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Interview with Claudia Broch, Orchid Ambassador in the Netherlands

Claudia Broch, born and raised in Westland, moved to Leiden six years ago to experience city life, and moved to Leiderdorp last year. As a horticulturist’s daughter, she certainly inherited green fingers and although her first job – after her bachelor’s degree in Communication – was outside the sector, she made the switch after a few years to the horticultural sector. After being an ambassador for Anthurium for almost six years, she has been part of the Orchid Netherlands team since January to promote our beautiful orchids. 

What does Orchidee NL stand for?
Orchid Netherlands is a business initiative that embraces all orchid growers and breeders and addresses non-competitive issues. On the one hand, we focus on quality and sustainability and on the other hand, on promotion. I am involved in promotion. This is divided into Shopper Activations, Trade Marketing, and Marketing & Communication. With shopper activations, consumers are enticed into the store through targeted promotions and communications. Trade marketing involves working from a category role with supply chain partners to create a multi-year commitment to give orchids a better shelf position. The Marketing & Communication department keeps orchids continuously top-of-mind with consumers through promotional and awareness campaigns.  

What goal does Orchid Netherlands want to achieve?
Orchid Netherlands was founded with the aim of jointly promoting pot orchids. We do this through various marketing activities, mainly in the core countries of the Netherlands, Germany, England and France, where we recently launched a new awareness campaign. The core is the positive emotion evoked by orchids: “The purest form of happiness.” With this campaign, we show that the orchid is not only a stylish addition to your home; you also experience a moment of happiness from nature. Consumer research has shown that orchids make people happy, and the orchid is once again at the top of the list of houseplants that promote a feeling of happiness. With international marketing activities, including various shopper activations and consumer events, and on our own inspiration channels, we reach a broad international audience. We have over 145,000 followers on social media and a revamped website, which beautifully reflects the feeling of happiness. Definitely worth a look!

What is the target group that ONL wants to reach?
For the marketing activities on the shop floor and in communication, we focus on three different target groups defined from extensive research by Bloemenbureau Holland, Royal FloraHolland and VGB into the consumer value of flowers and plants in the core countries. These are the consumer segments: Aesthetic Explorer – the style-conscious consumer; Caring Conventionalist – the sociable consumer; and Nature Carer – the nature lover. The Aesthetic Explorer in particular is an interesting target group we are focusing on. It is not the largest group (12% of the population), but it is responsible for 24% of purchases in the houseplant market. In addition, sales growth is possible within this group and it appears that the other consumer target groups are influenced by the Aesthetic Explorer. In short, this is a group we like to inspire with attractive campaigns and promotional actions on the shop floor.  

In June, the Orchid Inspiration Days were held. What is the purpose of this event?
It is an inspirational event initiated and organized by a group of orchid growers. At this event, growers go the extra mile to show their latest developments, novelties and special products to customers and end consumers. It is actually the business card of orchid growers and a great opportunity to visit the companies. The level of presentations is high. I have seen presentations that are in no way inferior to those at a high-end interior design fair, and I think that is exactly how the orchid looks best.  

How do you look back on the Orchid Inspiration Days?
What struck me is that the growers do their utmost to surprise visitors and offer them an experience. The latest trends are under close scrutiny and the products and added value are selected accordingly. For example, I saw beautifully decorated showrooms where current trends were brought to life by combining orchids with the right colours, materials and home accessories. But I also saw a lot of combinations with green plants. It’s not just about the presentation of the orchids, but the companies show a complete range, whereby they respond very cleverly, in my view, to the market demand.

Which promotional campaign has been the absolute highlight for you so far?
It’s got to be the Salone del Mobile – also known as Masterly – in Milan. The ‘Salone’ is the world’s leading international design fair, with presentations in the exhibition building and throughout the city of Milan. For the second year in a row, Orchid Netherlands was selected to exhibit an assortment of the highest quality Dutch orchids. It was an event where we could really show off. We presented the diversity of the range and showed how well orchids fit into the highest design levels. We created sitting areas throughout the presentation so that visitors could relax among the orchids and enjoy all their beauty. The idea was to give visitors an insight into the world of orchids and to bring them a feeling of happiness. It was great to see the reactions of the public to the beautiful mix of orchids and judging by the positive reactions and the amount of pictures taken, it worked out well. The idea was to give visitors an insight into the world of orchids and to bring them a feeling of happiness.

How do you stay informed about all the current developments in the market?
By working at different locations (with growers, breeders and at the auction) I get a lot of information on what’s going on at the companies and also on general market developments. I also follow the trade media and regularly attend marketing events to keep up with the latest developments in my field.  

What is on the agenda for the next 12 months?
The biggest event/moment has taken place on September 1st: the Orchid Day. Even though this has already taken place, it is really worth mentioning. On this day, all kinds of activities have taken place to celebrate the splendor and diversity of the orchid. Think of live demonstrations at Floriade with arranger Romeo Sommers, hostesses handing out Orchids at Floriade, an influencer collaboration, media publications, and a Tuinbranche Nederland event with a visit from 180 international garden center owners. In the fall, the focus will be on shopper activations and there will be several international actions on the shop floor. In addition, we are working on how to collectively communicate sustainability developments and a new content production is planned.  

How do the plans come about?
Orchid Netherlands makes a long-term plan every three years, which forms the basis for activities and funding. After reaching agreement with the growers, we come up with a proposal of activities for that particular year which will contribute to achieving our goals. This will be presented to the steering committee and the Market and Promotion working group – which includes growers, breeders, and a number of team members of Orchid Netherlands – and if approved, it will be implemented as such.

What is your ultimate goal to achieve with Orchidee NL?
Once the orchid has established itself as an undemanding plant that takes your interior to the next level, I think the goal will have been achieved. The orchid is often seen as a plant that is difficult to care for, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once consumers realize that this plant can last for at least ten weeks, and many times even  for months, how easy it is to care for, what a wonderful diversity the range has to offer, and that with an orchid you can bring a piece of nature’s art indoors in an accessible and affordable way, then I think the ultimate goal will have been reached!