1-800-Flowers to host sympathy chats

1-800-Flowers has launched a sympathy campaign.

1-800-Flowers launched a new integrated campaign aimed at helping to educate, engage and connect consumers across the U.S. on the subject of sympathy.

In the changing retail environment, online and offline retailers are looking for new ways to engage the consumer. Even with the convenience of digital shopping, tapping into social networks' editorial content and open customer communication can increase brand loyalty. 

That is why 1-800-Flowers, with the help of Westwood One, has introduced the "Celebrating a Life" campaign, which gives a platform for dialogue around the subject. Editorial will tackle cultural and social sensitivities that users can consider when offering support to loved ones during a time of loss. 

The campaign, which launched this month and will run through April, will be extend to many channels—radio, digital, social media, video—and will address grief by suggesting the best ways to give condolences, the meaning of sympathy flowers, supporting a loss in the workplace, writing remembrance cards and paying respects. 

Westwood One will be collecting feedback from consumers in order to gain insights for additional areas of discussion. 

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A unique online destination has been created at 1800flowers.com/sympathy-articles and will provide ongoing resources. 

“A trusted partner in helping those coping with loss, 1-800-Flowers.com has witnessed not only how our changing culture has influenced the ways sympathy is expressed but also how the celebration of one’s life has become the ritual of choice," 1-800-Flowers.com CMO Amit Shah told FierceRetail. 

As an example, Shah noted that the term “celebration of life” is appearing more in obituaries. According to a Legacy study, mentions of the term increased from 6.7% in 2011 to 19.7% in 2016.

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He also noted that the role of social media in expressing sympathy is continuing to grow. A 1-800-Flowers.com survey found 67% Americans have used social media at least once to express sympathy for family or friends, and 53% have expressed sympathy on social media several times. 

"Our goal in initiating this national dialogue is to help individuals navigate through the complexities and challenges of dealing with grief and loss in modern times," Shah said. 

Radio talent John Tesh and Lia Knight will host conversations on their respective shows. Other features include on-air programming such as vignettes, live reads, discussions and interviews. In addition, shareable social videos will illustrate campaign topics. 

"This conversation around sympathy is just the beginning," Shah said. "As we continue to look for ways to deepen our relationship with customers, we expect to explore other topics that impact all of us every day."