago as the first beneficiary of its annual fundraising effort "Growing For Futures."

Read More

December 19, 2014

Hydroponic Food Production Course Serves Up Life Lesson…

Students in the new HORT 331X Hydroponic Food Crop Production course at Iowa State University are producing more food than they can eat, so they began donating the vegetables they produce to a local food pantry and free meal program.

Read More
GROW Logo

December 8, 2014

“The Cheapest Generation” Will Be Tomorrow&…

Members of the Millennial generation aren’t buying cars and houses the way their parents did, and according to a recent article from The Atlantic titled “The Cheapest Generation,” it might be more than an effect of a bad economy. So what does this mean for horticulture? Industry members weigh in.

Read More
Katie Nickolaus

November 25, 2014

Proven Winners Names 2014 Scholarship Winners

Looking to promote industry leaders of the future, Proven Winners has established a $15,000 scholarship program that awards students in three distinct areas - breeding, marketing and growing.

Read More

November 24, 2014

GROW Perspective: We Need To Think Bigger

Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry must evolve to help solve the problems of world hunger and food insecurity.

Read More

November 13, 2014

NY SunWorks’ Greenhouse Project Aims To Build 100 Labs …

NY SunWork's Greenhouse Project aims to build 100 labs by 2020. With 15 greenhouse project labs built and 11 more in development, it’s on its way to reaching that goal.

Read More

November 4, 2014

Millennials Rank Gardening Among Top 5 Leisure Activiti…

United Kingdom consumers, aged 25 to 35, have rated gardening as a top five favorite leisure activity.

Read More
Ken Altman

October 27, 2014

GROW Perspective: Why I Give Back To The Industry

Ken Altman of Altman Plants knows a thing or two about the green industry, including the importance of contributing to the industry he loves.

Read More