The Society of American Florists’ annual Petal It Forward goodwill imitative is just a week away! There are 516 floral businesses in 48 states, Washington D.C. and India, Colombia and Canada getting ready to give away two bouquets — one for the recipient to keep, and one to gift.
If you’ve already registered for the Oct. 19 event, here are four things you can do to ensure a successful event.
Alert the Media
Flowers spread happiness. Getting that message and the day’s feel-good operations in front of the local media requires capturing the attention of journalists.
Now is the perfect time to pitch the story to local radio, television news and print media. Former participants have had luck by sending media advisories, targeting specific journalists by sending them Facebook messages (rather than send an email to a general media outlet’s inbox), and using social media to create a buzz that will alert the media of the upcoming event. Some florists even send bouquets with their media advisories as an added touch.
After sending getting in touch with the media, brush up on SAF’s talking points about flowers and Petal It Forward. The event is about bringing awareness to the power of flowers. Be ready to let your community — and hopefully the media — know that flowers are scientifically proven to reduce stress and evoke positive emotions.
Personalize Marketing Materials
Signs and flower cards are an integral part of Petal It Forward because they help relay the message and purpose of the event. Floral businesses don’t need to stress about the graphic design, though. SAF has templates for both a sandwich boards and flower cards.
Personalize the cards with your logo and social media handles of your business and any community partner helping with the event.
Brian Wheat, AAF, PFCI, of Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop and Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado, includes care instructions to educate recipients on how to ensure a long vase life.
Davonna Lowry, owner of Flowers by Zach-Low in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and her team took it an extra step and added hand-written inspirational quotes on the flower cards. With notes such as, “Today I choose joy,” and “Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life,” Lowry says they are hoping to drive home the message of how flowers can reduce stress and bring happiness.
Whether you’re giving the flowers away in your shop or getting out in the community, it’s a good idea to think through the details. Who will help load and transport the flowers? How will you manage the traffic in your store while still helping customers? If you are working with a community partner, now is also the time to firm up the schedule and meeting points.
Valerie Lee, who co-owns J. Miller Flowers and Gifts in Oakland, California with her sister Robbin Lee, says they typically alert the local police station that they will be stopping by with bouquets.
Others who plan to distribute outside schools, main street business districts or at hospitals also check in to verify the day’s plans to ensure a smooth day.
Many social media posts can be drafted and scheduled ahead of time. Take a picture of a sample bouquet, or use the some of the sample messaging provided by SAF to ensure the maximum impact from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
Assigning a social media point person for the day of will also ensure the Petal It Forward message is amplified throughout the community during and after the event. Tasking this person to take photos and videos will help capture the joy of recipients.
In addition to having a photographer on hand, Erin Lund, owner of Lund Floral in Ogden, Utah also recommends planning out short “person on the street” interviews that can be posted on social media. Asking recipients questions like “How does this make you feel?” helps emphasize with the broader message about random acts of kindness, she said.
Finally, have a game plan to handle post-event social media posts. Gina Whipple, shop manager of Petersen & Tietz Florists and Greenhouses in Waterloo, Iowa, knows that the Petal It Forward marketing potential isn’t over after the last bouquet is handed out. She makes sure she blocks out time to get on social media and respond to anyone who comments, likes or posts about the event.
Looking for more Petal It Forward resources? Click here for more information about Petal It Forward.
Sarah Sampson is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.