Whether you are a retailer or a grower, your business can help better society whilst increasing your profitability. Directing royalties from plant labels to charitable campaigns is only one form of cause marketing commonly used in the greenlife industry. However, there are many other ways in which your business can make a difference.
Directing royalties from plant labels to charitable campaigns is one form of cause marketing commonly used in the greenlife industry. However, there are many other ways that retailers and growers can make a difference.
Cause marketing essentially occurs when a business does well by doing good through its promotional campaigns1. Cause marketing may help your business to demonstrate corporate social responsibility, improve its corporate image, build a relationship with your community, increase brand loyalty, boost employee morale and enable you to stand out from the competition2.
Royalties from plant labels are helping greenlife businesses make a difference to some very important causes.
Since 2009, Oasis Horticulture has raised over $250,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation from the sale of its Candy Pink, Bright Pink and Deep Pink Princettia varieties. David Jakobs, Chief Executive Officer, says that this partnership is a good fit for Oasis Horticulture, given a large percentage of its consumer base are female. “Also, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is primarily a research and development-focused organisation as is Oasis Horticulture, although our R&D is in the breeding of plant material,” says David.
Ramm Botanicals raises cancer awareness through sales of Mandevilla ‘Aloha Pink Star’. “Ramm has chosen to support the Cancer Council and specifically Pink Ribbon because our staff contingent is made up of over 80 per cent women,” says Ryan Weber, Ramm’s Managing Director, “Currently the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in women is 1 in 8. We hope that our donations will benefit all women faced with this diagnosis.” Ramm also donates ten cents to Beyond Blue for every Senecio ‘Trident Blue’ label sold in Australia. “Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time regardless of their age, gender or background,” says Ryan.
Mother’s Day Princettia Bowl Image: Oasis Horticulture
Mandevilla ‘Aloha Pink Perfection’ label shows support for the Cancer Council and the Pink Ribbon campaign. Image: Ramm
Mandevilla ‘Aloha Pink Perfection’ Image: Ramm
Senecio ‘Trident Blue’ label shows support for Beyond Blue. Image: Facey’s Nursery
Facey’s Nursery is currently redeveloping its variegated Corymbia maculata ‘Ribbons of Hope’ PBR to be re-released onto the market in 2023. Fifty cents from every plant sold will then be donated to breast cancer research through the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Pink Ribbon campaign. “Royalties from plants sales attached to label is the most seamless way to support a good cause,” says Raelene Trimble, Director.
Other ways to market a cause
There are many other ways that growers and retailers can support a charitable cause, including:
Point-of-sale: Encourage your customers to donate to a charitable cause when paying for their purchases, e.g. for gift-wrapping. Offer a “buy one, give one” program. Reward participating customers with a coupon redemption
Licensing: Pay to use a not-for-profit organisation’s ‘brand’ on your product
Message promotion: Use your business’ resources to promote a cause-forward message, e.g. encouraging your customers to act through consumer pledge drives or “Proud supporter” campaigns
Employee engagement: Allow your employees to volunteer their time for social good, e.g. tree planting, or to salary sacrifice for a cause
Digital programs: Use web and social media-based services to promote and collect donations3, 4
When re-released into the market in 2023, Corymbia maculata ‘Ribbons of Hope’ PBR will support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Image: Facey’s Nursery
If your business would like to support a charitable cause, consider the following tips:
Choose a cause that suits your values and/or has a natural synergy with greenlife
“It is really a bit of soul searching to find the appropriate cause that links genuinely into your own DNA in your business,” says David, “Make sure your strategy is aligned to something that is sustainable.” David believes that community gardens are an excellent match for greenlife businesses, given both seek to encourage gardening. Oasis Horticulture is a Corporate Partner in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Community Greening program. Twice monthly, Oasis Horticulture donates plant, vegetable and herb seedlings to this program which is then distributed to a range of community gardens across New South Wales.
Do your homework first
Sonia Cameron is a Director of Australian Perennial Growers’ (APG), who grows the Gallipoli Rosemary in support of the Avenues of Honour living war memorial project. “Once you have signed an agreement, you will be accountable,” says Sonya, “Higher overheads and administration are costs associated with some charities. How much money goes to the cause itself? Beware; do your research.”
Pick the right plant (or product!)
Select a variety that will grow well across the area you want to reach. Also, consider the time it will take to get this plant to market and therefore to provide a return on your investment. “Whatever plant you choose, make sure it is commercially viable and popular,” says Sonja, “However, do not throw a good plant under the bus!’”
Connect with an event
“Link (your cause marketing) to an event,” says David, who with the National Breast Cancer Foundation markets Princettia varieties in time for Mother’s Day and Christmas gift-giving.
Promote the cause
Create shareable content and materials for use at the point of sale both on product (label, sleeves) and off product (shelf strips, websites, product catalogues, social media, press releases). “Many local newspapers are desperate for content; how can you help fill this gap?” asks Sonja.