Bloom Where You’re Planted

“Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.”
 – Eckhart Tolle

March 12 is Plant a Flower Day, a day dedicated to celebrating spring, working the soil, and bringing more beauty into the world.

It’s a day with special resonance for Oster and Associates.  Our agency has become a “growth” guru for horticultural companies. Some we’ve cultivated from humble beginnings to become international brand ambassadors. Others are raising their public profile and growing their market share; along the way, thought leadership begins to blossom.

Our work is not just marketing. It’s become a calling to foster a greener, healthier world.

Our journey began in 1993, when Bev Oster took a meeting in a San Diego greenhouse. There she met three growers obsessed with propagating high-quality, durable shrubs, flowering plants and grasses. They were patenting plant species and looking to develop new varieties that could thrive in specific microclimates across the continent. It was a landscape fertile for growth and tremendous opportunity.

So Oster and Associates went to work, cultivating a branding campaign for Proven Winners worthy of their ambition. We created and launched the industry’s first brand for a flowering plant, centered on a promise of innovation and quality. The initial focus was B2B, selling their unique species to growers and plant retailers. The branding suite kept growing year after year, as the company continued to introduce annuals, perennials, and succulents that thrived in various climates across the US and Canada.  Oster has continued to launch and update marketing programs for many of its product groups.

In organic gardening, compost enriches the soil and lays the foundation for a healthy growing environment. In marketing, that translates as building consumer awareness to drive market demand. So we took our branding out of the B2B bin and ‘composted’ strategic consumer markets. Instead of hard-to-read labels and flimsy markers, Proven Winners were the first to stamp their name on the side of their containers. This innovation is now a standard industry practice.

A trial radio campaign followed in Boston, San Diego and LA. The outcome was phenomenal. We also reached out to key influencers – botanical parks, public agencies, and non-profit organizations like the Garden Writers Association of America. We have continued grow our reach; in 2014, we’re active in 36 markets across North America.

In the 2000s, as global warming and climate change entered public consciousness, John Rader, one of Proven Winners’ original partners, moved his company, Euro-American Propagators, to a 55-acre hilltop in north San Diego County. Euro-American has a network of plant breeders in Japan, Asia and Europe that collaborate to develop new forward-thinking species that are colorful, beautiful, and address environmental concerns. Just as Rader has invented “vegetative micro-propagation,” a plant-growing technique that founded a whole new industry niche, we’ve created much of his company’s marketing, with vertical branding and a strong online presence to connect with fellow growers around the world.

In 2006, we broke ground in the retail sector with a new client. Armstrong Garden Centers, which sells Proven Winners and Euro-American plants at all of its 32 stores, is the largest independent nursery retailer in California. They serve an educated, upscale demographic that demands quality, value and excellent service. At each garden center, Armstrong offers one-stop solutions to their neighborhood’s gardening needs, including expert advice, professional landscaping and garden design services, and the high-end tools, equipment and amenities for the California lifestyle.

Season after season, Armstrong has been a field of dreams for Oster’s PR and marketing team. We’ve ‘planted’ Armstrong gardens on TV news sets, and grown productive partnerships with the San Diego Museum of Art and the legendary Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. We promote new products and their numerous gardening classes; we create and schedule radio and online advertising; we book Armstrong’s owner-operators to demonstrate their “gardening without guesswork” approach in news stories, lectures, and monthly gardening columns for several community newspapers. We’re also highlighting their new line of plants and growing public awareness of Armstrong’s authentic 125-year success as a California institution. We’re even seeding new alliances with municipal leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti who’s working to build a more environmentally friendly, carbon-conscious infrastructure in Los Angeles.

At Oster and Associates, we believe that if you love your work, you’re like a flower planted in rich soil: roots are deeper, blooms are larger. You thrive. ROI is a natural result of the marketing process.  Like our clients, we’re growing and harvesting a garden of earthly delights, with abundance for everyone. As we continue to plant the seeds of innovation and growth for our clients, we look forward to harvesting many more bountiful achievements in the years to come. 


– Mary

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