ALEXANDRIA, VA: As a winter storm bore down on the East Coast before Valentine’s Day, many reporters embraced a feel-good angle that benefited the entire floral industry: local florists’ can-do spirit. “Overall, local florists looked like heroes” in this year’s holiday news coverage, said Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of marketing.
WGHP Fox-8 inNorth Carolina reported on a Lexington florist making deliveries via tractor. Love Blossoms owner Tiffany Wood explains: “We’re not letting anything stop us. We’re getting our flowers out one way or another.”
Nic Faitos of Starbright Floral Design in New York created a sense of excitement and underscored his staff’s determination and professionalism when he talked to Fox 5 News NY: “We’re trying to be as prepared as possible. Hiring extra delivery people at the very last minute. We brought in 100 delivery people. We are going to push out every delivery as possible.”
In Washington, D.C., Rick Lee, owner of Lee’s Flower and Card, made the dramatic mid-Atlantic weather seem like just another day for a seasoned florist – and sent the message to prospective customers that he was ready for their business – when he told WUSA-9: “Been here for almost 70 years, we always come through for our customers … we’re ready to do it.”
Maris Angolia, AAF, president of Karin’s Florist Inc. in Vienna, Va., stayed positive by emphasizing her resources – her team and her snow-ready vehicles – when she told NBC 4 Washington: “Everybody who could, stayed close and we all came in together.”
WGHP Fox-8 inNorth Carolina reported on a Lexington florist making deliveries via tractor. Tiffany Wood, the industrious Love Blossoms owner, made a lasting impression with viewers when she explained: “We’re not letting anything stop us. We’re getting our flowers out one way or another.”
In a story headlined “Florists Not Worried About Snow,” a Humphreys Flowers delivery driver in Chattanooga, Tenn., played up the fun of the holiday when he told WTVC News Channel 9 how much he enjoyed his work: “I enjoy meeting the people and seeing the expressions on their face. [They say] ‘What is this for?’ ‘Who did this?’ … The girls all flitter around at the bank or wherever when you bring them in,” said Smith, who continued saying the girls ask, “Is that for me? Is that for me?”
“All of the great stories we saw are a testament to the fact that when the industry remains positive in its comments to the media, it results in positive stories,” said Sparks, who presented PR Boot Camp to florists at SAF’s One-Day Profit Blast on Jan. 26 in Baltimore. In PR Boot Camp, Sparks emphasizes taking the “Pollyanna approach” to media interviews: “No matter what the situation, ‘find the glad in it,’” she said. “That’s the message you want to convey.”
The floral industry also came out on top in the CNBC story “Major storm may be a Valentine’s Day buzzkill.” The story quoted Sparks and Atlanta florist Sherry Moon of Buckhead Wright’s Florist, who came across as a prepared, cheerful pro (just the kind of person a customer wants to support). Moon arrived for work four hours early Wednesday, with an air mattress in tow. “I know how busy it’s going to be, and I’m prepared to do what’s got to be done,” she said. Sparks echoed the sentiment, telling CNBC: “There’s always going to be weather somewhere in the middle of February. Florists have all dealt with this at one point or another.”
Along with CNBC, SAF answered questions from about three-dozen reporters during the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, including many from major news organizations. Among them: USA Today; NBC’s “Today” show; Fox News; First Business News; CNN; ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer”; “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams”; Bloomberg Businessweek; Reuters; Washington Post; Boston Business Journal; Arizona Republic News and the Omaha World-Herald.
Nearly 80 news stories referenced SAF in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, according to media monitoring and analytics by Meltwater. Reporters turned to SAF for weather-related answers and information on all things roses, such as numbers sold, places grown, color meanings, supply and prices. “Every indication we have gotten in the last two days has been that florists are open and making deliveries,” Sparks is quoted in several snow-related stories. “They are doing everything in their power to take care of their customers’ deliveries – lots of extra delivery drivers and four-wheel-drive vehicles.”
In addition, SAF’s consumer websites were popular resources for the media and consumers during the three weeks leading up to the holiday. Combined, AboutFlowers.com, AboutFlowersBlog.com and NationalFloristDirectory.com received more than 100,700 unique visitors (compared to 57,280 during the three-weeks prior to Jan. 24 and the 89,858 unique visits to the sites on average each month).