Building Trust In A Brand

Building Trust In A Brand

The Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses story starts six generations ago in a family business in Germany. In 1971, Hermann Engelmann brought part of the business to the United States and brought with him unique ideas on branding for the time: combining all varieties under one branded name, Exotic Angels, and establishing a quality symbol in the industry.

In the beginning, Hermann grew plants in his New York City apartment, planting in his bathtub, and sold plants on the street. The idea of a brand was so important that he hand-printed labels for the plant pots. Over the years, brand awareness spread across the country and today, through its Exotic Angel Plants brand, Herman Engelmann markets more than 400 varieties of low-light-acclimated foliage.

“Hermann believed firmly, even back then, that the consumer needed a little story behind the item,” says Wolfgang Engelmann, president and COO of Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses. “And he never put ‘Begonia’ on the label. He always wrote, ‘I am Begonia.’ So it’s more personal storytelling.” Hermann believed in a few simple principles — surprise the customer with even better plant quality than they’re expecting and keep things simple to order.

“That’s why we sell everything in assortment. We don’t sell individual varieties,” Wolfgang says. To help keep the exotic varieties thriving for the consumer, Engelmann uses custom soils and grows everything under low-light conditions.

Packaging Pointers

Plants in the program carry the red Exotic Angel logo on tags, which feature helpful tips to consumers, including a color coded guide to light requirements and plant-care instructions. The origin of the species is also included on the tag, which, on a roster of exotic plants, could be anywhere from China to South America to South India. The company’s point-of-purchase posters have changed quite a bit over the years. In the past, posters were information heavy, but Wolfgang describes today’s posters as “simple, but touching.”

“Our newest thing is we try to feed the soul and the heart more than the brain,” he says. “In the past, we’ve told the consumer why this is bigger and better. Now we’re at the point where we have to inspire them.”

Pot sizes are also unique. They range from 3.8 inches to an 8-inch hanging basket. The grower pots are slightly smaller than standard sizes, so they can be slipped into cover pots and upgraded for a more premium look. Plant packaging is also customized depending on the retail outlet. 

Take It To The Web

In addition to the information on its tags, information on all of Hermann Engelmann’s plants can be found on its Web site, With the high costs of advertising in consumer media, Wolfgang says plant tags and the Web site are the best ways to connect with the consumer. And it’s working — the site boasts more than 5,000 visitors per week. 

As Wolfgang sees it, the future holds more new product development and innovation in packaging. The operation sees Generation Y becoming the biggest buying group in a few years, because as a demographic, this generation has embraced going back to nature. This demographic is also savvy.

“The only way to market to them is to tell a very honest story,” Wolfgang says. “Unless you’re a completely honest brand, they’ll see right through you. So now we’re trying to build their confidence in us by providing a product that actually lives in their home and doesn’t die after two days.”

In the end, the company lives by two basic principles for marketing: Give the customer a quality plant that is well priced, and provide real solutions for retailers. “Creative marketing and outstanding products could not be possible without the help of our terrific team,” Wolfgang says. “My appreciation goes out to everybody in our organization. They all truly deserve this Medal Of Excellence.” 

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More