Chanel de Kock is the lady behind the Flower Council of Holland PR activity in the UK. An inveterate traveller – often to be found either diving or on the back of a camel, Chanel used to work In the fashion industry before making the move to floriculture where she brings her love of style, creativity and sometimes barking mad interpretations to the world of flowers. Her highlight of 2016 was probably the massive installation Chanel organised outside the National Gallery, which was featured on The Billion Pound Flower Industry TV programme on Channel 4.
What three words would best describe you?
Determined. Loyal. Fun.
Best business decision?
The #DutchFlowers floral installation at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It was an opportunity we simply could not allow to go by and the decision to go for it was one of the best and most challenging ever. But the results were fantastic - showcasing the amazing talent of the industry by creating a floral masterpiece using a wonderful medium like flowers at one of London’s most iconic landmarks was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity –and we certainly brought art to life! It was an ideal platform to display such a beautiful installation and the exposure and brand recognition we gained for our Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk consumer brand exceeded our expectations. You can watch the making of and end result below.
Worst business decision?
I really don’t see an issue with making bad decisions sometimes! A bad experience is only a bad experience if you haven’t learnt anything from it. It’s an opportunity to learn and improve your strategy for your next attempts. You not only learn a great deal about yourself in the process, but you also learn how to handle yourself and the situation itself.
A good boss should allow their staff to make mistakes and help them learn from it. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you have a problem. The best thing about making bad decisions is that you also appreciate things when they do go right and especially if you’ve managed to turn the bad decision into a good one.
What turns your stomach and why?
When I sit in an interview with a reporter and they get their pen and paper out. It means that every single word you say, or any statement you make is recorded, so you have to be very careful. I’m also not a big fan of public speaking for obvious reasons, even though I have to do it on a regular basis.
How do you relax?
There’s nothing better than pottering around at home and I love cooking, but I also enjoy going out and spending time with my friends and making sure to have some fun. It’s important not to always think about work to help you unwind.
What’s your biggest pet hate?
When people leave things on standby instead of turning it off or if they don’t recycle. I’m a bit of an environmentalist and think we should all do our bit every single day, that includes saying no to single-use plastic items.
What’s something you dream of doing?
Seeing the entire world before I die. Every continent and every country. The list is still long.
Pictured above, from left to right: Flower Council's writer and conversation manager Moniek Kuipers, UK marketing manager Chanel de Kock, and managing director Marc Eijsackers
What do you find most difficult?
Falling asleep at night. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, I will always find something to think about to keep me awake! It could be work-related, and if not, I will move on to find other silly things to think about like: “Do I need to add bin liners to my shopping list?” I’m cursed!
Is the customer always right?
This is a tricky one, but in these challenging economic times, I have to say yes. It’s best to let the customer think they are even if they’re not and you have to do it through gritted teeth to save yourself from losing a customer or many potential customers. Only in very special incidents should you give in. Remember, complaints and customer reviews are now digitally visible to the entire world, so think twice before reacting to your customers even if you have to count to a hundred!
Most cringe-making moment of your career?
I was once interviewed by a big reporter from the New York Huffington Post and I accidentally gave him confidential information that was not ready for release yet. He had a pen and paper. It went to print.
Best piece of advice to someone starting out in the industry?
Customer service is key - always go the extra mile. Give customers a reason to come back and to talk about you to their friends and colleagues. Now more than ever, it is about the customer’s experience; how you treated them and made them feel about their purchase both on and offline. Show that you care about them, share your knowledge and care tips with them, get to know them and build a relationship with them. They will come back to you instead of going to a supermarket, and they will hopefully send more customers your way.
You’re stranded on a desert island, only one flower grows there, which would you choose?
My favourite flower is a Peony, but I doubt they’ll cope on a desert island, and their season is too short to keep me happy. So I will have to say Frangipani, even though it’s not really a cut flower. They always remind me of exotic places, and their scent is so intoxicating! If I’m stranded there, I may as well make it my perfect paradise all year round.
And finally, the plug…
At the Flower Council, we are dedicated to making sure we raise the top of mind awareness with consumers for both flowers and plants, and we do this with our two consumer-facing brands through engaging and inspiring content and big national campaigns. For cut flowers it’s Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk, and for plants (both indoor and outdoor), it’s Thejoyofplants.co.uk. We encourage the industry to participate in our campaigns and to also share our content with their own audiences. The content is easy to share and is aimed to inspire your audiences and all consumers and potential customers. We try to cover all aspects of lifestyle to show the public how much there is to do with our wonderful products, from fashion to interiors, to beauty and cooking –we cover all aspects that are of interest to consumers.
To keep ahead with the latest consumer trends and to get on board with the many campaigns we run like the Flower Agenda, Houseplant of the Month, and Garden Plant of the Month campaigns, florists can not only use the well-researched information like care tips, origin, trivia and clever DIY projects to share with their own customers, there are also downloadable images available on our website that can be used free of charge at Flowercouncil.co.uk