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...

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More
John Daley Featured

January 25, 2016

How To Retain Motivated Young Growers At Your Greenhouse Operation

Wholesale grower John R. Daley says engaging young growers and making them a viable part of your operation is the best way to ensure you keep young talent for the long term.

Read More
Janeen Wright

January 18, 2016

Five Thought-Provoking Ideas From GROW Summit 2015

Here are five ideas from Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 GROW Summit ranging from big-picture ideas to smaller initiatives that can help move the industry forward.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More
John Daley Featured

January 25, 2016

How To Retain Motivated Young Growers At Your Greenhous…

Wholesale grower John R. Daley says engaging young growers and making them a viable part of your operation is the best way to ensure you keep young talent for the long term.

Read More
Janeen Wright

January 18, 2016

Five Thought-Provoking Ideas From GROW Summit 2015

Here are five ideas from Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 GROW Summit ranging from big-picture ideas to smaller initiatives that can help move the industry forward.

Read More
SAF CAD

January 18, 2016

Sign Up Now To Attend SAF Congressional Action Days In …

Congressional Action Days is a great chance for Society of American Florists members to meet their state’s lawmakers and discuss the most critical issues they are facing.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

January 15, 2016

Allan Armitage: Why The Deck Has Becomes The New Hot Sp…

Armitage says decks and small spaces allow younger generations to enjoy all the benefits of a garden without the work.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

January 6, 2016

Most Popular New Year’s Resolution For 2016 Favor…

It’s splashed all over social media: 2016 is going to be a great year! And what’s fueling that sentiment? It’s an overwhelming need for Americans to enjoy life more. In fact, we’re so passionate about this that it’s the most popular New Year’s Resolution for 2016, followed by living a healthier lifestyle. Here are the top 6 resolutions for 2016, as reported by Time.com, according to a Google Consumer Survey by GoBankingRates. Enjoy life to the fullest Live a healthier lifestyle Lose weight Save more, spend less Spend more time with family and friends Pay down debt Among different age groups, Millennials (18 to 34) are setting more resolutions than any other group, and they’re the most concerned with spending more time with loved ones, and the most concerned with spending less and saving money. Younger Gen Xers (35 to 44) are focused more on living healthier in 2016, while […]

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

January 5, 2016

GROW Summit 2015 Explores Attracting The Next Generati…

Sustainable business practices and recruiting young growers were just two of the issues growers and suppliers brainstormed on at GROW Summit 2015.

Read More
Garrett Owen Feature Image

January 1, 2016

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Eager To Give Bac…

Garrett Owen, recipient of the Richard T. Meister Scholarship, says his career goal is to become a floriculture Extension specialist.

Read More
Bee On Flower

December 29, 2015

Scotts Miracle-Gro To Fund 50 Pollinator Gardens In 201…

In an effort to help combat the loss of pollinator habitats in recent years, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. announced plans in mid-December for a year-long effort to improve consumer education about pollinators and promote the creation of backyard and urban habitats where they can thrive. The “Pollinator Promise” will fund the establishment of at least 50 pollinator gardens throughout the U.S. in 2016, as part of the company’s GRO1000 community gardening initiative. The GRO1000 initiative, now in its sixth year, partners with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Pollinator Stewardship Council, The Franklin Park Conservatory, and others, to promote the availability of additional grants for gardens and green spaces throughout the country. “The importance of pollinators is unquestionable and it is easier than most people think to create a habitat where they can thrive,” says Jim King, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “The Pollinator Promise is […]

Read More
Joseph Shinoda feature

December 20, 2015

Chance To Apply For Shinoda Foundation Scholarships Com…

The Shinoda Foundation, named in honor of California floral industry pioneer Joseph Shinoda, will begin accepting applications for its 2016-2017 scholarships in mid January.

Read More
David Clark, Marvin Miller, market research manager for Ball Horticultural Company, Anna Ball, Kendall Stacey, and Sandra Wilson, chair of the UFIFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture

December 14, 2015

University Of Florida Horticulture Professor Attracts N…

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Professor David Clark recently donated his 40,000th plant to an undergraduate psychology student.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

December 9, 2015

Pollinator Gardens Are On The Rise, Provide Opportuniti…

Thanks to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, enacted in June 2015 by the National Pollinator Garden Network, scores of new pollinator gardens to be planted over the next year and beyond will provide growers with ample opportunities to produce, promote and sell plants that are ideal for pollinator forage and health. And with research underway within the industry, we’ll soon have more knowledge about which plants are the most beneficial and attractive to pollinators. At Bayer’s Bee Care Center, the level of consumer engagement and interest in planting pollinator gardens is very high, Bayer’s Sarah Myers says. Bayer now has 73 local and industry partners and counting in its “Feed A Bee Campaign,” launched in March. Educating consumers about what they can plant to attract bees, and the impact they can have with even the smallest amount of space, is highly important, Myers says. It’s worth explaining to them that […]

Read More
foodscaping at epcot - Foodscaping Goes Big At Disney

December 9, 2015

Foodscaping Challenges Conventional Ideas About Landsca…

Conventional ideas about what a landscape should look like are being challenged left and right, from young homeowners like Sarah Baker of Baker’s Acres, who are standing up for their right not to mow their lawns, to Brie Arthur’s passion to start a movement to incorporate food with flowers throughout suburban and urban landscapes nationwide. As younger generations step up as consumers and industry leaders, these changes are likely to continue, and the horticulture industry, which has the most to gain, would be remiss not to embrace and influence them. Well known for her personal foodscape, which she has promoted across social media, and her annual tomato-tasting fundraising event benefiting the nearby J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N.C., Brie Arthur has also been working with schools and her local Homeowner Association (HOA) to challenge the traditional idea of the landscape to one that incorporates the growing of food with mainstream, […]

Read More
Brie Arthur

December 9, 2015

Foodscapes: A New Direction For Landscaping And The Ind…

Professionally designed and maintained foodscapes are my hope for the future of American landscapes. As the global population rises locally, cultivated food systems will be developed to help reduce the food miles crisis. The sun, soil and irrigation systems of common landscaped spaces such as suburban developments, corporate campuses, retirement homes and public schools can be harnessed to produce supplemental, affordable food for communities. Foodscapes Unite Beauty With Practicality I began my first foodscape 10 years ago when I purchased a home in the suburbs of Raleigh, N.C. Money was tight, and I couldn’t afford the lumber to build raised beds and fill them with yards of purchased compost. Determined to grow food, I used the foundation landscape that already existed to cultivate seasonal, edible plants. What I discovered was a harmonious marriage of aesthetic and practical qualities. I was hooked on growing food within finely designed spaces. Now, a […]

Read More
Giving Tuesday

November 24, 2015

Giving Tuesday On December 1 Is An Opportunity For The …

Organizations such as American Floral Endowment and others are encouraging industry members to participate in the generous spirit of the holiday season.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

November 24, 2015

Random Acts Of Flowers Partners With FTD And Pro Flower…

The organization, which recycles and repurposes flowers with a volunteer team that delivers bouquets to health care facilities across the country, made its 100,000th delivery to a health care facility in Chicago.

Read More
Kate Santos Operations Director Dummen Orange

November 18, 2015

Kate Santos Presents New Opportunities For The Horticul…

Dr. Kate Santos is a scientist, an artist, an advocate, a traveler, a dreamer, a visionary and a go-getter. Well-known for her work managing Dümmen Orange as Operations Director, Santos has taken on a new role as co-founder of Luxflora, an organization for women in horticulture.

Read More
Bell Nursery reaches out by supporting projects that help children connect with plants

November 12, 2015

Bell Nursery Is An Advocate For Outreach In Its Communi…

In a heavily regulated society, growing relationships is just as important to our industry as growing beautiful flowers. In environmentally sensitive states like Maryland, outreach has become mandatory, says Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]