By coming up with cutting-edge promotional campaigns that catch the consumer’s eye, the Flower Council of Holland consistently manages to achieve a lot with relatively limited means. Their latest project is ‘the Green Gallery’: a gorgeous online magazine that highlights how flowers are a muse for artists of all kinds. Intrigued by the publication, we set out to meet the brain behind it – and ask him some provocative questions!
Practically all people who work with flowers, or just enjoy them, will have come across one of the Flower Council of Holland’s campaigns at some point – whether they realize it or not! Remember that red ‘Cupi-drone’ delivering Valentine’s roses to unsuspecting couples on the street? That’s them! Five half-naked hunks in a greenhouse, asking you what your favourite flower is? Once again: the Flower Council!
They are the only organization still involved in the general, international marketing of flowers and plants, and they do it well. So well in fact, that florists can learn a whole lot from how they design and target their campaigns. Cleverly ‘keeping flowers and plants top of mind with the consumer’, is what it comes down to every time. And not just keeping consumer’s talking about it, but the media as well, further amplifying the reach of their ads. While the Flower Council focuses on four European countries, the campaigns are often so successful that their impact reaches far beyond those borders.
That said, the Green Gallery (see: www.thegreengallery.com) magazine differs substantially from their usual marketing campaigns – at least at first sight. So we asked Managing Director Marc Eijsackers some questions about what this means for the direction of the Flower Council – and the marketing of flowers and plants in general. His answers make for thought-provoking reading…
Hello Marc, thanks for taking the time. To get right into it: should we see the Green Gallery magazine as an ode to flowers and the endless ways in which they inspire various people and trades, rather than a marketing publication? Or are those two approaches not mutually exclusive?
“Not mutually exclusive, no. We want to inspire with the beauty of flowers and plants and our aim is to show this beauty through inspiring, artistic and exciting content. Which will help us to get our products more top of mind with our target group.
Nowadays you have to earn your attention. Consumers don’t want promises but want to be convinced with beautiful and credible stories that fit their lifestyle…”
The type of content which the Green Gallery online magazine offers, seems to be a fair bit of a departure from the usual promotional material which the Flower Council of Holland produces. What was your motivation for going with an artistic, historical, even literary approach for this new magazine, which clearly pushes the traditional limits of flower marketing?
“We have clear insights into our consumer target groups. We wanted to promote flowers and plants within a different consumer segment than our ongoing, current activities. Our aim is to astonish this certain type of consumer…
Luckily, flowers and plants have the natural feature to astonish. We combined them with special interests from that particular group – like art, fashion, food and interior design – and we translated that into high-end editorial content which fits their lifestyle perfectly.”
In light of that fact, which are these different, specific target groups this magazine aims to reach, aside from the florists (and perhaps other traditional floriculture sector participants)?
“This magazine is meant for everybody that is appealed by it. Though, of course we had a specific consumer segment in mind that we want to focus on. This group is young, follows tomorrow’s trends, is creative and opinionated, open-minded and very mobile; she loves to travel. She wants to differentiate and tell her own stories. Quality is very important to her. She lives an exciting life and has a recognized role in society.
Frequency and spending (on flowers and plants) are slightly above average. Cut flowers for personal needs are less important. She goes to high-quality purchasing places, usually florists, and is willing to spend slightly more, especially for indoor plants. But she has no clear tendency towards cut flowers or indoor plants.
We expect this group to grow in volume (and hopefully revenue) based on our consumer research. So it’s important to keep track of them and make sure that flowers and plants are on top of their minds.”
Considering the attractiveness of the publication and the lot of effort that evidently went into making it, how is the Flower Council planning to bring it to the attention of the wide audience that it deserves? What follow-up activities have been planned in that regard, and how important are your social media platforms (and its potential for ‘virality’) for achieving it?
“The high quality editorial content is produced in collaboration with leading and rising talents such as photographers from Vogue, W Magazine and Kinfolk, and stylists from Elle Decoration. People that are (social) influencers themselves and that are of interest to our target group. The Green Gallery of course has its own social media channels (Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram) to connect and interact with our followers and fans, and we have a newsletter to communicate about upcoming activities.
Furthermore we have a small budget for online advertising to push our content. Our ambition is to keep celebrating. There is so much beautiful content about flowers and plants. When we started sharing people immediately responded by sharing their own content and wanting to contribute. So, as far as we are concerned, The Green Gallery is here to stay.”
Admittedly, the publication is tantalizing and does make the reader long for more. We’re already getting a teaser of a second issue, in October, dedicated to plants, but is there more in the pipeline? Do you think this type of publication could be a model for other future campaigns..?
And would that mean the Flower Council deviating from its traditional role, or would you say that giving your team a relatively free hand to envision creative campaigns like this has actually been central to your approach/success from the beginning?
“With this magazine we enter a new era of content marketing. Over the past two years content has become one of the dominant factors in the approach and work of the Flower Council. High quality content placed in relevant media ‘umfeld’ (Ed.: environments) has a much bigger effect on consumers than straight advertising. It is all about earned media.
The team gets a relatively free hand, within budget and strategic constraints of course. I have such a team that can handle these challenges and that can deliver the Wow!
If you consider classic advertising, organizing trade shows and pushing products as the traditional role of the Flower Council, then you might see this as deviation. I rather see it as a logical evolution. Content marketing works fine with the other marketing and communication disciplines.”
Florint would like to wholeheartedly thank Marc Eijsackers and his Flower Council team for the opportunity for the interview, as well as the candid replies. We very much look forward to the next Green Gallery edition – in the fall!
The Green Gallery is available in French, German, English as well as Dutch, and can be viewed on desktop, mobile, as well as a tablet computer. The second edition will be published sometime in the fall. Plants will be its main theme: stay tuned!
View the free online magazine at thegreengallery.com
A video of the fantasy-style press launch of the Green Gallery, which took place at the magnificent Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, is available on YouTube: please click here