In the latest of our series of blogs from Victory Square’s portfolio family, Grow Tech Labs head of marketing, Alex Troll, takes a look at the challenges of marketing cannabis in the post-legalization era.
Let’s start with a little summary of Canada’s Cannabis Act. For those of you who haven’t looked it over yet, it basically prohibits the marketing of cannabis or cannabis accessories by not allowing brands to communicate price or distribution information, use testimonials or endorsements and cannot glamorize cannabis in any way. There are also many restrictions on packaging and labeling. Cannabis branding cannot depict a person, character or animal. It discourages bright colors and any lifestyle images that could appeal to young people.
Aphria CEO, Vic Neufeld, in a recent interview with the CBC said;
‘How do you differentiate your brand versus somebody else’s brand when you can’t convey messaging on key differences of quality, taste, or packaging?’
“The biggest obstacle to all licensed producers, not just Aphria, is the handcuffing placed on advertising. “I’m concerned there’s going to be a few that bend the line if not break it and what’s the enforcement?” said Neufeld. “The consumers are going to be confused and it’s not good.”
The regulations are stricter than alcohol and tobacco advertising laws and it doesn’t look like we’re going to see change anytime soon. So, how do you execute your companies marketing in a landscape like this?
Below are five ways to market your cannabis company without breaking the rules…
- Promote true facts about your product including research, strain types, CBD or THC levels. All of this is allowed and customers value factual information, especially when they’re choosing cannabis for health reasons.
- Share your company’s values and story. In this day and age customer brand loyalty is so important. You build brand loyalty by having values that your customers align with. Millennials want to support brands that are making a positive change in our world, so find an authentic brand story that differentiates you and creates a cult following – not for your product – but for what you stand for.
- Share the unique processes you use to create your product or promote the high quality of your product. These help to differentiate you and are both allowed.
- Get face to face with your customers through events and conferences.
- Have a strong social media page and following so you can then direct customers to get in touch with you for more information.