This blog reveals why it is so difficult to effectively communicate your cannabis brand story and how you can be prepared for when you have more options to advertise your products. The most important first step is to develop your positioning statement.
Spend the Time to Create a Positioning Statement
When launching any new brand, or expanding a product line, take the time to craft an effective positioning statement. This statement is the benchmark for how to judge future marketing messages. It helps connect your brand to the customer you are trying to reach. It isn’t a public-facing statement but it should include:
- Category/Industry/Vertical your brand occupies
- Target Audience
- The main benefit to the consumer
- How the brand will deliver on its promise
Kings Garden: An example of a great brand story
I visited many Cannabis brand’s corporate sites. Most do a great job of telling their brand story and segregating their individual products. Kings Garden does an exceptional job of creating its brand story and positioning. But consumers don’t usually go to these sites when they are considering a purchase. Customers go to the dispensary to pick up or order from one of the MANY menu solution providers/aggregators that act as a marketplace and delivery service. These services aren’t always brand-centric and they don’t usually have a lot of information about the product (This will change in the future). Customers may go directly to a dispensary website as well or walk in and purchase.
Kings Garden’s site does an excellent job of telling its brand story. Here are the many reasons they stand apart from the competition and great reasons to buy their product:
- They are the original and largest cultivator in the California Coachella Valley
- They strive to produce consistent, creatively curated, superior strains of cannabis
- #1 recommended brand by budtenders for new smokers
This brand comes across as trustworthy and premium. The visuals connect with their audience. They sum up their brand promise with the statement: “QUALITY, CONSISTENCY, AND VALUE ALL ROLLED INTO ONE.” They don’t just imply this promise, they directly state they strive to produce the weed that weed gets compared to. They keep the promise by upholding the standards they have set for themselves. Unfortunately, this well-crafted brand story isn’t communicated where customers are purchasing.
Weedmaps Menu Solution Provider
I went to WeedMaps to see how they merchandised a particular strain of flower called “First Class Funk” from Kings Garden.
There was a great image of the product and the packaging made it look premium. It was a Hybrid plant but with no description of the effects or ratings. No information was provided that would help a customer make a purchase decision. Some of the menu solution providers give more information, some less. Granted, a few customers come here knowing what they are looking for, but when there is an overwhelming number of brands it is hard to make a selection without more information.
I visited several dispensary sites and some gave more info but it still didn’t provide a sense of the brand. Typically, dispensary sites communicate percentages of indica to sativa, provide a description of the smell and taste, the effects, and validated customer reviews. Here is the issue, First Class Funk is a strain that multiple growers market. So what is the difference between them all? That is where the brand positioning comes into play. Kings Garden is in a great position to expand its brand because of its solid brand story. Dispensaries will start to get more sophisticated, but most aren’t there yet.
Be prepared, advertising cannabis won’t always be this way
Of all people, Charles Koch (yes, the conservative Koch brothers) is giving $25 million dollars to lobby for making cannabis legal. This is on top of the $70 million he has already dropped on the cause. Sure, it is all going to be taxed. But if selling cannabis products can be profitable and still provide taxes, the black market will hopefully decrease. Legal growers who have toed the line can build their brand and their business. Bottom line, establish your brand now. There will be a culling of the herd and the best will survive.