Marketing & Communication officer Helena van Achterberg: “Why is storytelling so important? Well…”
Marginpar has been around for over 30 years, but it’s only since recent years that we are really telling our story.
Helena van Achterberg (37) joined Marginpar 2,5 years ago with exactly that objective as marketing & communication officer; to tell the Marginpar story. She came from the world of television and events where she had always been busy creating content. She was new to the world of flowers, but was quick to learn all about them and ready to start sharing.
Let’s start out with the base; What does marketing & communication entail? Helena: “I am responsible for all media expressions both internally and externally. A few examples are newsletters, the website, social media and events. Luckily I don’t do this alone; we are a team of three, with Michiel van Paassen (who is our Sales and Marketing Manager) and our most recent addition, Eva Hegt (Marketing & Communication Jr). Together we tell the story of Marginpar. We like to tell it in several parts; a tale about our flowers (product and design), our people (staff, breeders, partners), and our care for nature and the community around us.”
The importance of storytelling
So why is storytelling so important to us? Helena: “Well, it’s not just something we do, but it’s a trend in marketing in general. Nowadays consumers like to know more about the product they buy and the brand they buy from, and are open to more background information. I’m a big fan of storytelling, because you can create a loyal fan base, and if we do our work right, our story will be passed on. It’s nice that we have such a beautiful story to tell, it makes creating genuine content easy.”
The online world
Helena: “The great constant in my work is social media. We have multiple platforms which we use to bring interesting and fun news, information and inspiration on a daily basis.” So, we inform and inspire. Helena: “I love how short the lines of information are in our company. Since the fusion between Marginpar Aalsmeer, Marginpar Ethiopia and the Kariki farms back in 2018, Marginpar has over 4000 employees, and all of them have a story to tell. Next to that, we have our partner farms in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. I can reach out to any of them with any questions I have, and they are happy to answer them. These little stories about the growth of a specific flower, about a new sustainable innovation or more personal stories like we use for #TheMarginparRecipe are truly appreciated by our followers. It’s nice to receive a positive comment under a post, and I hope people find us approachable to ask questions or give feedback. Marginpar is really shifting from only working in the background to taking the stage and expressing who we are and what drives us.
Our marketing is mainly focussed on florists, and what better way to inspire a florist than with the help of floral designers? Helena: “We inspire with the help of our ambassadors; floral designers from all over the world who love to work with our flowers and make beautiful designs for us to show. When I joined Team Marginpar, there were already a lot of designers that were working with our flowers and were tagging us. Because social media is so, as the name suggests, social, it was easy to reach out to them and link up. Nowadays, whenever we introduce a new flower, we send this flower to our ambassadors, and they test her out and create beautiful content. Apart from our ambassadors we also like to keep a close eye on other florists who use our products in their social posts. It’s so inspiring to see what people all over the world make with our flowers!”
The offline world
Inspiration does not only happen online. For instance, at the beginning of this month we took part in the Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair. This is a great opportunity to show who we are and what we stand for. Helena: “We made a beautiful booth that showed our full assortment in the ‘floral library’, showed the story of our people in a movie, and showed our power brand Clematis Amazing®. We got to talk to so many people who were interested in our flowers. Online is great, but especially considering the Covid situation of the last years, meeting everyone face-to-face was amazing!” Of course we cannot attend every event in the flower business, but we try to be there in paper format. We have flyers, banners and even a magazine that we can display and hand out at events like fairs, demo’s, workshops or at auctions.
My joy & challenge
Helena: “There is so much to tell, that it is both the joy and the challenge of my job. I love creating content with our flowers and our people. We started this #TheMarginparRecipe series on LinkedIn to tell our people’s stories. Plus, for our magazine and website, we interview designers and breeders. I just love to talk to them. It is so inspiring to hear what drives people. Everyone has their own passion for their profession, and I really enjoy writing about it, to be able to share that passion. On the other hand, it can be difficult to keep focus because of all there is to share. We grow very fast, we want a lot, we can do a lot, but we just cannot do everything at once. My dream is to make Marginpar a renowned floral brand, that is loved and preferred by florists everywhere: from Japan to Moscow to Miami. A brand where florists and buyers not only know our unique assortment but also tell our story and embrace our brand values. Marginpar as an innovative company, that grows special, exclusive flowers, known for our high quality standards, and for the people centric approach of doing business.”
The story of two of our Post Harvest Managers in Kenya: Jemimah Kioria & Priscilla Muhonja