Tag Archive for: cannabis pr company

Is your cannabis brand prepared for a product recall? No one likes to talk about it, but it’s probably not a question of IF, but when. Anyone who has been around consumer products for any period can tell you: product recalls are a fact of life. But for cannabis brands, product recalls are intense because of the regulatory environment and the cost of operating as a cannabis brand. We recently handled crisis communications during a cannabis brand recall. It honored us to be chosen, but it’s never fun to see the immeasurable stress a recall puts on a brand.

Because the cannabis industry is new and highly regulated, and in some locations, a medicinal-only product, cannabis recalls ARE news. A cannabis recall will get local and potentially national media coverage. So, how should cannabis companies prepare for the inevitable recall? In short, these 3 steps will help you tremendously: learn, lean, communicate.

 

Learn the Recall Process From Your State Cannabis Regulatory Body

Because the cannabis industry is new, so are the regulatory bodies that oversee them. Keep in mind your cannabis regulation division may not even have staff members who have started a recall. Get ahead of it.

Ask your regulatory body what their process is for recall. Who will be your contact during a call? What will they need and expect from you? How and when will they inform you? What steps will they take to inform the public? What triggers a recall? Who will be audited in a recall (the brand, the testing facility, the retailer)?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you prepare internally. Plus, having an open and engaging relationship with the regulatory body will ease communications during the recall itself.

Lean into Industry Relationships

Ask your retail partners what their internal product recall processes are. The more you know about how they handle and store products, how they prepare their budtenders for product recalls, the better off you’ll be. Find out if you can collaborate with them on budtender communication and customer notification. Be transparent with your retailers about your process too. You should do the same for any other 3rd party in the supply chain: labs and distributors as well. If your product includes any 3rd party ingredients, then communicate with them too. Tell them who they can contact about questions if they’re doing internal planning.

Create a Crisis Communication Plan

Based on how a cannabis recall happens, preparing your internal steps is critical because you can either take the lead or be pummeled. At the very least, define the first 3 external communication steps your brand will take the moment it knows of a potential or actual recall. You should have a single spokesperson identified, while your supporting cast should know their roles and how you will handle the situation internally.

Create plans for at least two scenarios: one for if your processes and/or procedures are at fault, and one plan for if your processes and procedures are not in question.

At the minimum, you should have a statement to your retailers drafted already, as well as a social media post, an email to customers, and a statement for your website. Your spokesperson should undergo crisis communication training, in front of a camera. You can also have a shortlist of local and industry media outlets you will proactively reach out to during the recall to provide a media statement. Be prepared to be nimble during your crisis process and consider what you might do if there is very little coverage vs. a lot of coverage. Review this plan annually, and make sure everyone knows their role during a cannabis product recall.

 

No one likes to talk about cannabis product recalls. It sends a shiver down everyone’s back. But preparing for a recall helps take the sting out it. Contact us, we’re experts in cannabis PR firm if you need help creating a plan for a cannabis product recall.

Download our special report: Preparing for a Cannabis Recall

What is a top cannabis firm anyway? How important is it that someone else thinks a PR agency is great? What YOU need to know is if a leading cannabis firm is right for YOU. If you are leading a cannabis business or are trying to grow and develop an existing cannabis brand, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is choosing a leading cannabis industry PR firm that understands your business objectives. As the industry explodes and cannabis becomes more accessible in more and more states where it is legal, many cannabis businesses are searching for an agency with whom they can develop a long-term, successful relationship.

To help you make the right choice for your business, we’ve put together a list of qualities you should look for when scouting a PR firm. By following these helpful tips, you’ll be better able to find the best firm for you and your business.

Does The Firm Have Experience In Your Field?

When you are seeking out a top cannabis PR agency, you want one that combines a strong knowledge of the fundamentals with experience in your specific field. A firm that has worked in the cannabis industry is one that understands the challenges your business faces due to the patchwork of state-level laws regulating its production, marketing, and consumption, and one that knows how to appeal to your target audience. The last thing you want is a firm that doesn’t know Facebook’s policy about advertising cannabis on its platform, or has outdated assumptions about the consumers who might be excited about your product.

Does The Agency Maintain Strong Relationships?

It’s important to determine whether the cannabis PR firm knows the major players in the cannabis industry, if it has preexisting relationships with influencers and important publications, and whether it can put you in touch with the consultants and other experts who can help take your cannabis brand to the next level. Having access to a PR team’s vast network of professionals can be incredibly beneficial to your business, so it’s worth asking who they know as well as what they know.

To put it simply, you want a PR firm that is more than just a database — you want a team that has ongoing working relationships with industry insiders and the other cannabis industry personnel who can be your entrée to more opportunities down the road.

Is The Firm The Right Size For Your Business?

You should seek out a cannabis PR firm that compliments the size of your business, one that offers you all the resources you need to flourish but also the personalized attention that your company deserves. If you own a small business, you may not need the resources of a 100-person firm. But you also might require more work than a single freelancer can provide. Finding that balance is critical.

What Is The Staff Like?

Since it’s common to work with one group as you explore PR firms, and another team when you sign with an agency, you should ask questions about the makeup of the team you’ll be working with. Ask each person you’ll be working with about their professional backgrounds and experiences, inquire about their responsibilities as part of the team, and find out why they’re interested in the cannabis field. Lastly, make sure that you have the opportunity to consult with senior-level executives at the firm and confirm that they will be available to provide strategic advice when needed.

Does the Firm Offer Integrated Services?

You should seek out a PR firm that offers an array of services, including earned media (such as press coverage, social media mentions, quote tweets, shares, and reviews) and owned media, also called content development (which encompasses blogs, studies, vlogs, podcasts, and more). You should also ensure that the team has the ability not just to develop content, but to do the hard work that ensures this content is meaningful to your target audience: researching, conducting interviews, and writing in an impactful way.

Does the Firm Work in a Timely and Efficient Manner?

You should also consider whether the firm takes the initiative and puts proactive plans in motion in a timely and efficient manner, rather than waiting around for you to approach them. The last thing you want is a PR team that doesn’t understand your business or your goals, doesn’t regularly strategize to help you accomplish those goals, and makes you reach them yourself.

What is the Turnover Rate for Employees of The Firm? What About Clients?

The average rate of turnover between the agency and their clients will give you an excellent idea of how much other companies trust the agency with their business. How long do their professional relationships usually last? Even if you are only signing a limited contract, would you be able to continue the relationship under a renewed contract? You should also ask what the firm’s employee turnover looks like. Low turnover is always a good sign that the firm is a place where employees enjoy working. Happy employees are better for your business, as they will likely be more invested in your business strategy and in helping you succeed. And less turnover also means that the firm won’t be cycling people in and out of your account — people who may not be familiar with your business and its goals.

What’s The Cost?

Like any businessperson, you’re going to have to settle on a budget, and that budget will influence what services you can afford. It’s important to factor the cost of an effective PR campaign into your budget, as this could make or break your business. You should be upfront about your budget and ask other cannabis businesspeople and peers how much they pay for the services you’re seeking. Being upfront about your budget will ensure that neither your time nor the PR firm’s time is wasted.

Ask For References

You should review what other clients have to say about their experience with the firm. Do they express hostility, indifference, or enthusiasm for the firm? How other clients respond will tell you a lot about what kind of relationships the firm builds with its clients. If your peers don’t get excited about the agency, then it may not be worth your time.

Contact the PR Professionals of Avaans Media

If you are starting a cannabis business or are looking to take your existing business to the next level, contact Avaans Media today. We look forward to discussing your business objectives, introducing you to our team, and determining if we’re the right fit for your needs.

Cannabis Branding Is About To Become Extremely Important To Cannabis CMOs and Founders

Adult-use marijuana is on the ballot and in the minds of thousands of people in the United States this fall. Adult-use, especially in California, because of its market size will change everything for cannabis companies. What should cannabis brands be thinking about in preparation for market expansion? As a cannabis entrepreneur, you might be so busy keeping up that you haven’t given much thought to branding.

Before we jump into our 3 tips for cannabis branding, let’s talk for a minute about what branding is (and isn’t) so we’re all on the same page.

Branding: the emotional response the consumer has to your company and products. 
Branding: the humanity of your company.
Branding:  the often difficult to define, but easy to spot feeling people get when they know whether they want to “hang around” your brand.

 

Maybe the most important question is why should you CARE? Strong brands develop customer loyalty and they sell products for premium prices. Interested?

I thought so.

You know what companies are branding masters? Alcohol and tobacco. Technology. Beverages like soda, water, and sports drinks.

Truly great brands incorporate values, voice, design, and especially the customer into their presence, whether it’s in-person, online, or in-store. Notice I did NOT say that branding is the packing and logo. Those two are important aspects of branding. Logos and packaging should not be the last thing you ever do with branding. Branding should be a cornerstone of culture, communication, and position that your customers continue to relate to.

Strong cannabis branding will be a steady platform from which you make decisions on everything from products to partnerships, hiring and marketing campaigns. Cannabis brands need to nurture and develop their brands to be ready for the expansion of adult use. This is particularly important in California where consumers expect sophisticated brands and branding.

So, regardless of where you are in your branding process, it’s never too late to consider these 3 tips for cannabis brands in the adult-use market:

 

BE REALLY CLEAR: WHO is your customer?

Many people hear this question and they immediately think of demographics. That’s fine, be clear on demographics, it will save you time and money. But dig deeper. Think about your customer’s lifestyle, their other passions, and what motivations you’ll be tapping into when they see your brand.

Are your customers proud proclaimed pot users or have they been an “in-the-closet” user for most of their adult lives? If they aren’t open cannabis users, why is that? Is it because of kids, jobs, cultural fear? The potential of adult-use is tapping into the existing cannabis user or the adult whose perception of cannabis is changing and they’re beginning to see marijuana like a craft beer. This is future of cannabis branding-it’s wide open. You can do some really powerful branding when you understand these deeper aspects of your customers.  Do 2-3 customer profiles as you would if you were writing a bio on someone, this simple exercise can give you extraordinary clarity on your customer.

The potential of adult-use is tapping into the existing cannabis user who is in the closet or the adult whose perception of cannabis is changing even though they aren’t regular marijuana users. These new to marijuana customers will gravitate towards brands that are as well-rounded and credible as the other brands they’re used to buying. This is the future of cannabis branding-it’s wide open. You can do some really powerful branding when you understand these deeper aspects of your customers.

To prepare for these different customers, do 2-3 customer profiles as you would if you were writing a bio on someone, this simple exercise can give you extraordinary clarity on your customer.

 

ASK YOURSELF: Do I really SPEAK to my customer?

Now it’s time to look at the way you speak to your customer? Depending on how you view your brand, your voice might be “friendly-let’s-hang-out” or it might be “knowledgeable advisor” “edgy-hipster” or “couch-locked stoner”. There is room for each of these voices, but not within the same brand.

Whatever your voice is, be sure it’s one that your ideal potential customer can relate to. The cannabis market is expanding beyond the traditional young person’s product and while there’s still room for that branding, the market is expanding.  Today’s marijuana user isn’t necessarily hiding from their parents, they might be hiding it from their kids. I hear a lot of cannabis entrepreneurs say that they absolutely understand their market because they are marketing to their friends. Well, that’s a great start, but the average person only has 338 Facebook friends – you’re going to need your business to be a lot bigger than that, so you may have to dig deep and really think about whether your brand is relatable to a larger audience.

 

REMEMBER: Be consistent!

Now that you’ve identified your customer and the voice, take a hard look around at the rest of your branding. Is your branding consistent from the four senses perspective – does it look, feel, smell, taste like your brand? Would your ideal target customer buy and more importantly recommend to their friends? Sophisticated branding will take all this into account.  Commanding a higher price for your product requires that you consider these elements. Set some branding goals for your company and prioritize based on budgets. But do set them because as the market opens up, the strong brands who have developed loyalty will be the ones truly capitalizing on the future of cannabis branding.

 

The A-Team specializes in converging great brands with marvellous stories the media wants to write about.

Tag Archive for: cannabis pr company

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