July 18, 2011

Are You Willing To Try Something Crazy To Stay In Business?

The OFA Grower Town Hall—it is a great time to get together and talk about all the revolutionary things we can do to change the industry. But are these changes being made? It seemed to me that some people in the room this year want to try new things, and some people want to keep on selling the same old products and using tired marketing. I heard a lot of talk about what we have to get consumers to do— come into our stores, appreciate perennial color and texture, connect with the earth, value the product this industry creates. Truthfully, those are some pretty tall orders to fill. You can be exactly the solution the consumer needs for cleaner air and a more peaceful life, but if they don’t get the message, you don’t make the sale. You, as a product provider, need to give the consumer something they want. So now […]

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July 13, 2011

Toasting 10 Years of America In Bloom

There’s nothing like a mimosa on a Monday morning, especially if you’re toasting the success of the America In Bloom (AIB) program–a national campaign that is enhancing communities from coast to coast by promoting public plantings. AIB is an independent nonprofit organization hosted and managed by OFA in Columbus with a volunteer board of directors and volunteer judges who visit, evaluate and mentor cities in the national AIB competition. To commemorate the 10-year milestone, the AIB board of directors hosted an appreciation breakfast to thank sponsors and individuals for their support. While AIB President Marvin Miller provided a comprehensive update of all AIB has achieved and is doing today, Bobby Barnitz of Bob’s Market & Greenhouses shared his experiences beautifying towns and getting them involved in AIB. “As a business in the industry, we feel it’s our duty to promote the industry and what better way is there than beautifying […]

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July 10, 2011

Details On MasterTag’s MyGardenInsider.com

MasterTag is showing off its new consumer-facing website, MyGardenInsider.com, on the trade show floor at the OFA Short Course. Gerry Giorgio, the creative director of MasterTag, says the website will be online this fall. MyGardenInsider.com is designed for idea-sharing with consumers. Among the website’s highlights includes sections called Into The Kitchen and Whaddya Thinkin? Recipes will be available under the Into The Kitchen Header, and Whaddya Thinking is an area of the website that allows MasterTag to survey consumers and later share trends with consumers. “We designed this site to be a dialogue with consumers,” Giorgio says. MyGardenInsider.com is already on Facebook and Twitter. The plan is to print the website on MasterTag tags and labels and direct consumers to the site via QR codes.

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July 10, 2011

Refreshing The Bulb Market With Dig. Drop. Done.

Marcy represents the harried mother with lots of responsibilities and little time. Juliana is a young, urban fashionista without a yard and Evelyn is an empty nester with plenty of gardening experience. Are you a Marcy, a Juliana or an Evelyn? The Dig. Drop. Done. marketing campaign hopes that consumers will relate to these three personalities, which have been created as part of the campaign to promote the North American flowering bulb market. The Dig.Drop.Done. marketing campaign will hit consumers this summer. “Dig.Drop.Done signifies the need for simplicity in consumers’ lives,” says Henk Westerhof, chairman of Anthos, the Royal Trade Association for Nursery Stock and Flower Bulbs, headquartered in Hillegom, the Netherlands. “Expanding this market will require that we fit into their busy lives as they currently exist, not as we want them to be.” The campaign is sponsored by the Dig.Drop.Done Foundation (affiliates of Anthos), the International Flower Bulb […]

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June 30, 2011

Suds Leads Live Goods At Home Depot

Midwest buyer Bob “Suds” Sedlatschek just got promoted to Divisional Merchandise Manager, the top position directing live goods sales. He replaces Don Blume, who is moving to Home Depot’s building materials division, a large category which covers roofing, drywall, concrete, ladders, gutters and more. Sedlatschek has been very popular with growers and influential as he has risen through Home Depot’s ranks. He is the one who really got behind the Proven Winners brand in his region, which led to it becoming a national premium program for Home Depot. He also represented large retailers on our Medal of Excellence panel in 2009.

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June 17, 2011

Reader Reaction: Box Stores Taking Page Out Of IGC Playbook

Readers respond to Editor Delilah Onofrey’s latest column: Delilah, your observation is dead on. Full support is not in IGCs for the effort it takes for breeders and growers to bring plant and market innovations to the marketplace. Producers spent the last decade trying to find a home for new product at IGCs. It does seem the logical route. Meantime, the chains realized what they were missing and have jumped on the bandwagon.  The pendulum has certainly shifted. Thanks for your insights and straight talk though it may fall on some defensive ears. – Tom Kegley, Kegley Communications Delilah, your article on box stores and IGCs was brilliant and a very good assessment of what is going on out there. At least this is what we are seeing.   – Maureen Needham, PlantHaven

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June 15, 2011

A Tale Of Nearly 200 Cities

The 10-year milestone of the America In Bloom (AIB) program takes me back to when industry leaders came together through OFA to take a leap of faith. We agreed to launch a collective marketing program focused on making plantings more visible by beautifying cities and towns. Canada’s successful Communities In Bloom was our model and we had a pilot program with four U.S. cities paired with four mentoring Canadian cities in their national program in 2001. The moment of truth came that fall, when it was time to launch a full AIB competition in the United States in 2002. Would enough cities participate? In Ohio, I approached Westlake, where I live, and Willoughby, where I work, and was thrilled both mayors agreed to enter. But what has been even better is the “flower power” or multiplier effect I’ve seen since. The quality of the plantings just get better as they […]

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June 15, 2011

Mystifying Marketing

I was driving down the road recently when I heard a radio ad from one of the box stores–Lowe’s, I think–and its newly arrived shipment of colorful hibiscus. The ad was the same old, same old, but what struck me as particularly ludicrous was the come-on: “Come into Lowe’s garden store, where we just received a delivery of 10-inch hibiscus plants with colorful blooms … the greatest thing since sliced bread … yada, yada.” Personally, I understand the message. But I wondered if others listening would be a little perplexed. So I asked my daughter Laura what she thought about the ad. She hit on the confusion right away. “Dad, are they annual or perennial?” She had seen many perennial hibiscus in landscapes, as well as beautiful gift hibiscus in hospital shops and florists. I told her I didn’t know, but I expect they were the gift ones. Then she […]

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June 14, 2011

Spring Meadow Hires Marketing Specialist

Spring Meadow Nursery, the developers of the Proven Winners ColorChoice brand of flowering shrubs, has hired Stacey Hirvela as marketing specialist. Hirvela was previously senior associate garden editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. “We are excited to add Stacey to our marketing team,” says Tim Wood, product development and marketing manager. “Her experience working for a major consumer media outlet will be helpful in our efforts to better connect the brand with consumers.” In her new position, Hirvela will be leading the creation of “likeable” content to share within the brand’s social networks. She will also be moderating the Proven Winners ColorChoice Facebook page, which has grown to 17,100 fans. “Every plant we sell has a story behind it, and I can’t wait to share that with gardeners everywhere,” Hirvela says. “I’m also excited to lead the Invincibelle Spirit Campaign toward our goal of $1 million raised for breast cancer […]

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June 14, 2011

MasterTag Launching Consumer Website

MasterTag is launching a new consumer website called MyGardenInsider.com and introducing it at the upcoming OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio. Created by industry professionals, MyGardenInsider.com will provide an insider’s perspective on the horticulture industry with clear instructional information, inspiring projects, beautiful images and a searchable library. MyGardenInsider.com is rich in content, taking plant care information far beyond what can be found on a typical horticulture tag. The website is designed to have a dialogue with gardeners through social media and consumer surveys. The site is mobile ready and can be accessed with a smartphone to provide instantaneous information at the retail store, or on the web in the comfort of a home. MasterTag will be conducting demonstrations at booth No. 1821 at the OFA tradeshow July 10-12. Learn more about MasterTag online at MasterTag.com.

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May 27, 2011

America in Bloom Partners With Lamp’l

America in Bloom (AIB) judges will be scouting for potential filming locations for the 2012 season of the award-winning TV show, “Growing a Greener World,” while visiting American cities from coast to coast this summer. “Our judging team is the best ever and they’re looking forward to sharing this exciting opportunity with our participating towns and cities,” says Jack Clasen, AIB board member and judging chair. The show was founded by executive producer and host Joe Lamp’l, otherwise known as Joe Gardner. Lamp’l has hosted “Fresh from the Garden” on DIY Network and Garden Smart on Public Television. He is also a popular author on the speaking circuit, engaging in the public in person and online through his social media platforms. “I am very excited to have AIB’s keen sense of discernment as they travel the country seeking the best of what America has to offer,” Lamp’l says. “They already […]

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May 27, 2011

Lead Seeley Conference Speaker Announced

Mary Brett Whitfield, the senior vice president at Kantar Retail and the director of Shopper Insights, will be the lead speaker at this year’s Seeley Conference at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Whitfield will speak about consumer attitudes and their effect on retail trends and buying behaviors. Check out video of Whitfield in action on YouTube. Following Whitfield’s Seeley Conference presentation, Bob Williams of Smithers Oasis will address how the floral industry can respond to changing trends and behaviors in terms. Stan Pohmer will also have a speaking role at Seeley. He’ll be discussing the mass market and supermarket channels. The Seeley Conference will be held June 27-29 this year. Registration begins the evening of June 26. Complete conference details and online registration are available at: www.hort.cornell.edu/seeleyconference/

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