More than 360 floral teams in 48 states, Canada and Puerto Rico have notified the Society of American Florists of plans to Petal It Forward in their local communities on Oct. 23. That leaves two states to go — for industry participation in all 50 states.
“It’s not too late to plan a Petal It Forward event,” said Jenny Scala, SAF’s director of marketing and communications, encouraging floral members in Georgia and West Virginia to participate. “Even handing out 20-50 bouquets or single stems can make a big impact for your business.”
This marks the fifth year SAF has coordinated Petal It Forward. During this random acts of kindness effort, consumers receive two bouquets — one to keep and one to share — to demonstrate the Rutgers University research that shows flowers make people happy, as well as new research from the University of North Florida demonstrating that flowers also relieve stress. Consumers are encouraged to post on social media about their experience using the hashtag #petalitforward. The goal is to raise consumer awareness of flower power.
A hallmark of Petal It Forward? Collaboration, with floral professionals from all segments and local groups partnering together to spread the flower love.
That spirit of togetherness has been especially evident this year among wholesalers and growers who have gone to great lengths to recruit and support their customers for Petal It Forward. In Minnesota, Len Busch Roses helped ensure 35 retailers will participate this year, and from Rockford, Illinois, the Bill Doran Company, which has 17 locations around the country, has recruited — wait for it! — 304 shops to Petal It Forward.
Bill LaFever, PFCI, president of the Bill Doran Company and SAF’s chairman, said this year the company is on track to have its biggest retailer turnout for Petal It Forward.
“Our team signed up 304 customers who will be distributing 51,090 stems and bouquets on October 23 — that’s 51,090 people who will be enjoying the gift of flowers in our markets,” he said. “That’s outstanding.”
SAF continues to update the list of local Petal It Forward events. “We want to know where every single local event is happening,” Scala said.
To get your event listed, complete the Petal It Forward Participation Form at safnow.org/PIFform.
SAF’s Petal It Forward step-by-step logistics advice, suggested social media posts, media talking points and more are available for members-only at safnow.org/petalitforward.
“Through Petal It Forward, you’ll give your community the opportunity to experience first-hand what science has proven: Flowers equals happiness.,” Scala said. “You’ll be seen as a positive force in your community, you’ll boost employee morale — and can generate some serious buzz for you shop.
With one week to go until Petal It Forward, now is the time to make the final push for news media coverage and also get your customers excited. Here are five ways to make sure your event is top of mind for local media.
- Send your local newspaper, radio station and television station a press release, photos from last year’s event and an invitation to report this feel-good event. SAF provides two sample press releases. You can even use the SAF media advisory as an invitation. Consider delivering bouquets to the media along with your media advisory so reporters can preview the experience of receiving flowers.
- Follow up to each unresponsive media outlet with phone calls on Monday, Oct 21.
- Follow up to all media by resending the media advisory on Tuesday, Oct 22.
- On the morning of the event, send photos of your preparations – happiness ambassadors ready to hit the streets, buckets of bouquets lined up along the sidewalk – to all media outlets. And, share the same photos on social media.
- Provide your happiness ambassadors with sample messages to post on their social media such as: Join the fun as we #petalitforward with @yourshopsinstagram! Or Follow along as we #petalitforward all day with @yourshopsinstagram! Post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Renee Houston Zemanksi is a contributing writer to the Society of American Florists.