Making Chelsea-winning plants available nationwide

More than 100,000 views of one reel

Woman & Home ‘where to buy plants’ feature!

Media gifting to top-tier titles

Shopping features in four national newspapers

Hillier is a very well-known name in the horticultural industry and is famed for its world-record-holding winning streak at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (74 consecutive gold medals anyone?!). It’s the UK’s biggest grower of semi-mature trees with over 700 acres of tree nurseries, as well as owning 22 garden centres, with the passionate team being incredible experts on all things plants. 

However, Hillier’s centres are all based in the south of England, meaning that its beautiful, expertly grown award-winning plants have been limited to those who lived near centres, or the lucky few visiting on days out. 

That was until the Hillier online shop was born! 

In lockdown, when garden centres closed, Hillier quickly launched a whole new arm of its business – the online shop.

Our job then was to get the word out there that Hillier’s plants were available for everyone across the country to buy! 

  • Secure national coverage to directly reach potential customers and extend Hillier’s geographical reach 
  • Generate trade coverage to bolster Hillier’s position in the market 
  • Arrange stockist features in ‘where to buy’ guides 
  • Place commentary from Hillier’s team of plant growers to showcase their expertise and knowledge 
  • Raise Hillier’s digital presence and ensure backlinks to the online shop in as many publications, blogs and websites as possible 

Being an online-focused campaign, we knew our strategy had to have a big digital element. 

The online shop opened the doors for us to reach a new demographic, not just in location but also in age group. Hillier’s core customer demographic has traditionally been older, affluent, passionate and knowledgeable gardeners and, while still wanting to engage with this key group, our strategy needed to reach a younger audience. Enter influencers! 

For our first step, we devised a multi-tiered influencer strategy, forging a headline partnership with lifestyle gurus Ross & Ian on an ongoing basis. We then worked with more gardening-focused accounts such as Mr. Plant Geek, Ellen Mary Gardening, Gardening Geek, View From the Potting Bench and Growing Family to reach core gardeners on various campaigns throughout the launch phase. This was then supported with smaller gifting campaigns with micro-influencers at key times in the gardening season. 

Our digital strategy included seeding online content with paid campaigns and advertorials on TheHomePage.co.uk and in their lovely newsletter, and a sponsored content series with the Plant Based Podcast which also included sponsoring the chart-topping podcast for a series as well. 

On the media relations side, Hillier exhibited at the Garden Press Event to put the online shop in front of key media for the first time, creating a great opportunity for conversations around the next big step in the Hillier timeline. 

This was followed by a round of gifting plants and gardening hampers to selected editors and writers to inform them of the launch and showcase the breadth of plants and products available.  

Supporting press content from this outlined the launch and background to it, ‘what to buy’ guides, and plant profiles with expert care tips, along with pitching for company profiles and interviews – all focused on making it more than just a website launch, and instead about the next chapter for the company. 

The online demand for Hillier content was huge and the influencer campaigns and digital content pieces were incredibly well received. One influencer reel about the online shop had a staggering 100,221 plays, a competition reel had more than 6,000 engagements and our guest content series were very popular too! One series had 3,500 views, another had 6,000 and then a further 18,000 read another of our articles! Plant lovers outside of the south were rejoicing that they could finally get Hillier plants in their gardens! 

Unsurprisingly, the offer of plants and gardening goodies was a popular move as well and we sent out press hampers to our contacts at Your Home, Gardens Illustrated, The English Garden, The Telegraph, BBC Gardeners’ World, The Sun, Real Homes, The Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard, Country Homes and Interiors, House and Garden, The Telegraph, Amateur Gardening and Country Life 

The launch of the online shop appeared in the Sun and we worked with both Woman & Home and the English Garden to secure detailed features for Hillier in their ‘where to buy plants online’ articles. The shopping listings continued with product mentions in The Times, The People, The Express, The Mirror and t3! If all that wasn’t enough, we also ticked off the aim of trade coverage with the online shop and next step for Hillier being featured in Horticulture Week, Garden Centre Retail and Insight DIY among others. 


“Not only does Honest Communications bring innovative creative ideas to a campaign to achieve wide exposure, but their organisation and planning helps relieve pressure on the internal team. I know I can rely on the Honest team to bring everything together and generate engaging PR.” 

Shelley Turner, Head of Marketing, Hillier Nurseries 

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