With a slowing of plant sales growth (Hodges et al., 2009), competition among companies for consumers’ dollars has heightened. Sluggish demand indicates a maturing market, and an influx of brands is likely to occur at that time in an effort to differentiate products from competitors and enhance the perceived product value (Kotler and Keller, 2009). Branding helps to create the perception of added value and/or distinguishes a company’s products from competitors’. Differentiation and enhancing perceived value through branding may be fruitful actions for the company striving to increase sales. In horticulture, anecdotal evidence suggests that plant branding appears to be more prolific in the 21st century.
With >70% of all buying decisions made at the point of purchase, marketers increased their in-store marketing budgets from ≈3% in 2004 to ≈8% in 2010 (Ståhlberg and Maila, 2012). Marketers also use brands, which facilitate consumers’ buying decisions. In the mainstream marketing literature, some evidence suggests that consumers first identify necessary information, before it is cognitively processed, to arrive at a purchase decision (Lin and Chen, 2006; Olson and Jacoby, 1972). Part of that information identified and processed in the purchase decision includes brands. Therefore, it may be important for plant producers and retailers to know which pieces of information at the point of purchase, especially regarding plant brands, influence consumers in their purchase decisions. Although there have been some studies on state or regional brands (Collart et al., 2010; Whery et al., 2007), we still have little information regarding the impact that brands have on consumer perceptions or intentions to purchase plants. Therefore, a better understanding of consumer perceptions of plant branding could help growers, wholesalers, and retailers better manage the branded and generic products they grow, merchandise, and more effectively market products to consumers.
A maturing of the green industry (Hodges et al., 2009) has included weaker product demand particularly among younger aged consumers (Dennis and Behe, 2007). In light of industry concerns about this reduced demand (Hodges et al., 2009) and, at the same time, changing American demographics (Drucker, 2002), a more precise understanding of consumer perceptions of products is helpful to all marketers. Baby Boomers (most typically described as born between 1950 and 1965) have long been a core customer group for live plants (Dennis and Behe, 2007). However, younger age cohorts do not appear to be purchasing plants to the same extent, causing industry concern (Butterfield and Baldwin, 2013). More information is needed about the perceptions, attitudes, and behavior of younger potential customers to attract them to the products offered by horticultural professionals. Do younger potential consumers view the branded herb and vegetable transplants in the same way as Baby Boomers?
American Marketing AssociationDictionary. 2014. 27 July 2015. <https://www.ama.org/resources/Pages/Dictionary.aspx>
Anonymous2012Introducing Boomers: Marketing’s most valuable generation. The Nielsen Company and BoomAgers LLC. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://boomagers.com/sites/boomagers/files/Boomers_-_Marketing%27s_Most_Valuable_Generation.pdf>.
Anonymous2013American in 2013: Focus on the generations. Urban Land Institute. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://uli.org/research/centers-initiatives/terwilliger-center-for-housing/research/community-survey/>.
Anonymous2014Outlook on the millennial consumer. Hartman group. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://www.hartman-group.com/publications/reports/outlook-on-the-millennial-consumer-2014>.
BeheB.K.CampbellB.L.HallC.R.KhachatryanH.DennisJ.H.YueC.2013Consumer preferences for local and sustainable plant production characteristicsHortScience48200208
BeheB.HardyJ.BartonS.BrookerJ.FernandezT.HallC.HicksJ.HinsonR.KnightP.McNielR.PageT.RoweB.SafleyC.SchutzkiR.2005aLandscape plant material, size, and design sophistication increase perceived home valueJ. Environ. Hort.233127133
BeheB.K.WaldenR.M.DuckM.CreggB.KelleyK.LinebergerR.D.2005bConsumer preferences for and cost of production of tabletop Christmas treesHortScience40409412
ButterfieldB.BaldwinI.2013National gardening survey. National Gardening Association Williston VT
ChandonP.HutchinsonJ.BradlowE.YoungS.2009Does in-store marketing work? Effects of the number and position of shelf facings on brand attention and evaluation at the point of purchaseJ. Mktg.736117
ChandonP.WansinkB.2002When are stockpiled products consumed faster? A convenience-salience framework of post-purchase consumption incidence and quantityJ. Mktg. Res.393321335
ChrzanK.OrmeB.2000An overview and comparison of design strategies for choice-based conjoint analysis. Sawtooth Software Res. Paper Ser. Sequim WA
ClementJ.KristensenT.GrønhaugK.2013Understanding consumers’ in-store visual perception: The influence of package design features on visual attentionJ. Retailing Consum. Serv.20234239
CollartA.J.PalmaM.A.HallC.R.2010Branding awareness and willingness to pay associated with the Texas Superstar and Earth-Kind brands in TexasHortScience4512261231
DunnW.1993The baby bust: A generation comes of age. Houghton-Mifflin New York NY
HartiganJ.A.1975Clustering algorithms. John Wiley and Sons New York NY
HodgesA.PalmaM.HallC.2009Trade flows and marketing practices within the U.S. nursery industry 2008. Southern Coop. Ser. Bul. 411. ISBN 1-58161-411
HolmbergI.2002Living trademarks p. 83–92. In: L. Holger and I. Holmberg (eds.). Identity: Trademarks logotypes and symbols. National Museum Raster Forlag Stockholm Sweden
JacobyJ.OlsonJ.C.HaddockR.A.1971Price, brand name and product composition characteristics as determinants of perceived qualityJ. Appl. Psychol.55570579
JacobyJ.SpellerD.E.Kohn-BerningC.A.1974Brand choice behavior as a function of information load: Replication and extensionJ. Consum. Res.113342
KapfererJ.N.2012The new strategic brand management: Advanced insights and strategic thinking. 5th ed. Kogan Page London
KardesF.R.CronleyM.L.KellarisJ.J.PosavacS.S.2004The role of selective information processing in price-quality inferenceJ. Consum. Res.312368374
KellerK.L.2013Strategic brand management: Building measuring and managing brand equity. 4th ed. Pearson Education New Jersey NJ
KotlerP.KellerK.2009Marketing management. 13th ed. Pearson Education Ltd. Essex England
KrippendorffK.2005The semantic turn: A new foundation for design. CRC Press Boca Raton FL
KuhfeldW.F.2010Marketing research methods in SAS. SAS Institute Inc. Cary NC
LinL.Y.ChenC.S.2006The influence of the country-of-origin image, product knowledge and product involvement on consumer purchase decisions: An empirical study of insurance and catering services in TaiwanJ. Consum. Mktg.235248265
MasonS.StarmanT.LinebergerR.D.BeheB.K.2008Consumer preferences for price, color harmony and care information of container gardensHortScience43380384
OlsonJ.C.JacobyJ.1972Cue utilization in the quality perception process p. 167–179. In: M. Venkatesan (ed.). SV–Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research. Association for Consumer Research Chicago IL
RihnA.YueC.BeheB.HallC.2012Generations X and Y attitudes towards fresh flowers as gifts: Implications for the floral industryHortScience46736743
RobertsJ.A.ManolisC.2000Baby boomers and busters: An exploratory investigation of attitudes toward marketing, advertising and consumerismJ. Consum. Mktg.17481497
SAS Institute Inc2014SAS/STAT® 9.4 User’s Guide Cary NC. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/statug/63962/HTML/default/viewer.htm#statug_factor_sect006.htm>.
SimonH.1974How big is a chunk?: By combining data from several experiments, a basic human memory unit can be identified and measuredScience183482488
StåhlbergM.MailaV.2012Shopper marketing: How to increase purchase decisions at the point of sale. Kogan Limited Philadelphia PA
WheryR.H.KelleyK.M.BerghageR.D.SellmerJ.C.2007Capturing consumer interests in developing a state plant promotional programHortScience42574580
WollaegerH.M.GetterK.L.BeheB.K.2015Consumer preferences for traditional, neonicotinoid-free, bee-friendly, or biological control pest management practices on floriculture cropsHortScience50721732
YueC.DennisJ.BeheB.HallC.CampbellB.LopezR.2012Investigating consumer preference for organic, local, or sustainable plantsHortScience46610615