Wednesday, October 19 is the date of this year’s Petal It Forward, the Society of American Florists’ international goodwill initiative, where one day thousands of florist industry participants present two flowers or bouquets to a stranger. unsuspecting, urging them to keep one and share the other with someone else.
1. Pure Joy
Petal It Forward aims to show people that it’s a pleasure to receive flowers, but it’s even more rewarding to give them. The more the public experiences them, the more consumers recognize that flowers make thoughtful, emotional and memorable gifts. But it’s not just customers who can benefit from witnessing the effects flowers can have on their lives and moods. Veteran participants have countless anecdotes of smiles, tears, hugs and poignant stories – memories that remind them of why they are in this business.
2. Celebrate your business and your community
Petal It Forward is a highly visible event that can do wonders for your company’s reputation. Where do you want to distribute flowers? Many participants choose a busy pedestrian area and hand out bouquets to random people. Others choose a particular location to surprise a specific demographic, such as a retirement or nursing home, daycare, healthcare facility, or school campus. Choose a location ahead of time to determine if you need a special permit.
Looking for help outside of your staff? Ask your friends, family and other members of the community to save the date and serve as “ambassadors of happiness”. Are other SAF members in your area participating? Can you join forces? Is there another group that might make a great partner – a youth group (Boy or Girl Scouts, 4-H, FFA), service club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Sertoma), local institution (YMCA, schools), or even another small business?
After you have formed your team, decide what you plan to distribute. Bouquets? Single stems? Or small arrangements? If the latter, do you want to prepare them yourself or organize a special design course?
3. Marketing potential galore
Journalists love to cover the giveaway, both in the days leading up to it and in its aftermath. Big-hearted events position you as a loved and trusted member of the community, and make it more likely that locals will support you rather than big box stores or online competitors.
Petal It Forward provides concrete evidence from the various academic studies commissioned by the SAF. In one day, you can collect tons of powerful images, videos, and stories to use all year round to illustrate the emotional power of your product. Click here to read how a few SAF members are marketing Petal It Forward before, during and after the event.
Several stores, including City Line Florist in Trumbull, Connecticut, are partnering with radio stations and other media groups. “They do phone interviews the week before and on Petal It Forward day and they help us hand out flowers,” says marketing manager Nicole Palazzo, AAF. “Honestly, there are so many negative stories out there, when people hear about something that’s just pure happiness, they want to be a part of it. It’s a wonderful feel-good story, but it’s also a great marketing tool for our shop.”
Don’t forget to alert the media once you have registered your event. Contact local outlets and let them know your plans for October 19 – let them know this is part of a national and international effort to demonstrate the health benefits of giving and receiving flowers. Get tips for improving your media coverage, talking points and a sample press release or media advisory here.
4. The power of numbers
The more companies that participate in Petal It Forward, the more successful it will be. Because it performs in cities around the world on the same day, it attracts major media attention for even greater coverage. Check out these success stories from Petal It Forward 2021 events.
Find more resources here and be sure to let SAF know about your 2022 event by registering, so SAF can track the number of attendees across the country and around the world.