NALP launches consumer awareness campaign

October 6, 2015 -  By

Industry Growth InitiativeThe National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) launched a consumer awareness campaign and seeks to raise $1 million per year to fund it.

Dubbed the Industry Growth Initiative (IGI), the program is designed to create demand for professional landscape services, increase the size of the industry’s labor pool and defend the industry from activists’ attacks. The IGI efforts will include public relations, social media, advertising campaigns and other marketing initiatives.

“It’s our duty and our responsibility to educate the public about our work and the value we offer,” NALP President Scott Jamieson, LIC,  said in a release. “We are stewards of the environment, and we don’t want others, particularly activists, speaking for us. Through this initiative, we will manage the message and change the perceptions and actions of the public.”

Missy Henriksen

Missy Henriksen

Missy Henriksen is spearheading the IGI. She was hired in July as NALP’s vice president of public affairs. Previously, she spent seven years leading a consumer education initiative at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

NALP also retained PR firm Vault Communications, which Henriksen worked with at NPMA.

Tactics will be rolled out in phases and will include a consumer website, a career exploration site, social media promotions, media relations, a children’s initiative and other public relations. First up is the consumer website, which will launch this winter with more than 150 articles and videos. It’s important for consumers to have a “content-rich” site to visit before media relations ramp up, Henriksen told LM.

And she’s no stranger to the national media. During Henriksen’s time at NPMA, she appeared on Today, among other high-profile outlets.

Oversight and measurement

The IGI was created at the request of the board, and Henriksen conducted member interviews to hone the program’s focus when she joined the association in July. A new public affairs advisory council will oversee the program, Henriksen said. The council, which also will direct public policy initiatives, will be chaired by NALP Past President Jim McCutcheon, CEO of HighGrove Partners, and Jeff Fedorchak, vice president of corporate affairs for TruGreen.

One of the council’s first initiatives is to determine how NALP will measure the IGI’s success.

“We’re exploring things such as market penetration, the favorability rating among consumers and the number of times our message is out there,” Henriksen said. “We’ll look at how we want to measure things and determine our baseline so we can look at it over time.”

In the pest management industry, for example, NPMA and its consumer outreach arm, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), measured what percentage of U.S. households reported using a professional pest management company. In 2001, it was 18 percent, as measured by a Harris Poll. Last year, the figure was 37 percent.

“It was never suggested it was all because of NPMA or PPMA initiatives, but we know the work that was done moved the needle,” Henriksen said. “We’re looking at developing a similar baseline and seeing how our strategies can help make that positive change for landscape professionals.”

But first, funding

But first, landscape professionals need to come on board to fund the initiative. There are two funding levels.

  • Industry champion: Companies that annually contribute one-tenth of 1 percent of their landscaping/lawn care revenue (equivalent to $1,000 per $1 million in sales).
  • Industry steward: Companies that annually contribute an amount that’s “feasible and appropriate for their company each year,” or a minimum annual contribution of $600.

Henriksen said she expects 100 percent board participation, and the association already has received its first non-board pledge. She’s optimistic donors will come forward.

“I’ve been involved with fundraising for 20-plus years,” she said. “It’s been my experience that people are willing to give to an organization that will deliver meaningful impact. So if they understand the vision of what’s being created, they recognize the value it will offer the industry—or, for some, their own business—and they have confidence in our ability to execute, then I believe they will invest for those right reasons.”

Additionally, she said, the association has created value for donors in the form of “investor assets,” which include a library of customizable press releases and other marketing pieces.

When asked about how the IGI is different from or will work with existing industry initiatives, such as Project EverGreen or the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s TurfMutt program, Henriksen says NALP isn’t looking to “reinvent the wheel or to duplicate anything that exists currently.”

“We’re looking at ways to ensure NALP is doing everything possible to grow demand, grow the workforce and protect the industry,” she says. “Everything we’ll be unveiling falls into one of those areas. We look forward to working in collaboration with other industry partners when and where it makes sense.”

 

 

 

 

Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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