Gardening promotion stepped up a gear

All players across garden industry asked to contribute towards £350,000 target to promote gardening to new audiences.

Campaign: support being sought
Campaign: support being sought

Garden Industry Marketing Board manager David Arnold is writing to companies and organisations that have pledged verbal support for the 2015 HTA-led campaign to promote gardening to new audiences.

Arnold is also contacting other "key players" in the industry who are yet to do so, asking for confirmation of their financial contribution.

He wants all players in the garden industry to contribute to a £350,000 target to "make the campaign successful and beneficial to the entire trade".

Arnold said research shows the industry must change how it communicates with the 30- to 45-year-old consumer group to get them to "engage more with their outdoor living space and, in the process, spend more".

The research found a "Love the Plot You've Got" slogan works best for those 30- to 45-year-olds surveyed. They are time-poor, see gardening as a dirty chore and lack skills. They also see gardening as an older person's pastime and renters do not want to buy plants.

Most value outdoor space as a place in which to socialise and relax. But gardening itself was mentioned by just one of 32 surveyed when asked to "describe when outdoor space has worked well for you".

The survey found parents value outdoor space for children and their outdoor toys. Many aspire to have new outdoor dining areas and vegetable patches. But "gardening for its own sake is not an appealing prospect".

Among rejected slogans from agency Smoking Gun was "The Great G plot". Pinterest provided lots of aspirational creative images with repeating themes of "upcycling", vertical planting and quirky plants.

A starter kit idea appealed to absolute beginners but was seen as nothing new and a bit childish by others. Free seeds with a magazine were generally liked.

Mums were interested in engaging gardening activities for children in the holidays, while "how to" workshop videos have some appeal if targeted at simple tasks that are not too time consuming or excessively expensive.

The idea of a website or hub for the campaign was suggested spontaneously in several groups. They wanted simple guidance to inspire and help them with inspirational, easily achieved ideas for small gardens and step-by-step video projects.

The ideal celebrity spokesperson for the campaign would be young and bubbly. Respondents said the benefits, tone, imagery and occasions that resonate are around people, not plants or the process of gardening.

Promise and association of these benefits were most likely to gain attention and generate interest. Novelty, uniqueness, surprise and usefulness were seen as likely to gain attention, especially on social media.

Empowerment and control are key to winning the interest of the audience, not only knowledge and "how to" information. Communicating a sense of appropriate scale, "contained-ness" and achievability was also considered important.

Cameo show garden

The Garden Industry Marketing Board stand at the National Plant show at Stoneleigh Park (24-25 June) will feature a cameo garden illustrating the uses its research respondents said would be ideal for their outdoor areas, focusing on relaxation and entertaining/socialising.

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