Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the nursery marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and support the use of Australian nursery products, under the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2020/21.
Plant Life Balance
The Plant Life Balance campaign is designed to get more Australians buying more green life for their homes. It’s the lead consumer program for the nursery industry, and 2020/21 marked its fourth full year. Plant Life Balance combines fashion and styling for homes with science that focuses on the two fundamental benefits of including more plants in the home environment: air quality and wellbeing.
The campaign uses digital tools and social media to connect with a target audience aged between 25 to 35, to help build their confidence and inspire them to get more ‘plant life balance’ in their lives. They are digitally connected, socially savvy and fashion conscious. They are experienced at keeping their plants alive and what’s more, they are emotionally attached to their plants.
SOCIAL AND DIGITAL PROMOTION
The Plant Life Balance Facebook (www.facebook.com/plantlifebalance) and Instagram (@myplantlifebalance) reached over 1.5 million plant-loving consumers through organic content and advertising. Engagement averages across both channels remained good, with some posts garnering up to over 3,000 likes and hundreds of comments, well exceeding industry averages.
The Plant Life Balance blog (www.myplantlifebalance.com.au) and the e-newsletter consumers can sign up to through the site continued to drive engagement. The program has positioned itself as the go-to for media seeking content and comment. This meant that during 2020/21, there were consistent in-bound enquiries which then became media stories.
Media campaigns generated in total 188 pieces of media coverage with more than 29.4 million in reach - highlight media placement with major national publishers; Are Media in Homes to Love, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, news.com.au, Better Homes and Gardens, SBS, House & Garden, KIIS FM, Who Weekly, and key industry publications such as Your Levy at Work and Gardening Responsibly.
THE TREND REPORT
The 2021 Plant Trend Report surveyed plant-buying Australians to gather insights into how the pandemic influenced plant purchasing behaviour, current trends and the impact of these on future preferences in 2020. This research was gathered via a nationally representative survey, interviews with industry experts, and a literature and cultural review of over 100 sources. The report was launched to a mixture of consumer lifestyle and horticulture media, as well as industry stakeholders.
This year’s KPIs were surpassed, with the trend report reaching a potential 5.8 million plant buying Australians with a total of 47 media clips. Clips ran in Domain, Sydney Morning Herald, News Corp’s Body & Soul, WA Today and .6PR Radio (WA), Better Homes and Gardens, ABC Hobart and NT News and key trade and industry titles Your Levy At Work and Floral Daily.
In 2020/21, 49 blog articles (4 per month, x 12, plus one extra for the Plant Trend Report) were developed for the Plant Life Balance blog and socialised via the Plant Life Balance social channels. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular articles was the Trend Report article Five Plant Trends to Embrace in 2021, with 4427 page views to date. In 2020/21, the highest trafficked article was Safe Indoor Plants for Kids with a total of 4739 views. This is consistent with the findings from the Trend Report that as more time is spent at home due to the pandemic, more and more people invested in plants to support a more appropriate work, recovery and play setting. They turned to Plant Life Balance to source truth on the best plants to achieve those outcomes.
The most popular articles (by traffic) continue to be in the plant and culture pillars, with articles focusing on plant “tips and grow-how”, closely followed by wellbeing and mental health driving the most traffic to the website. Visitation has increased by almost 150 per cent, with over 33K visitors to the blog in the last quarter of this financial year, largely driven by the Trend Report launch.
Greener Spaces Better Places
Greener spaces make urban places better. They create places that are more appealing to work, play and relax in and help create sense of place and community within busy lives. They are good for health and wellbeing, cool cities, reduce air pollutants, regulate water flow, lower carbon emissions and even increase property value. Yet green space is often ignored when plans are drawn, and concrete poured.
Originally the 202020 Vision program, Greener Spaces Better Places is a national initiative that brings together academia, business, government, community groups and the green industry to share knowledge and find new ways to work together to make sure that as cities and towns grow, so too do green spaces.
This program engages consumers and communities, aligning with the increasing green movement across Australia. The program has created and uses a panel of experts called the Living Network who help communicate the benefits and value of green life in the urban environment. Levy-funded research outcomes have underpinned this marketing approach, with the program remaining a priority focus in leading and supporting activities that drive increased demand for green life products and services. The Greener Spaces Better Places program has enabled the nursery industry to maintain its position as the go-to industry providing beneficial solutions for how people interact with nature to improve their lives, health and environments.
As anyone working in the urban greening space will know all too well, there’s no shortage of information, tools, resources and case studies out there that can help plan, manage, protect and enhance green cover. The trouble, however, is that this information is often disparate and incomplete – making it difficult to access the most appropriate tools, resources and best practice examples. That’s why existing materials have been collected and brought together – including tools, guides, publications and case studies –in a single place called the Urban Greeners' Resource Hub.
This Hub has been curated following consultation with a panel of urban greening implementation, research and technical experts from across Australia. The Hub is the third most visited webpage on the Greener Spaces Better Places site, which without paid media has attracted over 500 visits to the site since it was launched in April 2021 through to June 2021.
The marketing campaigns presence on LinkedIn continued to grow with record sign-up levels, taking the group to over 3,150 top individuals working in urban greening in Australia.
THE PRESS OFFICE
Running an ‘always on’, proactive and reactive media function for Greener Spaces Better Places ensured the value of more trees and plants was always in the spotlight. It included the daily monitoring, listening, evaluation and reporting of media conversations for intel and opportunities.
This resulted in over 210 media articles and/or interviews with an estimated reach of over 7.9 million impressions (opportunities to see the content) across urban greening decision-makers. It included prestige pieces through major media outlets such as ABC, Courier Mail, 6PR Radio (WA), The Canberra Times and key trade and industry titles such as Outdoor Design Source, Hort Journal and The Fifth Estate.
Management of the Living Network advocate program is also run via the Press Office, which you can learn more about at www.greenerspacesbetterplaces.com.au/network.
CONSUMER USAGE AND ATTITUDES RESEARCH (NY20002)
This research delivered consumer insights that will continue to help drive demand in the nursery industry. By providing a greater understanding of consumers’ usage and attitudes towards nursery products, these insights will be used to improve knowledge and effectiveness of future marketing activities.
The study found that the nursery category is in good health and poised for growth. The study found a high level of consumer participation in the category with 65 per cent of Australian adults having purchased a plant for indoors or outdoor gardens in the last 12 months. Despite this high level of penetration, there is considerable opportunity to further increase penetration and frequency of plant purchasing. Consumer responses to questions about expected future spend show a strong sense of momentum in the market, with more expecting growth in spending than expecting a decline. This pattern was identified among both those who had purchased plants in the last 12 months and those who had not.
A consumer segmentation model was developed using responses to questions about the category and involvement and purchase behaviour of indoor and outdoor plants. A total of eight segments were identified, from which, six offer opportunities for growth. The six segments are:
- Enthusiasts (6 per cent of the market = $270M retail value) - passionate plant people who are heavy buyers in the category of both indoor and outdoor plants, are knowledgeable about gardening and enjoy sharing their love of plants with others through gifting and advice.
- Garden Proud (17 per cent of the market = $451M retail value) - older homeowners who prioritise their outdoor gardens over indoor plants and greatly value growing their own produce.
- Early Bloomers (8 per cent of the market = $205M retail value) - moderate to high purchasers of both indoor and outdoor plants who are actively building their knowledge and confidence in the category and have a passion for DIY projects.
- Small Space Curators (16 per cent of the market = $261M retail value) - people living in apartments and medium density dwellings who are interested in indoor plants and outdoor potted plants for balconies and courtyards to improve the decor and look of their home.
- Dabblers (17 per cent of the market = $168M retail value) - people who want to have a nice looking garden but are not particularly interested or enthusiastic about spending time tending to plants and gardens.
- Plant Curious (7 per cent of the market = $12M retail value) - underconfident and inexperienced people who haven’t purchased plants recently despite being more interested in plants than other nonbuyers.
WHERE WILL ALL THE TREES BE? (NY19001)
In October 2020, Greener Spaces Better Places launched the third iteration of Australia’s first national benchmarking report: Where Will All The Trees Be? Led by RMIT University, Greener Spaces Better Places and funded by Hort Innovation, the aim of the project is to offer a clear visual understanding of what our streets, places and suburbs are likely to look like in the future depending on how many mature trees they will (or won’t) have this starts a conversation on the barriers and opportunities for creating leafy, resilient, healthy and prosperous urban places to live, work and play.
As part of the methodology, a survey was developed for all urban Local Government Areas (LGAs) across Australia exploring four key areas: community, governance, resources and data. These findings will be combined with a paired-sample i-Tree analysis to understand the average changes that have occurred to tree canopy and urban greening since the last national benchmarking report Where should all the trees go? and packaged into a final report.
This report provides a snapshot on the state of urban greening across the country - but more importantly, it identifies where tree canopy is decreasing, increasing as well as identifying some of the main barriers / challenges and enablers are of urban greening in Australia.
The media campaign generated over 170 media clips reaching over 5.7 million - highlight media coverage included The Advertiser, Herald Sun, news.com.au, ABC Radio Brisbane and The West Australian, plus key trade titles including The Fifth Estate, Your Floral Daily and Architecture and Design, and numerous articles with council (LGA) partners.
The good news: urban forestry management is now the norm across most urban councils, with 88 per cent of local councils reporting that they have an Urban Forest Strategy or are developing one. However, these urban forest strategies tend to focus on public land greening, and simply having one doesn’t mean it’s effective. Combined with the finding that 54 per cent of local councils are experiencing high or very high challenges to maintain or grow green cover, there is still some work to be done.
Across the board, respondents said that whilst they felt well-equipped with tools to target planting and maintenance of trees on public land, effective community engagement programs to build support for the urban forest were limited. The capacity to ensure that green cover can grow as our cities do depends on the community’s attitude toward trees, the council's ability to plant more and to protect what they have.
After 7 briefings in each state to 237 local government urban greening professionals, robust discussions were had about the Local Government Survey results and the challenges and opportunities in urban forestry. The purpose of these discussions was to gain insights into the challenges and opportunities in urban greening for local governments. In general, across Australia these are the three main desires of LGA urban greening professionals:
- An overarching community education program for urban private land greening;
- Partnerships between LGAs with their State Government to create a shared and efficient collection of agreed metrics to monitor and measure canopy and vegetation data to drive continuous improvement in urban forestry outcomes; and
- Regular communication between LGA urban greening professionals to share knowledge and insights.
In addition to these three general insights, nuanced insights for each state have been collected from LGA urban greening professionals. These were presented to industry as a one-page reference toolkit.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund