State Of The Industry: Branding In Action

State Of The Industry: Branding In Action

What does it take to be a king or queen of branding? Well, a great product for starters. Beyond that starting point, you’ll need a meaningful message and a forum to relay that message.

A few plant brands are setting the bar high in our industry and designing the templates for getting messages across to consumers. Here’s a glance at what these brands have been up to lately, and what they’ve done to position themselves as leaders.

Hort Couture
The original idea for this brand was to create a program for independent retailers with high-fashion design and marketing, as well as high-quality plants. But Hort Couture has taken off in such a short time and is easily recognizable now because of a strategic marketing campaign that’s positioned the brand as the one that does plants with style. This year, Hort Couture hosted its first Dressed For Success display contest for garden center retailers who best showcased plants with signage and benches.

The Plants That Work brand developed by Novalis has worked wonders in the marketplace. Sub-brands, like Plants That Work–In The Shade and Plants That Work–By Color, help guide consumers to select the right plants for their gardens with colorful and eye-catching point-of-purchase materials.

Proven Winners
After years of hosting successful Retail Road Shows, Proven Winners launched an educational outreach event just for growers last year called Grower To Grower University. Proven Winners also has a recognizable marketing resource at its side in P. Allen Smith, who continues to boost the brand’s position as one of the industry’s best through national television advertising. In addition, Proven Winners tripled its consumer impressions to 1 billion last spring through more mainstream, lifestyle-focused television and magazine advertising. And more than 115,000 consumers called an 800 number to request Proven Winners’ “Idea Book” last spring.

Simply Beautiful
Perhaps the biggest step Simply Beautiful made in 2008 was the redesign of its website, which offers garden tips, specific variety information and combination recipes for consumers to take to their local independent garden center. Ball Horticultural Co. has also been getting more involved with its quarterly eNewsletter, now reaching about 18,000 consumers.

Southern Living Plant Collection
After a soft release last spring, the Southern Living Plant Collection will be available in full force this year–and plants are designed and marketed to solve specific challenges in the landscape. Recently, Athens Select partnered with Southern Living to bring even more plants to market, and Southern Living will continue to lean on the magazine to reach the nearly 16 million people it targets each month. 

A couple of contests for garden center retailers and consumers have built the STEPABLES brand up over the last couple of years and given retailers and consumers the opportunity to express a little creativity. The STEPABLES Display contest at garden centers is divided into three categories–Best “Definitive” Display, Best “Supporting” STEPscape Display and Best “Use of Space” STEPABLES Display–and all three show consumers what fun can be had with STEPABLES in the landscape.

Wave Petunias
Wave petunias are still industry favorites in large part because of the Wave fan club. Membership offers special sneak peeks at the newest Wave varieties before they hit the garden centers. Wave also gives its members opportunities to share their personal petunia stories, post pictures and find free online green thumb tips online.

In addition, Wave is big on its Very Important Planter (VIP) contests, giving an online community the chance to win samples of varieties and other prizes.

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