Rocket Farms Creates Face-To-Face Consumer Demand For Potted Plants

Rocket-Farms-Flower-Truck-adventure-team-gathers-valuable-new-information-and-insights-while-interacting-with-consumersIf you’ve ever eaten goodies from a food truck, you know how popular these mobile hotspots can be, and how easily they draw a crowd. As a grower, you can engage consumers in much the same way, like Rocket Farms has with its Flower Truck adventures.

The Flower Truck acts as an ambassador, giving potted flowers to consumers in targeted areas. The California grower, based in Half Moon Bay and Salinas, has two events under its belt, with another event underway this fall. The idea, says Ashley Beleny, CEO of Environmental Relations PR, is to carry out the operation’s commitment to exposing more consumers to potted flowers and convert them to using potted flowers and plants as a lifestyle.

The Flower Truck project started back in February 2013, when Rocket Farms ventured out to three locations in the San Francisco Bay Area on Valentine’s Day and gave away 500 miniature roses. This spring, Rocket Farms headed out on a second adventure, distributing Get Mee campanula.

A Great Way To Reach Consumers

At each stop, Rocket Farms representatives talked with the flower recipients and ask them about their interactions with potted plants and flower selections.

Plant-giveaways-make-people-happy-but-also-generate-market-feedback“We learned a lot about what the general public did and didn’t know about potted plants,” Beleny says. “When we speak to our consumers, we assume there is a certain level of knowledge there and then, when you go out and meet and talk with them, you find out that you’ve made knowledge assumptions that aren’t there. That causes you to go back to the drawing board and think about how you’re communicating with them and what different messages you need to be giving them. That is what’s so interesting about these events — there are so many different elements to them: community relations, making people happy with flowers and market feedback.”

During the event itself, about five people typically represent Rocket Farms, including Beleny, Rocket Farms’ Vice President of Marketing Jason Kamimoto, a graphics designer and a salesperson. CEO Justin Dautoff has also been part of the event at some locations. Beleny says the team tries to bring along people who represent the message of the brand.

At press time, Rocket Farms was making plans for its third event, an Herb Truck adventure, to be held at a Bay Area farmers’ market. The event will be different in that it will be stationary at only one location versus three. And there are many additional considerations to pulling it off, like following tasting regulations, because it’s providing food and not flowers.

“If people seem responsive to the Herb Truck idea, then we’ll decide from there if we’ll expand it,” Beleny says. “With these out-of-the-box marketing events, we have a long-term strategic goal and vision, but we don’t write out the exact plan and put it in stone. Part of what makes us successful is our ability to adapt to things as we go and make decisions based on the success of different initiatives as we go.”

Currently, Rocket Farms rents the truck it uses for its adventures. Beleny says she tries to get the same truck each time and affixes logo decals on the side to keep a consistent look. A truck purchase may be in the operation’s future.

What Rocket Farms Is Learning

Rocket-Farms-plant-giveaways-taught-the-operation-what-consumers-know-and-don-t-know-about-plantsFor each Flower Truck event, Rocket Farms chose three locations, hoping to engage three very different demographics. In some places the response differed slightly. In a business district, recipients were more hurried but curious. In San Francisco’s Union Square, people were skeptical, thinking they were expected to buy the flowers, and seemed confused when told they were free. But one thing remained constant: receiving the flowers made everyone happy. Some were emotional, saying, “I feel so special,” or “This is the only flower I’m going to get for Valentine’s Day.” Adding up all the smiles, Beleny says that emotional connection to flowers is something universal, which we, as an industry, sometimes forget.

Rocket Farms uses its website and social media channels to both promote and see the impacts of its events. Facebook and Twitter help spread the word and provide live updates, and photos are posted on Pinterest and Facebook afterward.

All plants that are given away include website address and social media channels, and Rocket Farms asks recipients to follow or like them. Rocket Farms does receive likes, follows and thank-you posts on its Facebook page and website, but Beleny says it’s hard to analyze who was there versus who liked or followed the event because they liked the concept.

Beleny and Kamimoto provide a recap of each event to present internally, which includes photos, the most common comments, anything that was surprising, comments on Facebook and how many likes and shares were received.

For growers considering taking on events like Rocket Farms’, Beleny says there are many considerations. Mainly, you need to know: 1. Why you’re doing it and 2. What you want to get out of it.

“What’s important to you? Is there a question you want answered? Are there statistics you want to collect?” she says. “Don’t just do it for the sake of giving away flowers. You need a reason and you need to know your audience, how you want to speak to your audience and what you want to accomplish.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
Robert Conrad, Ball Seed Technology Research Manager

June 27, 2016

Ball Premier Lab Wins Medal Of Excellence Award For Its Advancements In Seed

Over the past 30 years, the Ball Premier Lab has set the standard for high-quality seed in the industry, earning it Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Medal Of Excellence for Industry Achievement, for its dedication to advancing seed and helping growers improve their margins.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries lower trials

June 24, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of The Year

North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Sustainable Production award for 2016.

Read More
Vic Frey, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses Feature

June 23, 2016

Vic Frey Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of The Year

Vic Frey, a finalist for the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and recipient of the 2016 Excellence In Production award, was always willing to trial and experiment with the latest technology. He loved the constant change in this industry, and turned every opportunity into a teaching moment.

Read More
Latest Stories
Robert Conrad, Ball Seed Technology Research Manager

June 27, 2016

Ball Premier Lab Wins Medal Of Excellence Award For Its…

Over the past 30 years, the Ball Premier Lab has set the standard for high-quality seed in the industry, earning it Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Medal Of Excellence for Industry Achievement, for its dedication to advancing seed and helping growers improve their margins.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries lower trials

June 24, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation …

North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Sustainable Production award for 2016.

Read More
Vic Frey, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses Feature

June 23, 2016

Vic Frey Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of The Y…

Vic Frey, a finalist for the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and recipient of the 2016 Excellence In Production award, was always willing to trial and experiment with the latest technology. He loved the constant change in this industry, and turned every opportunity into a teaching moment.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

June 19, 2016

Albert Grimm Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of T…

Grimm, winner of Greenhouse Grower's Excellence in Outreach and Leadership award, is always willing to listen, continuously learn, and improve. He is a role model and empowers his employees to strive for excellence.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Ornamental kale field at Sunlet Nursery

June 17, 2016

Sunlet Nursery Named As Finalist For 2016 Operation Of …

Sunlet Nursery in Fallbrook, CA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Community Leadership award for 2016.

Read More
The-Capitol

June 14, 2016

Fate Of H-2B Program A Hot Topic On Capitol Hill This W…

Following a Senate hearing on the economic impact of the H-2B Program, the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up its own version of a funding bill this week.

Read More
Battlefield Farms Company shot

June 14, 2016

Battlefield Farms Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of T…

Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Innovation award for 2016.

Read More
Mike Goyette, Pleasant View Gardens

June 14, 2016

Mike Goyette Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of T…

Goyette, winner of Greenhouse Grower's Excellence In Quality Award, is never satisfied with the status quo and is constantly looking for improvements in procedures, plant quality, employee organization, and the bottom line.

Read More
North American greenhouse 1

June 8, 2016

University Of Arkansas Offering Online Greenhouse Manag…

The course, which can be taken 24 hours a day, will cover basic greenhouse designs and construction materials, benching systems, glazing materials, lighting, heating systems, and much more.

Read More

June 7, 2016

Ball Seed Offers Full Mobile Ordering Capabilities With…

The latest update for Ball Seed’s WebTrack To Go mobile app now includes full ordering capabilities for the industry’s largest assortment of seeds and plants. App users can also complete order fulfillment via seed count or package size, find product substitutions, get personalized “contact us” information, request plant tags, and more. “Upgrading WebTrack To Go to the full suite of ordering and management tools is where we’ve always wanted to be,” says Mark Morris, Director of IT for Ball Seed. “With this new roll-out, we’re keeping up with our customers on-the-go and providing them the information and access they need –- even while away from their desks.” The Ball Seed WebTrack To Go app lets customers: Check order status and shipment tracking 24-7 Access up-to-the-minute product inventory from hundreds of suppliers Place orders by seed count, packet size, and more Find product info, culture and photos when and where they […]

Read More

June 7, 2016

Meet Ken Fisher, AmericanHort’s New President And…

The AmericanHort Board of Directors has named Ken Fisher as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Fisher has 20 years of experience leading public and privately-held companies, including iconic consumer brands with The Coleman Company and Elmer’s Products Inc. Fisher’s diverse business experience will further the vision and strategy of AmericanHort, while bringing proven organizational management to achieve the desired results, the AmericanHort Board says. “We know the industry values our advocacy work and educational programs, especially Cultivate. Ken’s expertise will assist us in enhancing existing offerings, while adding new value that will broaden our membership,” says Dale Deppe, AmericanHort Board Chairman. “The pace of change in our industry is rapid, and he has experience successfully leading organizations through both business and regulatory cycles. Ken’s business growth track record is exactly what AmericanHort needs as we enter our next chapter, which I am confident will be […]

Read More
Sakata Birthday Cake Feature

May 28, 2016

10 Creative Marketing Ideas From 2016 California Spring…

Grower-retailers often look to breeders for ideas on how to increase plant sales with smart marketing plans. The California Spring Trials were filled with great concepts to reach customers.

Read More
Costa Farms won International Grower of the Year. Representing the operation, (left to right) were Chuck Zala, Michael Vera, Menachem Ganon, Jose Costa, and Mike Rimland

May 24, 2016

AIPH Seeking Entries For Its International Grower of th…

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) is inviting ornamental growers from all around the world to enter the AIPH International Grower of the Year Awards (IGOTY) for 2017. Last year’s big winner was Florida-based Costa Farms.

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

May 23, 2016

What’s Good For The Environment Is Good For Business [O…

Investing in technology to become more sustainable “always goes hand in hand,” says Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “If it is good for the environment, it normally is good for business over the long term.” That connection was abundantly clear in the responses we received to this year’s Top 100 Growers Survey. VanWingerden points to three investments Metrolina has made as good examples of how technology can reduce an operation’s carbon footprint and pay dividends financially. Its biomass system burns locally sourced waste wood — a renewable resource; its ozone water treatment system cleans irrigation water, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and improving plant quality and precision growing; and electrostatic sprayers reduce water and chemical use, and provide more targeted chemical applications. Other Top 100 Growers have found VanWingerden’s theory to be true, as well. Costa Farms’ investment in solar energy panels on three buildings at its […]

Read More
Top 100 Drone Image Feature

May 16, 2016

Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Talk Technolo…

The Top 100 Growers are already by nature some of the most technologically advanced greenhouse operations, due to their sheer size and need for efficiency. Many of the largest growers also serve big box merchandisers and home improvement chains, where prices are dictated, so producing plants at the lowest possible cost is essential to growers not only staying in business, but also profiting and expanding their operations. This year’s survey focused on the automation and technology the Top 100 Growers are investing in, and how these advancements have improved their operations, as well as how they have affected growers’ labor issues. We also asked growers about how they’re solving labor issues, where they’re recruiting new hires, and how they’re keeping their people committed. Lean management programs and sustainability certifications have become higher priorities in the past several years, due to growers’ needs to run efficiently and focus attention on sustainable […]

Read More
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why C…

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More

May 12, 2016

AmericanHort Is Hosting A Greenhouse Tour In New Jersey…

The Field and Covered Production Tour takes place Sept. 14-15, and features stops at Overdevest Nurseries, Centerton Nursery, and Lucas Greenhouses.

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