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Plan now for your Oct. 11 Petal It Forward event

The Society of American Florists 2017 Petal It Forward campaign date is set for Oct. 11 and according to Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of marketing, “now is the time to lay the groundwork for your local Petal It Forward 2017 event.”

PETAL-IT-FORWARD “Petal It Forward is a ‘random acts of kindness’ type of flower giveaway, where consumers on the street receive two flower bouquets or flowers — one to keep and one to share — to demonstrate the Rutgers University research that shows flowers make people happy,” Sparks said in a news release. “Recipients are asked to post a photo with flowers on social media with the hashtag #petalitforward — to spread the message about flower power.”

According to a Unilever study, a third of consumers choose to buy from companies that promote social messages, and according to Cone Communications, 74 percent of employees say it’s fulfilling when they get to do something good on the job.

“This program is easy for florists, wholesalers and growers to conduct in their local communities,” said Sparks. “You can make it as big or as small as you want. You position your business as a positive force in the community and that makes consumers feel good about you, which goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty. And you give a morale boost to employees who play a part.”

The program has grown substantially since its inception two years ago. The 2015 campaign garnered participation from industry members in 44 cities in 27 states and generated 213 million consumer impressions through traditional media coverage and social media. The 2016 campaign included 262 events in 234 cities in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, generating more that 328 million consumer impressions.

SAF provides members with step-by-step advice on program logistics, as well as easy-to-implement materials and resources at www.saf.org/petalitforward.