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 this year, we had the opportunity to attend four important 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 everyone from flower breeders, growers, importers, wholesalers and bouquet operations to floral retailers of all description, 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 four happenings. The trends that did emerge all connected to awareness. Is awareness itself a trend?
AWARE: PMA FRESH CONNECTIONS FLORAL 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 Connections: Floral Miami. 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 consumers have disrupted how everyone does business. For the first time in history, the end-users are in control of what they want, when they get it, where it comes from and from whom they buy it. This has created a new global world order of consumerism. These Internet-educated “me” consumers are socially conscious and, through transparency, want to trust in each and every purchase. “A rising tide lifts all boats”: It is in embracing this awareness of consumers’ 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: MIAMI FLOWER EXPERIENCE
At AFIF: America’s Flower Connection’s Miami Flower Experience, AFIF Executive Vice President Christine Boldt explained the evolution of the logistics of bringing flowers into the United States since flower farming in Colombia and Ecuador began in 1982. With planeloads of flowers arriving daily in Miami, there is a semblance to what seems like utter chaos. The logistics of maneuvering through the USDA, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and FDA is mind bending. It was in these seminars that the awareness of how we get the majority of flowers into the United States became understood. 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 consumers need 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 more and more florists are turning to is the same concept that wholesalers are now trending toward: 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, productivity and efficiency.
At the International Floriculture 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” (Florists’ Review January 2018). Every worldwide trend prognosticator has given his or her opinions on “what will be hot” for these two years. Storyboard upon storyboard has offered crystal-ball analysis of the colors of the year. The AFTF goes beyond this with the color, style and story of why a trend works for today’s floral consumers. This need for a certainty of awareness of what consumers see and the colors they surround themselves within their everyday lives is a strong marketing tool that provides us with the insight of what equates to harmony in the lives of shoppers. This awareness allows us to better understand whom we sell to.
In 1998, archetype analytics burst forth in the world of marketing research. What are archetypes? Carl Jung first used the term in 1919, in Instinct and the Unconscious, to describe images that derive from the collective unconscious and often manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. At the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) 2018 National 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 being leaders in the sharing economy; retired baby boomers who live in Midwestern cities; or single Gen X moms over 40 who have 2.25 kids, work and try to have hobbies. He showed that although 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.” In his contribution to AIFD’s Symposium, Talmage identified nine specific unconscious motivators for the floral industry and showed them in a visual style through design and the story of why. The nine motivators are in bold italic print in this article. (To see Talmage’s full presentation, go to aifd.org to purchase a DVD of his presentation.)
In the never-ending search for what consumers will do next, trend awareness is crucial. Our industry is paying attention, as evidenced by B2B companies’ realization that they need to network and then collaborate with each other. The more aware we are of not only what we do but also 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 consumers’ needs drive it all.
Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI, are the creative directors behind Schaffer Designs, a floral event company. Bill and Kris are diverse contributors in the floral industry, specializing in not only trend translations, education, product development, and showroom and trade-show design but also commissioned floral installations as well as being award-winning authors. Email email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.