Plant Development Services, Inc. (PDSI) marked significant growth in engaging Millennial and Gen Z audiences in 2023 thanks to a multi-pronged marketing strategy that refocused the company’s branding and social media. Yielding double-digit growth on key social channels, a 110% increase in pageviews on EncoreAzalea.com, and a 15% increase in online sales, PDSI’s emerging audience outreach strategy is creating brand awareness and affinity among new generations. As data indicates that Gen Z is on track to outpace both Millennials and Gen X in homeownership, the 2022 National Gardening Survey reveals that these generations also show a rising interest in gardening, highlighting the significance of engaging consumers ages 18-44 early and often.
Photo credit Birmingham Botanic Gardens
“In today’s ever-changing landscape, understanding the preferences of younger generations is key to our success,” Kevin Northrop, VP Marketing. “Our strategic efforts have resulted in tangible growth across our brands, underscoring the importance of a Gen Z and millennial-focused strategy for moving the garden industry forward.”
Recognizing the evolving landscape of their audience, in 2022, PDSI undertook a rebranding of its celebrated Encore® Azalea collection to target younger consumers while maintaining the strong foundation built over the past 25 years. Drawing insights from comprehensive market research, the rebranding initiative unveiled a pop-culture-inspired perspective that captures the essence of new generations through a modern, playful lens with taglines like “Bingeworthy Blooms.” The campaign focuses not only on the beauty of the blooms but also the promise of their recurring splendor: enjoying bountiful blooms is as easy as hitting “watch next episode.”
PDSI’s social media engagement and reach also experienced significant growth in 2023 following a comprehensive realignment of its existing channels. Infusing new visual branding and concepts inspired by viral social content, PDSI’s social media footprint has notably expanded on Instagram, with Encore Azalea and Sunset® Plant Collection’s channels experiencing a 275% increase and a 104% increase in reach over the past year, respectively. This growth has been further catalyzed by strategic collaborations with influencers representing a diverse spectrum of geographic regions, gardening styles, and backgrounds, including Linda Vater, Misilla dela Llana, Erin Schanen, Sandra Mao, Claudia Weekes, and many others.
Photo Credit Encore Azalea, Photo Credit Sandra Mao
Finally, PDSI leveraged the post-pandemic excitement for in-person experiences to bring its plant collections face-to-face with new audiences. Beginning the year with a partnership to install the dynamic new Southern Living® Plant Collection Border at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, these new plants will offer the garden’s sizable youth and family audiences an inspiring fusion of design and horticulture.
Southern Living Plant Collection also engaged the nation’s top home/DIY content creators at the 2023 Haven Conference, marked by a trendy 1970s-inspired booth and a “Can You Dig It” tagline that alluded to the brand’s easygoing outdoor living aesthetic. At the booth’s plant-filled indoor “porchscape,” influencers were invited to discover new plant combinations, ask gardening questions, and learn top tips for photographing plants for an online audience. PDSI will continue to leverage in-person events as testing grounds for inventive concepts, horticultural creativity, and fresh messaging that resonates with emerging garden consumers.
PDSI remains steadfast in its commitment to encouraging and supporting new generations in embracing the beauty and benefits of gardening. The success of the company’s recent marketing transformations, evident in its growth and expanding online influence, underlines a dedication to inspiring these audiences in their gardening endeavors.