March 26, 2013

Lake County Nursery Hosts Educational Sessions For Independent Garden Centers

Want to take an active role in helping your retail customers improve themselves? Take a page from the Lake County Nursery playbook and offer training to garden centers on the topics they need help with. Lake County Nursery’s Joe Zampini says he visits about 100 garden centers a year, which have varying levels of staff education and customer service and sales skills. “We’ve started to build a partnership with our customers,” says Zampini, vice president of sales at Lake County Nursery, which is located in Perry, Ohio. “We’ve seen customers in the last few years talking about the box stores and how they can’t compete with them. They’ve had a hard time selling, so we’ve looked at ways to help them improve.” Lake County’s Peak Performer Series of one-day educational sessions has included speakers Bridget Behe of Michigan State University and garden center designer Judy Sharpton. Zampini’s goal is to […]

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March 4, 2013

Social Media How To: Rocket Farms

Branding and storytelling are a big part of how West Coast Top 100 grower Rocket Farms is using social media. Take a look at how the operation is working with public relations consultant Ashley Beleny of Environmental Relations PR to reach through to the consumer to deliver information about gardening and plants. GG: Why social media? Beleny: Social media isn’t for every company. It is for companies who can present three things: 1. Product differentiation 2. A unique point of view 3. A call to action At Rocket Farms, we are branding ourselves as more than plants; we are part of your life, a lifestyle and a range of fun, modern products that fit into every lifestyle. We use social media to convey these attributes and help us differentiate. We are building customer relations (we find ourselves answering a lot of questions) and tracking consumer response to our products to […]

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February 25, 2013

Proven Winners Unveils 2013 Consumer Shrub Campaign

Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs has launched a national consumer advertising campaign unlike any the industry has ever seen. Bold graphics personify ten heavy-hitting shrub varieties to present the unique and innovative features that make them a smart choice for the home garden. Proven Winners shrubs worked with Fairly Painless Advertising, an agency whose work was recently featured during Super Bowl Sunday, to develop the campaign that features both print advertising and a new homepage at www.provenwinners-shrubs.com. Wanting to break from the stale campaigns of the past, Proven Winners chose to work with Fairly Painless to develop a series of ads that creatively illustrated each plant’s more significant features rather than spelling it out with overly technical copy. The process took several months and involved boiling down the brand’s message to its simplest, most pure form before building it back up. The result is a daring campaign the breaks through the […]

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February 11, 2013

Choose The Right Greenhouse Varieties For 2013

While the greenhouse industry has become more progressive in its marketing efforts, we are still stuck using very traditional approaches that are no longer effective. Let’s look at a couple of levels in the supply chain to see how they market their products. Growers There has been a huge transition in the balance of power regarding variety adoption at the grower level. This is driven by the influence of outdoor grower trials. Many retailers are selecting varieties based on what some say are the most objective trials. Leading examples are Metrolina, VanWingerden International, Welby Gardens, Costa Farms and C. Raker, just to name a few. Retailers don’t care who bred the plant; all they want to know is what works best and if it comes from a reliable source. Some industry observers have suggested the importance of university trials has vastly diminished. Download A Free Copy Of The 2013 State […]

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February 5, 2013

Why Parks Brothers Farm’s Jason Parks Uses Social Media

Why use social media? Communicating with others online can be a powerful tool for marketing your products, but Jason Parks of Parks Brothers Farm also uses it to keep up-to-date on the world outside the greenhouse. Here’s an inside look at who he communicates with over social media and why. 1. Why use social media?  JP: The best reason to use social media is so you can converse with people in your networks who are customers, potential customers, competitors and trolls (look it up). We use social media as a communication tool that has customer service, advertising and sales benefits depending on who you are talking to and how you are conversing with them. Customers and consumers want to talk to the people who make or grow the products they buy. They want to be able to get on their computer or smartphone and communicate with someone who is involved […]

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February 1, 2013

How Pinterest Helps Growers

Over the last year, Pinterest has blossomed into a worldwide social network. Establishing itself as a popular niche among social media channels, this photo-sharing forum has caught the attention of millions of users. So, what is Pinterest and how can it help you as a grower establish brand awareness among current and potential customers? For starters, your product is visually appealing — this social networking site is designed to allow users to share photos in an infinite number of categories from across the Web. Topics range from gardening ideas and favorite home furnishing accessories to fashion trends and delicious recipes. Photo categories can be easily customized per industry and product type, and the possibilities are endless.   Each Pinterest user has the ability to create personalized or tailored boards, which can be named based on specific products or plant varieties and genera. Once the boards have been created, related photos […]

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January 10, 2013

Plants Bridge The Generation Gap (opinion)

This month I have a front-row seat to watch a demographic shift. My parents are moving from their house in Columbus, Ohio, to a condominium closer to me near Cleveland. Since they have been avid gardeners for decades, it means they are leaving behind many beds filled with perennials and unusual shrubs.  I doubt the new owners will know the names of all those plants, but hopefully they will appreciate their beauty as well as the excellent soil in the double-dug beds and continue to take care of the gardens. My parents, at ages 92 and 83, are part of the Greatest Generation but are joining the Baby Boomers in the downsizing shift beginning to take place in that large population. They are transitioning to a new form of gardening for them — container and small-space gardening. They, and the Boomers, will likely be joined by a population decades younger […]

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January 3, 2013

Instead Of Flowers [Opinion]

The other night, while watching TV, I was working the remote like a sound mixer at a concert. Volume up, volume down, hit recall channel during commercials … and otherwise driving my wife crazy. As a rule, I mute the most inane commercials; why is driving a truck in the mud so appealing; who buys prescription drugs from a TV ad; how many male enhancement pills are there anyway? However, that evening a Valentine’s Day ad came on blatantly attacking our products. I turned it up. The ad was for a company called InsteadOfFlowers.com and essentially stated that our product is superfluous, does nothing but die and there are far better ways to spend our money than on flowers.    I am so tired of our industry being the fall guy. Every time a drought occurs or might occur, it is our fault for making it worse, and boom, politicians […]

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December 31, 2012

Suntory Announces Consumer Advertising Campaign For 2013

Suntory Flowers announced a new consumer-facing advertising campaign for 2013. By partnering with high-profile home and garden media companies, the breeder expects to generate 122 million impressions in the first six months. “We’re very pleased with how strong our cuttings sales have been this season and are looking forward to generating more sales for growers and retailers,” says Delilah Onofrey, director of Flower Power Marketing for the Suntory Collection. Here’s a breakdown of Suntory Flowers’ advertising plan, according to Onofrey: Better Homes & Gardens: “We will support our print advertorial in the April issue with a three-month, interactive digital package March through May on BHG.com. This includes sponsored content and videos, digital advertising and eNewsletters sent directly to readers.” Southern Living: “In addition to our print advertorial in the March issue, our three-month digital package on SouthernLiving.com includes being the Essential Plant Guide sponsor, run-of-site and garden channel digital ads and […]

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December 11, 2012

Silver Vase Markets Plants For Seasons, Not Holidays

There are certain plants that are so strongly associated with a certain holiday that it’s nearly impossible to separate them — red roses for Valentine’s Day, poinsettias for Christmas, Easter lilies for, of course, Easter. But there are other, more peripheral plants that, while still connected with a holiday, can be positioned in other ways as well. Marcella Lucio-Chinchilla, director of marketing for Silver Vase Orchids and Bromeliads, says Silver Vase is getting away from marketing for specific holidays and taking a whole new approach, looking at colors, accessories and pot textures to evoke feelings. “We’re playing with a lot of different materials and techniques, to come up with the right trend, the right movement, and not being so old school,” Lucio-Chinchilla says. “Instead of ‘here is my orchid for Valentine’s Day,’ it’s ‘here is my orchid for love.’ It’s a little on the artsy side, but that’s how we […]

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November 28, 2012

17 New Regional Greenhouse Growers Join HGTV HOME Plant Collection Team

The HGTV HOME Plant Collection announced its new partnership with 17 regional greenhouse growers for the Collection’s Expressions annuals line. Alex R. Masson, Inc., Bob’s Market and Greenhouses, Inc., Bordine’s Nursery, Ltd., Botany Lane Greenhouse, CF Greenhouses, Color Spot Nurseries, Diefenbacher Greenhouses, Floral Plant Growers, LLC., Harts Nursery of Jefferson, Inc., Janus Gardens, Inc., Masterpiece Flower, Meadowridge, Inc., Neal Mast & Sons Greenhouses, Timbuk Farms, Trail Nursery, Van de Wetering Greenhouses and Walnut Springs Nursery, Inc. have all joined the HGTV HOME Plant Collection grower network. “We are partnering with these exceptional growers based on their strong ability to service their markets with superior products,” says Sarah Hayes, Agricola Management’s marketing manager. “We are always looking for high-quality growers to be a part of this exciting new opportunity.” The new growers join established HGTV HOME Plant Collection sourcing partner for annuals, Dümmen USA. “Dümmen enjoys our strategic sourcing partnership and […]

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November 27, 2012

2013-14 Color Trends

Nothing attracts people like color. It triggers immediate emotional responses and lasting memories. From fashion and food to plants and outdoor living décor, color is a magnet with power to spark final purchasing decisions. Color is one of the influences that triggers purchasing choices people make everyday for their homes, gardens and outdoor living spaces. Why Trends? “Trends shape consumer demand,” says garden trend-spotter Susan McCoy, president of Garden Media Group, a garden marketing and public relations firm in Kennett Square, Pa. Born from multiple disciplines like fashion, art and social ideas, garden trends influence what plants, products and services customers want. According to McCoy, this year’s new color trends reflect a growing consumer demand for plants and products that bring happiness and bliss. Global trends expert Li Edelkoort, founder of the Paris-based trend forecasting company, Trend Union, agrees. When looking at the future of fashion and home décor, she […]

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