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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May 6, 2011

Stepables Redesign To Simplifying Consumer Purchasing

Under A Foot redesigned its Stepables foot-shaped tags this spring for easier consumer comprehension. In addition to all-new text and a new layout on the tag back, each tag front now has up to six colored dots that indicate which landscape applications best fits that particular plant. The consumer simply looks at the tag to check and see if the dot category fulfills their landscaping needs. To make things even easier, a visual display sign was created to guide consumers using color-coded picture boxes. These boxes also include the matching color-coded dot and show which plant category matches the colored dot, pushing past any language barrier that might stop a novice, non-speaking consumer from making a purchase. Additionally, a new color brochure guides consumers through each colored dot category and ultimately how to pick the right plants for the right spot. Stepables.com has also been transformed into a 400-plus page […]

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May 3, 2011

LiveRoof Adds Sales Rep in Florida

LiveRoof has named Paul D. Spirou as its regional sales representative in Florida for the LiveRoof hybrid green roof system. “Our sales process is technical and consultative,” says Dave MacKenzie, horticulturalist and president of LiveRoof. “That’s why our process for recruiting and evaluating sales representatives is so rigorous. We are confident that with his background in construction and knowledge of green building, Paul will be a first-rate resource for our customers.” An accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP), Spirou has nine years experience as a project manager and quality control manager in the construction industry, including positions with Opus South Contractors in Tampa, Fla., and The Haskell Company in Jacksonville, Fla. Spirou holds a bachelor’s of science degree in building construction management from the University of North Florida and earned his master’s of business administration at the University of Miami. He is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in sustainable construction from […]

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April 28, 2011

What’s Behind The 2D Tag?

Lots of consumer-facing brands are using the new 2D bar code technologies (QR codes and Microsoft’s MS tags), which is a great way to offer more information than a print piece can offer, but what’s the best way to use them?  The number one mistake I see is content behind QR and MS Tags that isn’t mobile friendly. Keep in mind when you create a tag that users will be viewing it on a mobile phone screen. That means light on text. Let’s see what’s behind these 2D tags. Bare Minerals QR Code or MS Tag: MS Tag The 2D bar code appears on: A BareMinerals print magazine ad The hook: To learn more about what bareMinerals Skincare can do for you, scan this tag and watch our video. When I click thru, I get: A well-produced YouTube video commercial on the benefits of the product. Aesthetically, I like it. The video is less than […]

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April 28, 2011

USDA Proposes National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is requesting comment on the creation of a voluntary National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (NLGMA) that would assist all segments of the leafy green industry in meeting commercial food quality and safety requirements. To reflect the different climates, production practices and markets handling leafy green produce, USDA is proposing that there be eight regional zones represented on the board. Representatives from these zones, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, would form a board to manage the agreement. The board would include 26 representatives – 12 handlers, 10 farmers (at least two of which must be small farmers), one importer, one retailer, one food service representative and one member of the public. “This proposed agreement and governance structure provides an opportunity for farmers, handlers and retailers of all sizes to work together and develop a practical program,” says Agriculture Deputy Secretary […]

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April 27, 2011

WSJ: Home Depot, Lowe’s In Fight For Flower Power

The Wall Street Journal published an article April 27 titled “The Garden Gloves Come Off,” describing an “annual war” between Home Depot and Lowe’s over the discovery and development of new plants for their stores. “We want to be better than the other guy,” Mike DuVall, Home Depot’s chief plant merchant for the southern U.S, tells The Wall Street Journal. “It could be a flower with a stalk that sits up a little higher or has eight blooms instead of four. But we want to sell something that the other guy doesn’t.” Reporter Miguel Bustillo dives into plant exclusives each home improvement chain has had over the years and the greatest finds of both Home Depot and Lowe’s.  Read the full article here.

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April 25, 2011

Proven Winners’ Superbells Varieties Getting National Attention

The latest additions to the Superbells Punch calibrachoa series from Proven Winners are gaining national attention in popular magazines, as consumer editors advise gardeners on the hottest varieties to look for this spring. ‘Superbells Coralberry Punch’ and ‘Superbells Blackberry Punch’ are appearing on the pages of many just-issued gardening and lifestyle magazines. Better Homes and Gardens (April, 2011), Gardening How-To (January/February, 2011), Small Gardens (Spring, 2011) and Birds and Blooms (February/March, 2011) are among the publications that have featured this series of plants that offer a dark, black eye surrounded by a bright bloom of color. “The Superbells Punch series is our attempt to capitalize on two different gardener interests,” says Rick Schoellhorn, director of new products for Proven Winners. “We are working to get the blackest-eyed forms we can so that we capture the consumer’s eye with bi-color blooms, contrasting with bright colors on the outside of each flower. […]

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April 25, 2011

Overcoming Big Box Obstacles

In 1870, Bennett’s Greenhouse was a rural operation connected to the community by a single-lane road. Today, it is a $4 million, 25-acre, year-round grower-retailer, located in the midst of mini malls, industrial parks and some pretty stiff big box store competition. In today’s market, where medium-sized businesses often find themselves squeezed out, Bennett’s and its owners Richard Bennett, Barbara Bennett Ruff and Kathy Bennett Chinn, are finding success by focusing on the things it can do better than its bigger competitors. Answering Big Box Competition The Bennetts believe they have something to offer that the big box competition cannot. “It is up to the mid-sized greenhouse to produce our own best choices,” Barb says. “How is a big box going to keep selling 20 kinds of verbena?” Customer sales have evolved from a flats industry to many more varieties, but in far less numbers. Today, the Bennetts think they […]

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April 25, 2011

Consumer Interest In ‘Green’ Plants

The ornamental plant industry consists of a few large- and many medium- and small-scale growers. In recent years, the intense competition from large domestic and international growers has forced medium- and small-scale farmers to identify and explore new niche markets for their products through value-added marketing. Discovering a profitable niche market is a complicated task because consumer demand is highly diversified. Organically grown and locally grown food products have become increasingly popular in recent years. There is a belief that the demand for organic and sustainable floral products is increasing in the United States due to an emerging consumer segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living and social justice. Our research focused on two questions: 1) Are some consumers more interested in ornamentals, vegetable transplants and herbs produced in sustainable ways than conventionally grown plants? and 2) Do some consumers have different levels of interest […]

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March 30, 2011

Endless Marketing Ideas

There’s no limit to the number of fun and exciting ideas The John Henry Company is developing. From seasonal pot wraps and QR codes to new merchandising concepts for gifting and its BloomIQ.com website, the people at John Henry are certainly keeping busy but more importantly helping growers and retailers sell more plants. Some growers will always argue good-quality plants sell themselves. Of course, that’s true in some cases, but it’s clearly becoming more important to connect more directly to that key demographic of female consumers–and fun, attractive packaging is the way to do just that. Among some of John Henry’s packaging ideas unveiled at the California Spring Trials are pumpkin and scarecrow pot wraps for the fall season and a special Easter program that involves QR codes connecting smartphone users to short, stop-motion videos of an Easter chick hatching. John Henry also showcased a few brand-specific packaging items, including Plant In […]

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March 29, 2011

QR Codes Becoming More Prevalent

The greenhouse industry got wind of QR codes and Microsoft Tags at last year’s California Spring Trials. QR codes are back in full force this year at Sakata, where MasterTag is showcasing a variety of point-of-purchase materials with QR codes front and center on them. MasterTag is actually teaming with Learn2Grow.com to help educate consumers through QR codes. A smartphone user who downloads the appropriate app can learn everything from growing conditions to soil and water needs about their featured plants through Learn2Grow.com. “We don’t know where this whole thing is going to go,” says Joe Fox, sales and marketing director of MasterTag. “I think a lot of people are going to know what these are by the end of the year.” MasterTag is focusing on QR codes rather than Microsoft Tags because Microsoft is indicating online that it might eventually charge users for its tags. Fox says he’s seen […]

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