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Interview with Debbie Olsthoorn, Anthuriuminfo

Since February this year, Debbie Olsthoorn has taken over from Claudia Broch as Marketing Manager at Anthurium Promotion Foundation. Debbie is 25 years old, lives in Westland and studied European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, specializing in marketing management.

She started out at orchid grower Opti-flor and soon came to the conclusion that the floriculture sector is the one that makes her happy. With the aim of further developing her skills, she took up a new challenge in marketing at the ‘Stichting Promotie Anthurium’ (Anthurium Promotion Foundation). A challenging position that she is delighted to fulfil.

Debbie in crop with Anthurium cut flower Jumbo

What does Anthuriuminfo stand for? 
The Anthurium Promotion Foundation is a group of both pot and cut Anthurium growers and breeders who have joined forces for promotional purposes in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, among others.

My goal as a marketer is to continue to position the Anthurium as an on-trend product in key marketing countries through offline and online activities. In doing so, it is important to communicate the Anthurium’s USPs to consumers.

What is the target audience you want to reach?
Our most important consumer target group is the “Aesthetic Explorer”: creative culture lovers who value discovering new things and enjoy decorating their homes with design, flowers and plants. This consumer target group has a large market share and influence.

What kind of actions do you organize?
We reach our target audience through offline and online activities, highlighting the USPs of the Anthurium.

Offline activities

Organizing fun activities, our goal being to get as much publicity as possible.

We also provide decorations for TV shows or events. For example, Anthurium was the main flower in the decorations for the “Urbi et Orbi”: the traditional blessing pronounced by the Pope at Christmas and Easter. Anthuriums were also part of the decorations for the Eurovision Song Contest and beautiful floral arrangements are regularly created with Anthuriums for Lithuanian national television, for example.

Urbi et Orbi.

In addition to these activities aimed at consumers, there is also a focus on trade. For example, a number of shopper activations were created in cooperation with Bloemenbureau Holland. Our last shopper activation took place at Albert Heijn, a supermarket chain.

In September, we started the Anthurium Inspiration Weeks. During this period, we visited a number of exporters to put the Anthurium cut flowers in the spotlight. We hope that some of that week will result in great collaborations, to inspire consumers.

Online activities
Every week we publish new content on our information and inspiration platform www.anthuriuminfo.com. We are also active on several social media channels.

We have established many collaborations with influencers. They make the most beautiful creations with our Anthurium plants and flowers, which they and we, in turn,
can share through our channels.

Which promotional campaign has been the absolute highlight for you so far?
During the annual Easter celebration in Rome on Sunday 17 April, the Anthurium was on display as the main flower in the decoration of St Peter’s Square. With more than a billion people watching this annual celebration, this was undoubtedly a highlight. The Anthuriums even sparkled on the balcony, where the Pope pronounced the Urbi et Orbi. It was incredibly cool that we got to provide the flowers for this occasion and I was there to help.

How do you stay informed about all the current developments in the market?
Thanks to the wide network of growers and breeders, I keep up-to-date about all the developments in the ornamental plant cultivation industry. I also receive weekly industry news and information about marketing trends and events.

What is on the agenda for the coming 12 months?
In cooperation with Cymbidium growers, we have developed inspiring arrangements and bouquets for the month of December. A public relations campaign will inspire consumers to use Anthurium and Cymbidium to decorate their homes. The December decorations have been featured in various lifestyle magazines, both online and in the print media.

Furthermore, we will be exhibiting with Anthurium Info at the Margriet Winter Fair; a nice cooperation with the educational sector is coming up, and we’re setting up a shopper activation. We are also constantly developing new inspiration and information: publications, collaborations with influencers, and mood photography. So plenty of fun projects, to be continued!

How do the plans come about?
A three-year plan is drawn up at Anthuriuminfo, which provides the guideline for promotional activities. The topics in this plan are aligned with the goals of the foundation and all stakeholders. Last year, the group’s growers and breeders voted to go ahead with the promotion plans for the next three years.

What is your ultimate goal to achieve with Anthuriuminfo?
“Anthuriums have a corny image” is what you often hear, yet the Anthurium is becoming increasingly popular and trendy! I hope that, in the future, we can establish some fine international collaborations so that the Anthurium becomes more popular not only in our core countries but throughout Europe and beyond.

What is your biggest challenge right now?
Right now, I see external factors as our major challenge. Gas and electricity prices have risen and purchasing power among consumers is declining. It’s up to us to explain and show why consumers should buy an Anthurium anyway, and what value these beautiful flowering plants and colourful flowers offer.