We will have to reinvent ourselves
The figures don’t lie: market conditions are uniquely challenging. The impact of the crisis on the horticultural sector is huge. This also has consequences for the budget that the Flower Council of Holland has to spend on the promotion of flowers and plants in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Royal FloraHolland’s turnover has fallen substantially in recent weeks. It is anticipated that this turnover will remain under pressure for the remainder of the year, and thus has halved the promotion budget available to the Flower Council of Holland. In recent years we had some 16 million Euro to spend on promoting flowers and plants. This year our budget will be around 8 million euro, part of which has already been allocated to existing commitments, so we will therefore be forced to cancel various planned activities. “We will have to reinvent ourselves for the rest of this year. Next year we want to make a big impact again. If we want to recover as a sector, we can’t do it without marketing,” says Dennis van der Lubbe, managing director of the Flower Council of Holland.
Impact on planned promotional activities
The reduction in the budget means that a number of planned campaigns will not be going ahead. Like the successful flower campaign ‘We Need More Flowers’, for which a substantial media campaign was planned for this summer. Unfortunately that budget is no longer available. However, we will be running a plants campaign later this year. How the plans for shopper activations will be affected will become clearer over the coming period.
Surveying the sector’s needs
Despite the limited funds, we will continue our work to tempt consumers to keep buying plants and flowers during these difficult times. We are taking a grassroots approach for what is needed, and we will have to be flexible. We’re thinking about how we can best support growers and traders. We were already doing that, but it is now more important than ever.
Since the crisis started we have been involved in various initiatives. The ‘Let Hope Bloom’ campaign that launched at the end of March is reminding consumers in all the target countries about the role flowers play in a positive and appropriate way. Guidelines, recommendations and suggestions for communicating about flowers and plants during the coronavirus crisis have also been drawn up for the sector. We have a great deal of consumer information that we would like to share with our stakeholders. We played a key role in terms of communication around the Dutch floriculture campaign ‘Samen tegen eenzaamheid bij ouderen’ (‘Floricultural effort: stand together against loneliness amongst the elderly’) on Good Friday. There are currently discussions within the sector about creating an additional occasion to highlight flowers and plants, knowing we miss out on many appropriate occasions this year. For this we are bringing parties together, and where necessary we will play a coordinating role in organising the consumer campaign.
Doing what we can
We are conscious of the fact that we have a minimal budget available for the rest of the year. We will use it to do what we can to support the sector and continue to focus on keeping flowers and plants top of mind amongst consumers. The world will also look different in the longer term in 2021. We will do whatever we can to ensure that consumers continue to buy flowers and plants. “We need to be flexible with the remaining budget now, but we can definitely still support the supply chain.”