Don’t just stand there. Plant something!

That’s the idea seedling we plant, fertilize and grow with the Plant Something campaign to encourage homeowners to beautify their landscapes and neighborhoods.

As you might imagine, the recession has significantly pruned sales in the landscape industry. The Plant Something campaign reminds homeowners that investing in plants, shrubs and trees is not only good for your soul, but it will help reduce energy bills and increase the value of your property.

The tendrils of the campaign, which was created by the Arizona Nursery Association in 2010, are reaching nationwide as states, including Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and Massachusetts, are adopting Plant Something to ignite the growth of their nursery industries.

We’ve seen this kind of organic growth before.  We launched the Water – Use It Wisely conservation campaign in Mesa, AZ in 1998, and it has grown to include more than 400 private and public entities throughout North America. In fact, it was the success of Water – Use It Wisely that prompted ANA to ask Park&Co to create a campaign with similar growth potential for nursery associations across the nation.

The 5 Ingredients that Make Your Message Universal

  1. Appeal to the human, not the person. We all share similar wants, needs and aspirations that trigger action. People often are too parochial as to what they think will work in their hometown. However, when your campaign connects on a universal human level, then you can run it with great success anywhere and avoid the “It won’t work here” mentality.
  2. Implore your audience to do something now by making your campaign theme and logo the primary call-to-action. Plant Something! Water – Use It Wisely.
  3. The Arizona website features Google maps to direct you to your nearest nursery. Click on the image to see the map

    Surprise and delight your target by telling great stories through all of your campaign materials, like with the 30-second PSA above.

  4. Be bold with your movement and communicate how it is much bigger than the simple behavior you’re promoting: in this case, show them how planting something brightens the lives of everyone who enjoys their home.
  5. Make it easy for organizations to adopt and use your campaign, from affordable pricing to simple activation.

If you want your campaign to experience healthy organic growth, keep these five principles in mind. They are some of the best fertilizer I know to make marketing truly sustainable.

Have you had success with growing a campaign organically? If so, please share your tips below.

(A tip of the cap to the animation talents of Justin Katz at Flock of Pixels, and the sound design of audioEngine; both of Phoenix, AZ.)