February 21, 2023 / Miles Marmo
marketing Indoor House Plants | Mental health, style, and finding the right plant
When Costa Farms came to us with the idea to take their B2B business to consumers we knew there was a need to understand where the category growth was coming from. Indoor house plants are a staple in the home improvement space. Why did the pandemic drive the category into triple digit growth? We can thank the health and wellness needs with the housing market for that.
Understanding where the growth was coming from would help inform Costa Farms’ approach to the market. Two main insights stuck out to us before we started to understand how a consumer went about purchasing a house plant. 1. Research showed a direct correlation to house plants purchased alongside it becoming increasingly difficult to purchase or own a home. We tracked the rise of house plant purchases alongside the rise of home costs in the U.S. What this told us was even though a consumer couldn’t purchase a home themselves the desire to create a unique space was still important. 2. The pandemic furthered a focus on wellbeing. The mental and physical tolls isolation and COVID had pushed a desire to create a healthier environment. During that time consumers turned to plants to bring clean air, tend to a living thing, or just fill a void that existed. By addressing where this influx in purchase behavior was coming from would provide us the opportunity to market house plants like they hadn’t been done before
The researchOnce we were able to recognize where the category existed, we continued to understand the emotional and psychological reasons behind the purchase behavior. Wellbeing - MRI/Simmons data began to provide context as to why consumers were looking to plants for the emotional benefits. Studies show green space has a direct correlation to happiness and calmness. While that drove some consumers to purchase, others looked at plants as a means of nurturing something without the responsibility of an animal or person. The need to put that nurturing effort someone made plants a perfect companion. Source - 1 & 2* How Consistent Are Consumers in Their Decisions? Investigation of Houseplant PurchasingAesthetic – Younger audiences began using plants as a means of self-expression, even turning some into collectors. Isolation and rising rent/mortgages made plants a perfect accessory to customize and transform a space. This meant consumers were looking at plants as a value for their money when making their space unique. Knowledge sources – As consumers became more engaged with indoor house plants continued maintenance and research became increasingly important. Social media influencers and platforms play a big role in making continued education accessible to everyone. Consumers actively sought out individuals who shared similar views, similar or aspirational aesthetics, and made the caring for plants more approachable. Source - Consumer Response to Novel Indoor Foliage Plant Attributes: Evidence from a Conjoint Experiment and Gaze Analysis
Developing consumer segmentation and approach
The indoor house plant category had yet to find a single champion to address how consumer behavior had shifted over the last 3 years. It was our understanding that brands hadn’t identified the types of consumers that were purchasing house plants and what their drivers were. Our research began to clearly define 4 audience segments, all who purchased indoor house plants for different reasons. Breaking out each audience allowed us to identify the key decision factors and how Costa Farms could solve for them.
We created a campaign initiative “All Thumbs Are Green” that provided brand messaging guidelines. Those guidelines, visual and messaging specific, were applied to each of the four key segments to drive initial brand awareness and considerations. From awareness to purchase intent – Digital-first tactics allowed us to not only deliver customized messaging for reach different target audience but learn and adapt as audiences engaged. Costa Farms was an unknown entity, and we needed the brand to be defined within our four audience segments. We created a set style that could be used as overall brand messaging, and applied to each individual audience and their needs. Social listening tools and consumer engagement continued to give us insight into what was working and what needed to be adjusted as we continued to hone in audience messaging. Rebranding – With a brand archetype defined, we looked at the brand visuals on how to create something that captured the history of Costa Farms and aligned with industry trends. We evolved the colors to help the brand stand out in retail locations like Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowe’s, with visuals that modernized the aesthetic for those looking to customize their living space.