How much would you spend to score nearly six minutes on a top-rated local radio show — bantering with the hosts, promoting flowers and plugging your business?
In Utica, New York, Bill Waszkiewicz of Chester’s Flower Shop and Greenhouses did just that earlier this week, when he joined Bill Keeler on Keeler in the Morning on WIBX-950. But thanks to his PR savvy, Waszkiewicz didn’t spend a dime of his marketing budget. Instead, he sold Keeler and his news team on Petal It Forward, a new campaign from the Society of American Florists that aims to generate media coverage through both social and traditional media outlets highlighting the benefits of flowers.
As part of that campaign, SAF’s marketing team will hit the streets of New York on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, and randomly present two flower bouquets each to people throughout the city. Recipients will be asked to “Petal It Forward” by giving one of their bouquets to someone special in their life, or even a stranger who could use a smile.
Waszkiewicz will complement that effort with a giveaway of his own in Utica — an effort he promoted via social media and a press release sent to local reporters.
“It’s no secret that people feel good when they receive flowers… and it’s [also] no secret that you feel good when you give them, too,” Waszkiewicz said, before citing study results from SAF research on the positive emotional impact of flowers on people. “One of the best reasons to give flowers is no reason at all. That really can make someone’s day.”
Keeler and his co-host were delighted to be on the receiving end of the flowers Waszkiewicz brought with him to the studio. (“I’ve never been given flowers before,” the co-host said. “It feels so good!”)
The new campaign taps into pay-it-forward actions that are “all the rage,” according to Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of marketing. “News coverage on people spreading kindness has evolved into an ongoing feel-good story on traditional and social media channels across the U.S.,” she explained, and florists can take advantage of that interest.
In fact, many SAF members already are doing just that. Leading up to the Oct. 7 giveaway in New York, floral industry members, including Waszkiewicz, are building awareness for their own local campaigns and promotional efforts, with the help of SAF resources. Here’s a small sampling of ideas:
- Georgianne and Kevin Vinicombe of Monday Morning Flowers and Balloon Co. will be handing out hundreds of flowers in downtown Princeton, New Jersey—and the press release they sent out promoting that effort has been picked up word-for-word by several news outlets, including the Princeton Online. “We love seeing the smiles that flowers bring day in and out at the shop and wanted to bring some random smiles to Princeton residents” Kevin said via the release.
- At Beneva Flowers in Sarasota, Florida, Lindsay Zimmer said the shop will visit “two random businesses twice a day and give out two arrangements.” The senior vice president of Beneva Solutions said the company is promoting the effort on its Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as its blog and newsletter. “We customized the SAF press release as well as the media advisory to try and gain additional coverage,” Zimmer said. “We are also helping three other florists who want to do #petalitforward in their area.”
- In Chicago, Bridget Carlson said Ashland Addison Florist Co. will give away 1,000 fall-colored roses wrapped with a green accent and a Petal It Forward tag on Oct. 7th. “Our game plan is to give each recipient two to three blooms each and tell them to keep one,” and “petal forward” the others, she said. The florist is focusing on “bustling parts of the city” (think: Wrigley Field and busing El stations in the city’s North Side). “It will be a blast, and we’re excited to piggyback on the energy that SAF is generating in New York,” Carlson said, adding that they’ve included #petalitforward language on marketing materials. (Like other Chicagoland florist, Carlson will partner with Kennicott Brothers Company for some of their efforts; be on the lookout for more coverage of those efforts next week.)
- After hearing about the campaign during SAF Amelia Island 2015, Lori Wheat, AAF, of Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado, said she decided to go big for the big-hearted event. In partnership with DWF Wholesale Florists, Wheat and her team will set up a tent in front of their main store (situated on a major thoroughfare) and a giveaway station at their satellite location at a local medical cent.
- In Chester, New Hampshire, Karen Flanders has lined up seven volunteers for her giveaway through Lady Slipper Creations. Like other florists, she’s targeting busy areas — surrounding a medical center and a popular restaurant — for her efforts. “I am so very excited to be a part of this event,” Flanders said.
- Mike Mooney of flower grower Dramm and Echter in Encinitas, California, said his team will hit the streets for the giveaway in a slightly different fashion: In a play on petals and pedals, “we are going to ride bikes to the street corner, and wait for red lights to give them out,” he explained. “We are located close to the beach and golf courses, so our street is always busy.”
For more real-time ideas, be sure to check out SAF’s Twitter feed.
SAF members are encouraged to tag SAF on social media to help cross promote efforts. Use the hashtag #PetalItForward.
Feeling inspired? There’s still plenty of time for your business to capitalize on the campaign (on Oct. 7 or any time during the week), said Sparks, who noted that all members have access to free Petal It Forward materials and how-to advice at safnow.org/petalitforward, including:
- Sample Press Release
- Sample Media Advisory
- Flower Card Template
- T-Shirt Template
- Flower Event Messages
- Social Media Messages
Industry members who participate are also encouraged to share how they Petal It Forward by posting a picture using the hashtag #PetalItForward and tagging SAF’s Instagram, @About_Flowers or Twitter, @FlowerFactor.
Look for lots of follow-up coverage in upcoming issues of EBrief. Participating in Petal It Forward? We want to hear about your efforts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.