The emerging cannabis game is attracting players across a variety of industries who are hoping to cash in on the latest green rush. The competitive landscape is fierce, further driving the need to build a brand identity that stands out in an already saturated market. Having an amazing product or service is paramount, but it’s not always enough to get your company the recognition you’re looking for.
Below are a few tips to consider before pressing the “go” button.
1. Be authentic.
Consumers are looking for brands that stand up to their hype, or better yet, don’t rely on hype to deliver their message. The legal cannabis industry has been the victim of overvaluations and underperformance, leaving many consumers dissatisfied with their first product orders. 7ACRES is quickly earning its positive reputation by notably being one of the few licensed producers able to back its claim of fire cannabis that actually delivers.
In the age of the internet, consumers rule the market with reviews, reshares and word-out-mouth that can reach millions making consistency, integrity and authenticity key factors in establishing your brand. Making promises to consumers and under delivering early on will likely lead to a lack of repeat sales. Similarly, don’t back an idea just because it’s trendy; do support a cause because it has inherent value to you, your brand, and the community you serve.
Consumers value honesty and if you build a brand they can believe in, you will earn their loyalty and support.
2. Choose the long haul.
Playing off the point of authenticity, having a long-term end-game can help your brand’s longevity. The newly-regulated cannabis industry is still a nascent market and a “pump-’n-dump” business strategy will likely leave you burned.
Setting your sights on long-term gains can bolster your brand by allowing you to connect with an audience and build trust over time. It will also let you adapt and modify elements of your company to better sync with your clients and create something that has meaning beyond a quick sale.
3. Define your X-factor.
What IS an X-factor? Your X-factor is what makes you different. It’s the part of your story that your customers associate with and subsequently informs their buying decision. Take Apple for example: its X-factor is its design. They’re not necessarily the best products, nor are they the cheapest, but they’re gorgeous and you sure as heck feel all the feels when you walk into their stores. Competing in a saturated market goes beyond your brand image, you need to deliver added or unique value to potential customers.
Vapium, for example, is a Toronto-based vaporizer company whose cost-conscious, award-winning products set it apart from its competition, its X-factor is its manufacturing process; unlike their competition who outsource, Vapium has the unique ability to oversee the entire production from start to finish from their wholly-owned manufacturing facility in China. This ensures a high-quality product that follows medical-grade standards at an affordable price.
4. Identify your competition and collaborators.
The regulations surrounding cannabis make it a tricky landscape to navigate. This is a great time to learn from your competitors while also seeking out companies to collaborate with. Identify brands that align with your core values and consider cross-promotion and strategic partnerships.
This can be beneficial in terms of things like lobbying efforts regarding branding and marketing restrictions and buying power to lower the cost of materials. It’s also a great opportunity to engage ancillary services to cannabis such as real estate or health and wellness, opening your brand up to new markets and clientele.
Earlier this year, licensed producer DOJA partnered with Cannabis Amnesty, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expunging the criminal records of people with minor cannabis possession charges. DOJA created a line of streetwear called PARDON to bring attention to the cause while staying true to their recreational brand identity.
5. Know your market.
The cannabis market can be broken down into two streams: medical and recreational. Start by identifying the market you want to target and then get specific.
Cannabis appeals to a wide variety of people, even within the two broad classifications. Some medical patients may be long-time consumers, others may be post-legalization curious. The type of message needed to speak to each audience differs greatly depending on the user’s prior knowledge, experience and the desired effects of using the product. Identifying a niche message, how to deliver that message, and what channels to distribute that message across will help you reach your audience and create a meaningful interaction.
This applies to the recreational side as well.
BRNT, an Albert-based cannabis accessories brand targets both new and seasoned consumers with beautifully-constructed pieces that can be proudly displayed instead of tucked away. By identifying a market that is shifting away from stigma, BRNT is part of a larger movement to elevate cannabis consumption and consumers.
Editor’s note: Vapium and BRNT are clients of RNMKR PR.