How your levy funds supported the industry’s COVID-19 marketing response

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Although COVID-19 presented many challenges, the nursery marketing program adapted to the change in consumer behaviours through the development of the COVID-19 campaign, continuing to promote the benefits of greenlife and how people could experience these benefits during lockdown and beyond.

Commencing in late March 2020, the campaign set out to support industry differently through activities undertaken by the Greener Spaces Better Places and Plant Life Balance programs, including:

  • The Government ‘Pulse Check’ research project
  • Dedicated public relations and media campaigns focusing on messages related to COVID-19
  • Dedicated Plant Life Balance digital and social media content
  • Development of resources dedicated to assisting retailers boost sales during and post-COVID-19

The campaigns were hugely successful with highlights including:

  • Over 100 urban greening practitioner attending a Greener Spaces Better Places webinar series
  • A media campaign with a reach of 15.6 million Australians
  • A social media campaign with a reach 3.2 million Australians reached an increase in website visits of 110%

Keep reading for more details on the COVID-19 campaign.

‘Pulse Check’ research

The aim of the Government ‘Pulse Check’ research was to map out attitudes, concerns and needs of industry in the context of COVID-19.

Through local government surveys and interviews, the research set out to establish:

  • The state of urban greening programs
  • Key challenges to maintaining them
  • Immediate opportunities that exist to support greenspace professionals

Key research findings included:

  • 60% of respondents said that Urban Greening activities such as tree planting and maintenance and projects such as new parks are considered essential
  • 40% of respondents are receiving forms of funding to undertake urban greening in their local government area
  • 87% of respondents have noticed a positive shift in community attitudes toward urban green space

Throughout May, Greener Spaces Better Places held three webinars to present the key insights from the research. The webinars were attended by key industry stakeholders from the state NGIs and GIA, broader industry members and the Living Network, attracting over 100 urban greening experts and practitioners.

Access the full ‘Pulse Check’ research report HERE.

Media and PR campaign

Greener Spaces Better Places and Plant Life Balance programs housed the dedicated media campaign, promoting the importance of weaving greenlife into a COVID-19 world.

Throughout this campaign, consumers were presented with a curated series of resources to inspire people to make their homes greener, and where permitted, to spend time in public green space. Best-practice case studies, expert home-greening advice as well as findings from the ‘Pulse Check’ research, were also shared throughout the campaign.

Overall the dedicated media campaign was a success, reaching 15.6 million plant-lovers, with features in major titles such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and ABC Radio.

Digital and social media

The Plant Life Balance platform was utilised throughout the campaign, developing and presenting content via their blog and Instagram and Facebook pages, such as tips and tricks, how-to guides and video interviews.

Content shared online aimed to promote and share information on:

  • The importance of greenlife for mental health and wellbeing
  • Home-grown produce
  • Gardening activities
  • Physical health and happiness of gardening and getting outdoors
  • How to connect with those who are experiencing the benefits of greenlife during lockdown

With 3.2 million Australians reached and a site visitation boost of 110%, the campaign achieved solid digital and social media reach.

Retailer support

COVID-19 placed significant pressures on retailers to maintain sales, which was recognised as a key challenge for many during these unprecedented times.

During lockdown, the nursery industry identified an opportunity to promote and encourage greater uptake of greenlife and gardening at home.

To support nursery retailers in managing the pressures caused by COVID-19, Plant Life Balance developed resources fit for lockdown and beyond which aimed to help businesses improve their marketing strategies.

A web page guide, downloadable PDF and case study videocast were produced and can be accessed HERE.

Put in place to help the nursery industry remain productive and profitable during COVD-19, the campaign aimed to help businesses find and retain momentum through the creation of a suite of resources that can continue to be utilised by the wider industry.

Looking ahead

COVID-19 will continue to shape how we live, work and socialise in and around our homes forever.

This will be explored further in the development of the Plant Life Balance 2021 Plant Trend Report, in order to continue supporting Australians through their COVID-19 journey and map out the trends and impact of greenlife during lockdown and beyond.

The ‘Industry extension and development of Plant Life Balance’ (NY18005) project is funded by Hort Innovation using nursery research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government.

The ‘Understanding the attitudes to urban green space for government and business audiences’ (NY18006) project is funded by Hort Innovation using nursery industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.