How to stand out at Mother’s Day

brasilobserver - Apr 18 2015
Close up of mother looking down at baby son (Photo: 000027037123, iStock)

(Leia em Português)

It is a vital time for florists to be standing out and engaging with their customers, especially given the increasing threat to many smaller and local stores from supermarket flower sales


By Rebecca Swift*

Valentine’s Day is behind us, Mother’s Day fast approaching: Spring is a crucial time of year for Britain’s 15,000 flower businesses. It is also therefore a vital time for these florists to be standing out and engaging with their customers, especially given the increasing threat to many smaller and local stores from supermarket flower sales.

A recent survey by found that nine in ten people buy fresh flowers to mark Mother’s Day, meaning the opportunity for businesses is immense. However, with the bulk of British florists being (very) small businesses (a quarter have no employees beyond the owner, and two thirds employ between one and nine staff), and 46 per cent of these businesses being online only, generating standout for their services in the face of enthusiastic competition at such a peak time of year for flower demand is a key challenge.

The nation’s dutiful sons and daughters have numerous options when looking to make the day special for their beloved Mum. Even the 8,000 physical florist shops have to compete with petrol stations, supermarkets as well as the click of a mouse when offering flowers for the day. According to, the average Brit spends £27.37 each for Mothering Sunday gifts, so this can be a highly lucrative opportunity – and as one of the pinnacles of the florist’s year, a critical one to get right. So how can smaller businesses standout effectively and gain the attention of doting families this March?

One option, whether for the online business or the high street shop, is to consider the visual language around Mother’s Day carefully. Attempting to make a splash can be difficult, but iStock by Getty Images has looked into of the visual language of maternal love, and there is potential for savvy businesses to think differently and avoid cliché. For example, we found that globally, imagery around general issues of love are more or less universal. The heart in particular has represented love since medieval times. It was believed to be the centre of all emotions, and love is the strongest emotion of them all. It is also the feeling most people associate with maternal relationships, and many Mother’s Day products adopt similar visual styles and tones to Valentines – in terms of pink and red colour palettes, flowers and hearts – to Mother’s Day too. If businesses are wedded to using these longstanding tropes to communicate around Valentines, try experimenting with different materials, textures, shapes (like chubby or slim line classic ‘heart’ shapes) and colours.

Obviously everyone’s Mum is going to be different, unique, and special. Trying to engage with a varied audience in a way which is going to be meaningful, while also respecting how they feel about each of their Mums is not the easiest of tasks. And yet, it is this aspect of visual variety which business owners can seize if they want to truly stand out. Any imagery which depicts a strong, authentic and positive emotion is likely to evoke a similar response in the onlooker, especially if the viewer can personally identify with the picture. It’s not always necessary to show a mother and baby or small children to connect. Thinking a little differently around what Mother’s Day is all about – like breakfast in bed, giving Mum the day off, or using older and even grown up children in pictures with their parents to show the longevity of the relationship. Sometimes a close up of the connection is enough – clasped hands, a hug, even a proffered cup of tea.

Human connection is underpinned by love. It is an intimate bond between friends, family and lovers alike. Anything communicating character and individuality, or conveying comfort, confidence, happiness and contentment – the emotions associated with relationships most mother-children relationships – will resonate with audiences looking for inspiration, and show an understanding of the shopper and the feelings they are hoping to celebrate through flowers.

As Mothering Sunday quickly approaches, so does the rush to engage with those looking for gifts for their dear old Mum. The opportunity to stand out should inspire florists the country over to consider different techniques to make their offerings stand out, whether online or in store. This Mother’s Day, with some careful planning, florists could really stand out by thinking carefully about how to really reflect the individuality of maternal love to make Britain’s Mums feel really special.


*Rebecca Swift is director of creative planning, iStock by Getty Images