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The Green Industry – Purveyors of Quality of Life

August 29, 2018

The Green Industry – Purveyors of Quality of Life

Recent talk about rising interest rates both here in Canada and in the United States may have made you wonder about the impact of economic conditions on your business.

Last January, Dr. Charlie Hall, the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University presented a keynote address at the Landscape Ontario Congress which we were fortunate enough to attend.  He has graciously allowed us to share some of his insights and materials here.

Given the uncertainty of predicting economic trends, Dr. Hall explained that consumers will continue to buy the items that positively affect their quality of life (QOL) regardless of the state of the economy.  As an example, during the 2008 recession, spending on pets was maintained while other retail spending fell 10-15% (Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). “People, regardless of age or any other demographic characteristic, want things that enhance the quality of their lives,” he said.

We are fortunate to work in an industry that has a huge positive impact on quality of life.  Our July guest post described biophilia and biophilic design trends – yet another example of the population’s increasing awareness of the value of green environments as they contribute to our health and wellness and that of our environment.

So how can you position your business to take advantage of consumers’ focus on quality of life?  Your offering (or value proposition, to use the business jargon) must provide value, be relevant, and be authentic. 

Value is created when customers perceive your offering to be worth more than the sum of its parts - that is when there is a gap between the price they pay and what they perceive they have received.  Of course, there also has to be a gap between the actual costs incurred in delivering the offering and the price it is offered at – this is your profit.  But only if the perceived value is even greater will you continue to grow.  The perceived value will include the functional/instrumental value of the product or service, the experiential/hedonistic value, the symbolic/expressive value, and the cost/sacrifice value.

It must be relevant to your customers' wants, desires, and needs.  This is where knowing your customers becomes critical.

Finally, being authentic means staying true to who you are, what you do, and who you serve.  Think Apple, or Anthropologie.  Consumers are becoming more and more in tune with authenticity and are very quick to see through any obfuscation or point out any inconsistencies.

Blog post by: Tanya Radhakrishna, Co-Founder and COO at Gardenzzz

With sincere thanks to Dr. Charlie Hall of Texas A&M University