“What It Takes to Launch a New Product in Today’s Intensely Competitive Marketplace” proved to be equally of interest to growers, retailers, landscapers and marketers. This seminar addressed the synergistic process that exists between the plant breeder and marketer; in this case, Dr. Michael A. Dirr, owner/partner, Plant Introductions Inc., and Natalia Hamill, brand and business development manager, Bailey Nurseries Inc.
Dirr addressed his process in creating new plants, most famously Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer®. The key characteristics of this plant, which has made it a true “superstar” in the garden and marketplace, is its ability to rebloom (remontancy) and cold hardiness.
“We’re all looking for the golden goose that can lay the reblooming egg,” Dirr said.
Once the marketing team believes in a new introduction, the next step is to convince growers. “In a crowded market, it must perform as promised,” Hamill said, stressing an important point for growers as well as end consumers.
Hamill explained that the power of a viable brand (e.g., Endless Summer) can provide a platform for subsequent introductions via line extension. The brand Endless Summer has become one of Bailey’s top-performing product lines, now with four varieties — The Original, Blushing Bride, BloomStruck, and Twist-n-Shout.
Hamill also touched on the importance of packaging (branded pots, elevated stakes) and plant photography that stands out from the crowd. “The strength of the brand creates consumer confidence, as well as with the trade,” she said.