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Report from the NGIA Conference 2011

by Tim Durrant,  Editor | Managing Director

Last week Gina and I attended the 2011 Nursery and Garden Industry Association (NGIA) Conference, held at the Wairakei Resort in Taupo.

Scroll down to view the dance video and photos

The conference theme was “Rebuilding for Tomorrow’s Market” and was well attended by the industry.

Some takeouts:

  • Westpac Senior economist Michael Gordon was positive about growth in our economy and his session was encouraging.
  • Vanessa Clarke of Colmar Brunton talked about changes in consumer behaviour and their unique needs. There are new emerging consumer groups and the way they interact with businesses has changed dramatically.
  • With the emergence of websites and social networking there is now a direct link with brands and businesses and people can cut through the clutter. Consumers are more demanding and they need to be met with clear messages to meet their unique needs. Social networking and having an integrated online presence is essential to push business forward. This online presence needs to be managed properly and be consistent. (We can help you with this if you are interested.)
  • It has also been identified that there is a generation gap in knowledge and drive towards gardening. With the recent recession there has been a dramatic change towards home vegetable gardening, however the social, health and recreational benefits of home gardening need to be promoted. There is a generation gap within consumers and the industry needs skilled enthusiastic new blood to carry it into the future.
  • Stay Positive, Stay Focused, Don’t Blink.  Damien Luiten from Palmers Whangerei spoke about the passion  industry members have for their businesses. However we cannot be all things to our own business. We must acknowledge our weaknesses and use professionals where possible. It can be a false economy trying to do everything ourselves. There are four different personality types in a horticultural business: The Gardener,  The Artist,  The Marketer and the Mechanic. If you don’t fit some of these hats you need to outsource or employ resources to fill these roles.
  • There is a need for unity in the industry across internal information channels and communication with consumers. A highlight of the conference was the new logo and branding for Gardening New Zealand and the “Go Gardening” brand that you will see in garden centres and in advertising in the near future.   The new brands will unify information about gardening and promote gardening in general.

Do you have any comments? Please use the comments form at the bottom of this page.

Social evenings and networking are key parts of conferences.  I took a few snaps and a video of folks cutting some shapes on the dance floor and at social gatherings.

Click on an image to enlarge

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