Bill Schaffer AIFD, AAF, PFCI & Kristine Kratt AIFD, PFCI
There are many types of trends; some have nothing to do with the usual color, style and stories that we have traditionally followed. During a 45-day period from May 31 through July 12, 2018, we had the opportunity to attend 4 floral industry events in the hopes of reporting on the movement of existing trends and trend habits and the emergence of new trends. These events included Breeders, Growers, Importers, Floral Wholesalers, Bouquet Operations, Supermarkets, Mass-Market Chains, Retail Florists, Freelance and Event Designers, Event Planners, Floral Internet Gurus and Floral Transportation Experts. We have learned that forcing a trend to show itself is not realistic. A ‘shift’ in transparency through blockchain Connectivity and collaboration seemed to be the only consistent message throughout all 4 happenings. The trends that did emerge all connected to awareness. Is awareness itself a trend?
AWARE: PMA FRESH, MIAMI
We are living in the “Age of The Little Guy,” as pointed out by Shawna Suckow, a buyer behavior expert and keynote speaker at PMA Fresh in Miami, FL. In 2013, Nikko Mele proposed this in his book, The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath – therefore, the Amazon Experience. Our modern 24/7/365 consumer has DISRUPTED how everyone does business. For the first time in history, the end-user is in control of what they want, when they get it, where it comes from, and who they buy it from. This has created a new global world order of consumerism. This internet educated ‘Me’ consumer is socially conscious and through transparency wants to Trust in each and every purchase. “A rising tide lifts all boats:” it is in embracing this awareness of the consumer’s needs and wants and how to satisfy them that will offer a solution to these disruptions and a Transcendence beyond the current normal for how we connect with them.
AWARE: THE MIAMI FLOWER EXPERIENCE
At AFIF: America’s Flower Connection’s Miami Flower Experience, Executive V.P. Christine Boldt of AFIF explained the evolution of the logistics of bringing flowers into the United States since their formation in 1982. With planeloads of flowers arriving daily in Miami there is an actual semblance to what seems like utter Chaos. The logistics of transportation maneuvering through the USDA, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and the FDA is mind-bending. It was in these seminars that the awareness of how we get the majority of flowers into the United States came to an understood fruition. It is also where many transportation representatives, importers, wholesalers and retailers alike began to realize the overwhelming need for transparency from the inside-out and why the consumer needs to understand it.
These attendees all had a basic awareness of the trending retail and consumer purchasing habits in the floral industry. They also are acutely aware of their competition. They all sell the same product at the same prices and transport them on the same planes into Miami. The boutique-style niche that we are finding more and more florists turning to is the same concept that wholesalers are now trending towards: service. Concierge-style service that includes knowing a purchaser’s likes and buying habits. As in any business, this service is not only a friendlier approach to the process of taking a floral order; it is meant to reduce stress, increase Happiness and productivity and boost efficiency.
At the International Floral Expo (IFE) in Chicago we had the opportunity to sit in on Keith White AIFD’s presentation of the American Floral Trends Forecast (AFTF) 2018-2019 (as can be seen in Florists’ Reviews January 2018 edition). Every worldwide trend prognosticator has given their opinions on ‘what will be hot’ for these years. Story boards upon more story boards have offered the crystal ball analysis of the colors of the year. The AFTF goes beyond this with the color, style and story of why it works for today’s floral consumers. This need for a Certainty of awareness of what the consumer sees and the colors that they surround themselves with, in their everyday life, is a strong marketing tool that provides us with the insight of what equates to Harmony in the life of the shopper. This awareness allows us to better understand who we sell to.
In 1998 Archetype Analytics burst forth in the world of Marketing Research. What are Archetypes? In Carl Jung’s Instinct and the Unconscious, he first used the term in 1919 to describe images that derive from the collective unconscious and will often manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. At the American Institute of Floral Designer’s 2018 Symposium in Washington D.C. they were given life and meaning for the floral world in a wonderful program by Talmage McLaurin AIFD titled “Trend Archetypes: Unconscious Motivations.”
Talmage transcended traditional marketing analytics of motivators like Millennials are leaders in the Sharing Economy, retired Baby-Boomers who live in mid-western cities or single, Gen X moms over the age of 40 who have 2.25 kids, work and try to have hobbies. He showed, that though understanding traditional trends and why they are important in your Growth of awareness: there are decisive archetypes that play a deeper role on the ‘stories we tell to sell flowers.’ Talmage’s Contribution to AIFD’s Symposium uncovered 9 specific unconscious motivators for the floral industry and showed them in a visual style through design and the story of why (for the full presentation go to AIFD.org to purchase this 2018 Symposium presentation video/the 9 motivators are in bold print and underlined in this article).
In the never-ending search for what consumers will do next, trend awareness is crucial. Our industry is paying attention, as witnessed in the realization of the need for B2B; to network and then collaborate with each other. The be more aware of not only what we do, but what others do, and how connected we all are, the better the chance of success in every part of our industry, Growers need wholesalers, importers need shippers, designers need everyone, and consumer’s needs drive it all.
Originally published in the October 2017 Issue of Florists Review