In the early stages of cannabis medicinal sales, having popular strains led to instant success for some fortunate growers and dispensaries. Market demand took care of everything else. Brand development or media strategies weren’t necessary components of the business plan as demand was ripe for a product hitting the legal market for the first time.
The game has changed.
California voters legalized recreational cannabis, creating more growers, cultivators, and peripheral businesses, which has flooded the market.
Los Angeles is poised to become the largest cannabis hub for new businesses, and with over four million people in the city alone, there’s a large pool of potential consumers. With more methods of purchasing cannabis products, options for where and how customers can purchase their cannabis goods, it is now necessary that growers and manufacturers begin to consider increasing their brand awareness to remain competitive. A sound marketing and communications strategy can make all the difference and differentiate their products from the rest.
There are many nuances and stigmas with regard to cannabis marketing and traditional advertising. Though we already see it in Los Angeles streets, this approach requires some legal maneuvering that could be limiting to your brand’s story. While California lawmakers debate on marketing tactics companies will be allowed to use, the brand awareness and media strategy that is currently the most viable is one based in effective public relations.
These are just some preliminary tactics and questions to consider in order to increase brand awareness for those in or entering the cannabis industry:
- Ask yourself, what makes your product special? Is it in the way you grow or the ingredients you use?
- Assess all marketing materials. Does your packaging accurately reflect the product you are selling? Where are you promoting your product? The industry continues to evolve and brands need to recognize these shifts. Brands like Kiva and Dom Pen use clean, crisp packaging that gives their products a high-end aura.
- Invest in a comprehensive social media strategy. With millions of individuals scrolling through content daily, it is important to establish a home base, repurpose content that will drive people to your home base via media outposts and make all your campaigns social – don’t create social media campaigns.
Ultimately, no single strategy is the path to awareness for every brand, but the beauty of this is that there are many options to build brand awareness, and traditional public relations methods can be customized to suit this industry.
Cannabis brands will need to appeal to a new consumer base that may be purchasing cannabis on a legal, recreational basis for the first time and are looking at brands with the most aesthetically appealing packaging or the larger social media presence. With the industry in California set to surpass any other, there is room for everyone to carve out a space. And let’s face it – good Indica will only get your brand so far!
By Wendy Villalta and Josh Yeager