Kate Spirgen
PORTRAIT BY AMBER SMITH

It seems like no matter where you go or what you do, no matter who you’re talking to or what you’re talking about, the conversation always comes back to COVID. Over the past few months, there has been an onslaught of bad news, scary developments and new things to worry about.

Even if you, your family and your business are doing well, there’s a cloud of uncertainty and distress hanging in the air. Vacations are canceled, school plans are up in the air and everyday stress is starting to take its toll.

Despite a boom in sales for many so far this year, no one knows what the rest of this year, and next year, will hold. At Cultivate’20 Virtual, Ken Fisher, CEO of AmericanHort, noted that the industry has seen about a 25% increase so far. But consumer spending will continue to be key and stubborn unemployment could make things difficult.

The recession that we’re currently experiencing isn’t like those in the past so it’s hard to know what will come next. As Louise Sheiner of the Brookings Institute said, this recession, unlike the Great Recession, is the result of external factors, rather than an internal economic imbalance. And the economic recovery will depend strongly on a vaccine and declining case numbers.

Your customers are no doubt dealing with the same fears and crisis fatigue that you are. Thankfully, the green industry is poised to provide much-needed optimism. One of the best things to do now is continue to emphasize the essentiality of the green industry. Dr. Charlie Hall said, “In the midst of a health crisis, there are many opportunities to promote the benefits of plants for human health and psychology.”

During the Great Recession, there were tons of great examples of marketing campaigns that seized on the opportunity to provide comfort, hope and a human touch. Remember Coke’s “Open Happiness” campaign from 2009? “Plant Happiness” is just as catchy.

Kate Spirgen
kspirgen@gie.net