For a florist in Eugene, Oregon, the “secrets” to scoring great press in the days leading up to Mother’s Day were simple: Stay positive, work those media relationships, and be available —even at 4:30 a.m.
From Thursday to Mother’s Day, Dandelions Flowers & Gifts in Eugene, Oregon, was featured in multiple stories on local TV news. Reporters turned to owner Shirley Lyons, AAF, chairman of the Society of American Florists, for a consumer watchdog report on the risks of online ordering and order-gatherers, along with stories about the overall impact of the holiday on local businesses and a feel-good profile of a long-running shop tradition just for kids.
The coverage was uniformly positive — and that was no accident, said Lyons, a longtime owner and media pro who fell back on many of the tips offered up in SAF’s PR Boot Camp, including a central tenet, offered up by SAF’s vice president of marketing, Jennifer Sparks: Thou shalt be available to the press, even when thou art knee-deep in Mother’s Day prep.
Lyons already had worked with a reporter for the consumer alert story on online buying when the same team looped back to her with a request: Could they come to the store on Friday at 4:30 a.m. for on-site footage? Her initial (internal) reaction: Noooooooo. But then she reflected on Sparks’ advice.
“I was whipped and had a 15-hour shift in front of me, but I channeled my inner Jenni and said yes,” said Lyons, who noted that some of the reporters involved in the stories have covered the shop in the past and now rely on Lyons as a source.
In the stories, Lyons’ positivity shines through. Rather than disparaging online vendors, for instance, she promoted the benefits of shopping locally, at a brick-and-mortar with a street address, phone number (and smiling, upbeat owner).
“We just urge people to be savvy online,” Lyons said. “Make certain you’re actually buying from a florist. If you’re calling a phone number and you want to check, if they can’t give you an address that’s a clue that they are not really perhaps legitimate.”
During the interview, she also underscored the shop’s professionalism, sending a not-so-subtle message to potential customers: We’re open for business and ready to make you look great with moms, wives and daughters on Mother’s Day.
“We will have about 17 trucks out on the road on Saturday, all day long making sure that hundreds and hundreds of bouquets get delivered,” Lyons said.
A separate story also highlighted a big-hearted, long-running outreach at Dandelions: Make it for Mom, a free event where kids had the chance to create their own holiday arrangements. The report noted the event has been a shop tradition for more than 30 years and showed a series of kids proudly displaying their creations. Then cameras turned to Lyons again, who left viewers with a lasting image of a happy, generous owner.
“It’s so fun to watch the creativity of kids,” she said. “I think that’s the sparkle that we get.”
Look for lots more coverage of Mother’s Day in upcoming EBrief issues, including results from SAF’s post-holiday member survey. Have a successful PR push, shop event or promotion? We want to hear all about it. Email [email protected].