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How media savvy florists leverage Petal It Forward

Bangor Floral in Bangor, Maine, distributed hundreds of bouquets last year during the Petal It Forward flower giveaway. It was a resounding success, not only drawing crowds of happy recipients but also the attention of four local television stations, says owner Joseph Langlois.

“It was our first year, and we knew nothing about how to do it,” Langlois recalls. “I just followed directions.”

Those directions, provided by the Society of American Florists for its annual Petal It Forward flower giveaway, include easy-to-follow tips for attracting media attention and other resources, such as templates for a press release and media advisory.

Other florists who have grabbed the attention of local media outlets during their Petal It Forward events echoed Langlois’ advice to adhere to the tips— all while letting their brand shine under the spotlight.

Think Visually
The media likes good visuals. While happy reactions and beautiful flowers are a staple of Petal It Forward, SAF recommends having signage and other visual elements for the giveaway. Many florists have matching T-shirts or aprons for those handing out bouquets to wear.

Langlois followed that advice and focused on styling the giveaway.

“We wanted to set the scene,” he says. “We had crates that offered dimension and height, colorful signs, wore store aprons to make it all visually appealing, more exciting and attractive. I wanted it to have an artisanal, hometown, personalized feel.”

Team Up
Eastern Floral, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, seeks to increase exposure for its Petal It Forward efforts by forming community partnerships, says Megen Kassuba, operations manager. Those partnerships are typically with a local nonprofit, but they have also successfully partnered with a television station.

Last year, Eastern Floral partnered with the local Mental Health Foundation and will be doing it again this year. Cross-promotion helps to create more awareness and buzz in the community leading up to the day, Kassuba says.

They’ve also worked with a local morning television show to have bouquets distributed live on air, showing the beauty of giving people free flowers.

Be Available
As Colby Relles of Relles Florist in Sacramento, California, takes over leadership of the business from his father, he wants to replicate how his father worked with the media for a recipe for success.

“He’s always been available, so I’m going to have to be available now,” he says.

That availability helped to bring four different news outlets to the store during last year’s Petal It Forward. But it isn’t just about availability one day of the year.

“They usually reach out on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, but also for different things like when gas prices go up,” Relles says. “It’s always good to get free advertising, always good to get our name out there to people. I think that is one thing that has made us last so long in the community, that our brand is out there.”

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