Tag Archive for: hiring a PR firm

Want to know the advice I give colleagues when they ask me what they should know about hiring an agency? I tell them something they haven’t thought about: throw out all your old questions when you’re hiring any agency.  This advice surprises people, but let me explain. It’s important when you’re hiring an agency to ask questions that point to your needs, not some random checklist. What to look for in a PR firm should be specific to you. Here are the worst questions to ask your agency and what to ask instead.

How Does Your Team Learn About New Industries?”

 Instead of

Do You Have Industry Experience?”

This is the default question everyone asks. The reality is that whether an agency has worked within your industry isn’t a success indicator. The more important indicator of success is how engaged your PR team is with the world and how they approach learning something new. What you want to know is how intellectually curious your team is because that actually matters more.

Agencies with narrow niches are really valuable in highly regulated industries, like the cannabis industry, where there are hundreds of different laws to understand, many of which vary by state. But for most industries, narrow niches don’t really get you, the client, much of advantage – even in PR, which is famous for relationships, I’ll get into that more deeply in a minute. But even if working in a particular niche is important, it’s still more important that the team be naturally curious.

Why? For one, some of the best ideas come from exposure to other industries and customers. But why do you want an agency that works closely with your competitors? And why doesn’t it matter in PR? When choosing a PR agency, it’s more important that your agency can predict trends and find opportunities for your company to make or comment on news.

“Have You Worked with Companies of Our Size?”

 Instead of

“What Companies Have You Worked With?”

It’s easy to be impressed by the logos of major brands on the pages of a PR firm’s website. But ask yourself what that means to you. Working with huge international firms is its own skill because of the layers of stakeholders. But huge brands move slower, and their stakes differ from a startup, a challenger brand, a company breaking new boundaries in an emerging industry, or a hypergrowth company that is pre-IPO.

You can define “size” by employee count or revenue, or even IPO status, but the challenges of hiring an agency vary depending on the company’s size. For example, a company with a CMO, a few Marketing VPs, and dozens of marketing managers has human capital, but they also have a more complicated web of brand perspectives and departmental goals. Whereas a company of $10-$30 million in revenue has different human capital considerations and is likely to have a CEO who is, at least sometimes, engaged with the PR agency. It’s not uncommon for our agency to deal directly with CEOs, and working with CEOs is very different than working with a team of marketing managers. Companies in growth phases move faster, have higher expectations, and perhaps haven’t worked with a PR agency before, which means there will be some education along the way. If you’ve never worked with a PR agency before, you don’t want to work with an agency that doesn’t specialize in companies that are new to PR.

For one, CEOs of $10-$30 million companies are very often an integral part of the company’s brand and, in fact, the de facto spokesperson. Multinational, public companies leverage their CEOs differently to different stakeholders – investors, for example –  than smaller companies can and should. It’s also a matter of budget. A $250,000 annual budget, while typical for ambitious companies, isn’t much of a PR budget at all for household name brands. And why is that REALLY important? Because you want to be with a PR agency that sees your $250,000 budget as important rather than a small drop in the bucket.

So find an agency that works with companies of your size and agency experience. That’s actually more important to the success of your business and PR campaign.

“How Do You Contribute to Your Clients’ Business Goals?” 

Instead of
“What Do You Cost?”

This gets right to the heart of it, doesn’t it? What’s your target ROI? The question to ask your PR Agency should dig right to the heart of what you need. Does your agency know how to develop a campaign that helps you secure VC funding? Or how about during your pre-IPO phase? Maybe you want to build a premium team before a merger or acquisition. PR supports cross-functional business outcomes.

Like any awareness or marketing initiative, PR is OK in a vacuum. However, when it’s given room to breathe and really support your business, then it really takes off. So don’t silo your PR. But also, it’s like any investment: it gets amortized over time.  The good news about PR versus something like advertising is that PR lasts forever. Just like you don’t turn on PR as fast as advertising, it also doesn’t turn. Long after a PR agency is gone, your PR remains. PR is an investment you make in your business, and it’s the most valuable investment you can make.

“How Seasoned is the Team?” 

Instead of

“Who is On The Team?”

This might be one of the top questions to ask your PR agency. Seasoned, experienced PR professionals have been through the wringer. They’ve been through crisis, they’ve seen economic upheaval, they’ve handled recalls, they have been in competitive dog fights. These are the kind of team members you want on your team. It’s not uncommon for agencies to have really junior members do the bulk of the account work.

Much PR work is reading between the lines. Younger team members miss the nuance when they put together a media list; they miss the tie-ins that work because of a small detail. An experienced PR Team saves you countless hours of educating a more junior PR team on business basics, striking the right tone at the right time – and importantly, reading the room. Emotional intelligence often comes with experience, and emotional intelligence moves the needle faster and in a more sophisticated way. Plus, experienced PR team members can head off problems before they become one, saving your brand dollars on the actual bottom line and valuations.

 

“How Are You Incorporating Trends?”

Instead of

“Do you use AI?”

Instead of asking about a certain trend, start the conversation asking about your PR agency’s approach to trends. This is important because it will reveal more about the culture and their client approach than asking about a single trend. You might follow up your initial question with a specific trend like AI, metaverse, or influencers.

PR is rife with trends that come and go in a poof, and it’s a PR agency’s job to understand the macroeconomics of whether jumping on the latest trend is right for their clients’ particular situation, including PR budget and PR strategy. Lean into the decades of expertise your PR agency has to help you prioritize trends and stunts.

 

Whether it’s content and SEO, or advertising or PR, there is always a shift in the universe, and agencies are adept at understanding the shifting sands. But there are more agencies than ever before. Even the best PR agencies aren’t always the easiest to find. Agencies today provide more value to businesses than ever before, but it’s more important than ever for you to find the right fit, because the stakes have never been higher.

Please join us in celebrating our inclusion in this year’s Inc. Magazine Power Partners Awards – read more about how we qualified. Here’s a hint: our clients.

Choosing a B2B PR agency can feel overwhelming. For one, it’s all promises at the start, and for two, what’s REALLY the difference between PR agencies? Well, it’s important to understand distinctions, but only within the context of how they apply to you. It’s not just about PR pricing, realistically, the key elements to choosing a B2B PR firm require you to know your needs first. But here’s the advice I give my peers when they’re hiring an agency.

Do They Work With B2B Companies Like Me?

Choosing a B2B PR agency means knowing who you are now and where you’re going. Where you’re headed may be more important than who you are now.  And ask for B2B PR examples or case studies. When you look at the case studies, look to see how they are like you, if they’re where you want to be – and if the growth measurements are ones you can identify with. Yes, you can be impressed by tier 1 coverage in outlets like Bloomberg, or TechCrunch, but dig deeper and look at the situation and the outcomes.

Every PR agency has an ideal client with whom they work best. Don’t be afraid to ask: who do you work best with? For example, here at Avaans Media, we’re very clear. We work with very ambitious and fast-growing companies; for us that typically means companies that are pre-IPO startups. Some agencies specialize in tech PR, and some niche into industries like AI PR, cleantech PR, or cannabis PR.   Some agencies prefer to work with publicly traded companies, some prefer to work with clients in a particular sector (for us, that’s emerging industries).

My personal advice to my entrepreneurial colleagues: choose a PR agency who has experience with companies that have the same goals as you.

 

What’s the Experience Level of Your Team

Experience matters. An experienced team is skilled at scanning the horizons for the media trends that will impact your business and reputation the most while also being able to execute your tactical needs on a day-to-day basis.

A lot of times, the person you meet with about working with the agency never works on your account. So, that seasoned, wise exec is not the one solving your problems. It’s common for agencies to have inexperienced people doing the heavy lifting on PR accounts. How seasoned and wise is your PR team going to be? This is a really important question worth asking. I really believe one of the top reasons we’re a top-rated boutique PR Agency is because our team is executive-level experienced. Everyone on our team has a minimum of ten years of experience in PR, many of them with much more than that. As importantly, they can all discuss B2B media trends and their impact on your business.

My advice to my colleagues: make sure your team includes oversight from someone with at least twenty years PR experience. Your day-to-day person might be more like 15-17 years of experience, but you want someone who has been through funding rounds, recessions, wins and failures who oversees the strategy.

How Will They Measure Success?

There are a few key B2B KPIs that PR agencies can measure independently. But working with your PR agency, you can really start to see traction on outcomes if you’re working collaboratively. These could be business KPIs like moving the need in your business – things like sales impact, time to decision, and number of incoming inquiries. PR can impact Big Hairy Goals – if your B2B PR agency can’t show you how to measure these things, they might not think big enough for you.

Choosing a B2B PR agency that builds programs based on your goals is paramount, and for that, you need to be clear on your goals; and if you want to really maximize your investment, open the kimono a bit. If your goals are sales-oriented, have your salespeople talk to your PR agency about the problems they face in the marketplace. If your goals are related to an IPO, then share with your PR agency more information about your timeline, your targets, and your concerns. A great B2B PR agency can help you avoid pitfalls. If you’re looking for more venture funding as a PR goal, then make sure your PR team knows that and can share their experiences with you.

Bottom line advice to my colleagues: open the kimono and give your agency the room they need to be your partner, but when you do that, hold them accountable and keep make sure you’re both tracking KPIs.

B2B PR Pricing: Where Do You Fit In?

Yes, it’s essential to know your PR budget – but what’s equally important is to know the budgets of your agency’s clients.  This is one of those moments where bigger isn’t always better. For example, if your budget is under $175,000 annually, you probably don’t want one of the country’s largest PR firms, even though technically, they’d probably accept you, depending on the scope of work. Why? Because you’re likely to get shoe-horned into a PR team with little experience and a lot of turnover. Meanwhile, you can expect a consistent, experienced, and highly engaged team for that budget at a mid-range agency. And if you’re paying $5K/month at an agency, you simply aren’t paying enough. Agencies can’t do outstanding work for that budget; a freelancer can make it work, but a team of experienced, engaged, proactive PR executives can’t do the work needed for that budget.

Bottom line: when choosing a B2B PR agency, align your budget with the experience you’re looking for. You might not get the best for your team if you’re at the bottom of an agency’s scale. If you’re at the top of the scale, you can expect a white glove experience.

 

What’s the PR Plan?

One struggle we most commonly hear about hiring a PR firm is not knowing what you’re going to get. That’s true. The way most B2B PR agencies work is they provide you with a proposal about their program without having a firm grasp on the details of your business. Avaans Media solves this issue with our unique strategy-based PR pricing. This enables you to know exactly what you’re going to get before you make a massive commitment to a PR agency. The reality is, unless you’re really experienced working with PR agencies, you probably struggle to differentiate between the plans you get or the plans you get differentiate on things that won’t really matter to your outcome (like fancy proprietary platforms or reporting tools). Instead, focus on outcomes in your PR plan and ask your PR agency to provide you with expected results so you have a clear idea of how your PR plan will help your company grow.

Bottom-line advice: Get to the numbers fast. What does your PR agency realistically hope to accomplish?

In the fast-paced world of consumer products, standing out from the competition and capturing the attention of target audiences is paramount. Public relations (PR) plays a crucial role in creating brand awareness, establishing credibility, increasing revenue, and generating consumer excitement. When looking to hire a PR firm, you may be taking one of two strategies. The first would be to maximize the impact of PR strategies; consumer product companies often rely on the expertise of PR firms that offer tailored packages designed specifically for their needs. The second strategy, for consumer product startups could be to dip their feet into the PR agency relationship with a PR service bundle that is specific in scope. Hence, the fees are lower, and the brand can learn more about a particular PR firm.  This blog post will explore the differences between PR service bundles for consumer products and how they can help businesses thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

  1. Crafting a Compelling Brand Story

Consumer products are not just items on a shelf; they are part of people’s lives, offering solutions, experiences, and emotions. If you’re a consumer product startup, your PR firm offering may need to include branding initiatives and research to craft a compelling brand story that resonates with target audiences.

By understanding the product’s unique value proposition, PR professionals can develop narratives that captivate consumers, evoke emotions, and create a lasting connection. These packages often include

  • message development,
  • storytelling techniques
  • content creation
  • brand image: ensure a consistent and compelling brand image across various channels
  1. Influencer Partnerships and Product Placements

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for consumer product promotion. PR  packages for influencers or journalists leverage influencer partnerships to amplify brand reach and credibility. By identifying and collaborating with influential individuals in relevant niches, PR professionals can generate authentic product endorsements, unboxing videos, and positive reviews. Additionally, these PR service bundles often include earned media opportunities, product placement opportunities, and securing features in TV shows, movies, or popular media outlets, allowing for increased visibility and exposure.

  1. Media Relations and Product Launches

A successful product launch can significantly impact consumer perception and sales. PR firm packages for consumer products include strategic media relations to generate buzz and coverage surrounding new product releases. With these PR packages – Avaans calls these PR Sprints-, PR professionals work closely with media outlets, journalists, and bloggers to secure product reviews, and feature articles; sometimes with an eye on digital PR for premium SEO links. Through these efforts, businesses can build anticipation, create excitement, and gain valuable media exposure, ultimately driving consumer interest and sales.

  1. Social Media Engagement and Influencer Events

Social media has transformed the way consumers engage with brands. Social media targeted PR firm packages recognize the importance of a strong social media presence for consumer products. These packages include social media management, content creation, and community engagement strategies. PR professionals leverage social media platforms to share product updates, engage with consumers, and foster brand loyalty. They may also organize influencer events or collaborations, providing opportunities for influencers to experience the product firsthand and share their authentic experiences with their followers.

    1. Crisis Management and Reputation Protection

In the consumer product industry, maintaining a positive reputation is crucial. PR firm packages are designed to handle potential crises and protect brand reputation in the face of challenges. These packages include proactive crisis management strategies, such as preparing crisis communication plans and monitoring online conversations. In times of crisis, PR professionals act swiftly, ensuring transparent and timely communication to address concerns and mitigate any potential damage to the brand’s reputation.

    1. Content Packages in Digital PR World

As media continues to evolve, building content is vital to building awareness and consumer affinity. From contributed content to blog posts to videos content is still king. Moreover, content offers many ways to repurpose and reuse, from social media to email marketing to investor presentations.

Ensuring your content aligns with your overall goals and brand messaging is squarely in the capabilities of a full-service PR firm. But even if you choose not to use your PR firm to build the content, part of a full-service PR option should include collaboration with your content producers to ensure message consistency.

 

Conclusion

For consumer product companies, PR firm packages offer a powerful toolkit to elevate brand visibility, establish credibility, and drive consumer excitement. You may be able to reduce PR costs by sticking with a specific PR package with a limited scope, like some of the PR service bundles recommended above, or you may wish to have a more tailored PR strategy with a bespoke PR plan.

These packages are tailored to the unique needs of consumer product businesses, providing strategic guidance, media relations, social media engagement, crisis management, and more. By harnessing the expertise of executive level PR professionals, consumer product companies can create compelling brand stories, leverage influenced partnerships, execute successful product launches, and protect their brand reputation. Embracing the services provided by PR firm packages is a strategic investment that can fuel consumer interest, foster brand loyalty, and propel consumer product businesses to new heights of success.

Purpose-driven public relations means the brand proactively builds incorporates values that impact social, cultural, and environmental issues. A true purpose-driven company makes corporate choices within its purpose framework, even when it means purpose over profits.

Truthfully, public relations aren’t purpose-driven, a brand is purpose-driven. Public relations is simply a lever a purpose-driven brand can use to improve the world around them. Building a purpose-driven brand is an inside-out job. They aren’t PR campaigns or PR ideas; they are a cultural way of thinking that’s internalized by everyone in the company.

[3 minute read]

The Importance of Internalizing Purpose

There are lots of ways a brand can support its customers, community, and the globe meaningfully. Cause partnerships, and donation campaigns, are all relevant PR campaigns, but they aren’t purpose-driven. Purpose-driven companies take the long view on purpose and impact.

Internalization distinguishes purpose-driven brands. When everyone from the Board, to the CEO to the janitor walks the talk of purpose, then a brand has authentically implemented a purpose-driven brand. This also means when employees face choices, they incorporate the purpose into their decision-making. This can include employee hiring, employee programs, purchasing, and product decisions. It also means employees feel safe in making a purpose-informed choice because they know they’re acting within the company’s ethos; their choice is supported and even celebrated.

 

Should Purpose-Driven Initiatives Even Have a PR Component?

The deciding factor on this issue is the “why,” behind the initiative. Every day, businesses from Fortune 500 all the way to emerging industries are making decisions that have a social impact, and most of the time, these decisions don’t get the credit they deserve. But it’s not one decision, or one campaign, or one person who makes purpose – it’s people moving in unison making decisions that impact millions.

For example, let’s take eggs. When you go to the grocery, you face a lot of buying choices. Cage-free eggs, organic eggs, local eggs, inexpensive eggs. Many of these egg producers are balancing product, purpose, and price. Even though the organic or cage-free eggs are more expensive, it’s likely the margins on those eggs are considerably less than the mass-produced eggs. It’s also very likely that the producers of the cage-free or organic eggs are making other choices that cost more – maybe they buy the more expensive food, maybe they supplement their electricity with solar power. These are all purpose-driven decisions that are really important, but they won’t make news. What may make the news is the impact or the multiple steps they take for their purpose might make news. The people behind these choices may have interesting stories to tell. There will be PR opportunities, but they require real storytelling. Therefore, it’s important to have experienced purpose-driven PR agencies who can tell ethos and purpose stories.

Brands should have PR at the table when incorporating purpose-driven ethos, but PR should be part of the purpose, not the purpose of the purpose.

 

Are Purpose-Driven Brands Born or Made?

Both and neither. Some brands are founded in purpose, we can all name a few. Other brands grow into purpose. Both are as legitimate as their ability to stick to their ethos. It’s important for both types of purpose-driven brands to be authentic. Just because a brand is founded in purpose doesn’t mean it won’t lose its way. And just because a brand develops purpose doesn’t entirely absolve them from past actions. All brands should be very careful with their initiatives because consumers are getting fantastic at sniffing out disingenuous missions. These disingenuous missions create consumer distrust and may even run afoul of today’s cancel culture. A brand is better off doing nothing than taking on duplicitous or insincere purpose-driven initiatives.

 

If your company is considering a purpose-driven plan, please download our guide and call us. We can help you and your team navigate the exciting opportunities – and avoid the pitfalls – for purpose-driven brands.

What Should You Really Be Look For In A PR Firm?

Whenever I talk to someone hiring a PR firm, I really have empathy. We know, hiring a PR firm can be daunting. With increasing frequency, we’re hearing stories from clients who have experienced “bad PR.” We hate to hear that, because we know it’s important for our entire professional to provide exceptional services. More importantly, we know it’s important to you when making a PR investment. What should you ask before hiring a modern PR firm?

We truly believe many of these stories are because of client and agency being a mismatch rather than a “bad PR firm.” Taking a deeper look at PR before hiring a PR firm can save you money, and time. We can attribute much of this to the vast distinctions between how PR agencies operate and handle their clients. The intention of this piece is to provide you with questions we would be asking OUR PR firm before we hired them, and why those questions are important. Also, consider these “6 great questions you can ask us before hiring Avvans PR”

6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Next PR Firm

Do You Understand Our Product?

Ask yourself how important a baseline understanding of your product or industry is to your communications. We’ve heard story after story of people unhappy with their PR firm because their PR firm doesn’t understand an emerging industry’s regulations or technology. Understanding the industry isn’t just important from a regulatory and technical perspective, it’s also the ability to monitor relevant news, understand what’s relevant (and what isn’t) and move quickly. Now, that’s not to say that a beauty PR can’t handle B2B PR for the industry, but expect to educate your firm.

What tradeshows and conferences has your team attended?
Does your PR firm understand what makes your product distinct within your industry?
What publications are writing about your vertical?

Before Hiring a PR Firm, Establish Clearly Defined Ways of Measuring Success for PR

Most companies today want consistent placement, strategic oversight, and outstanding communication. But what else? In a mature, less regulated industry, a PR firm typically works with multiple other firms from branding to experiential to an ad agency.

PR is THE leading brand trust and awareness tool.

In addition to earned media, companies should be looking at additional metrics for PR, such as SEO value. Website traffic, brand mentions, brand name reach, and even share of voice are all KPIs that are relevant, depending on the overall strategy. Your PR firm should be ready and able to provide those kinds of metrics to you every month. Changes in public perception or decreased sales cycle are also metrics with which PR can support. If you’re measuring your PR firm against KPIs like this, work with your PR firm to set a baseline and a reasonable timeframe.

To really maximize your PR, look to incorporate your content, whether it’s through your PR agency’s content services, or your own, be sure to align the key messages and the topics.

Is the Fee Structure Fair & Does It Make Sense?

Most PR firms work on a retainer, so make sure you have an understanding of what’s included in your retainer?

Does the firm charge for wire releases?
Is branded content included, and if so, does that extend to graphic design?
Is there a markup on expenses incurred by the PR agency and if so, what is it?
Are off-site activations included?
How are hours tracked?

There’s no single way to manage a retainer, so asking questions like this upfront will give you a deeper understanding. Be fearless about asking these questions, after all, you’re the client. You should expect a rationale that isn’t arbitrary. While you may view this as a negotiation opportunity, be wary of cutting the budget to the point where your brand isn’t on the radar daily. You want your PR firm engaged with your brand on a daily basis – make sure you’re getting that because the alternative often provides unsatisfactory results. A great PR firm will be transparent about their billing methods.  Financial terms form the foundation of your relationship with your PR firm. Get that right and find a balance that works for you and your PR firm.

Look for Good Personal Chemistry in Your PR Firm

While this one is tough to put on a spreadsheet, asking some tough questions will often reveal the quality of the chemistry. As an engaged client, you should be working with your cannabis PR experts regularly and you REALLY want that process to be enjoyable. Make sure your company culture meshes well with your cannabis PR firm’s value system.  Teams who like one another, work better together. If you’re not gelling with someone in the first call, chances are, that’s not going to change.

Compatability breeds productivity and results.

Before Hiring Your Next PR Firm, Consider: Location, Location, Location

Before you start narrowing down your PR firms, decide how important location is to you. We think having account presence in major journalism markets, like Los Angeles and New York is a priority, but if you’re the person who needs to meet face-to-face once a week, acknowledge that and find a firm close to your base of operations and hire a PR firm that’s near by.

Flexibility AND Systems

Pay close attention to the systems your PR firm uses and also take notice of their flexibility.

For starters, there should also be a clearly defined exit clause in the contract.

Who owns content?
How will the PR firm handle future press inquires when/if the engagement ends?
What is the cancelation agreement?

Your PR should have systems and processes in place, but those systems and processes should also be nimble enough to manage the PR world. For example, getting a press release right is exceptionally important, but it shouldn’t take your PR firm a week to write it. You should be able to review the first draft within hours on an emergency or breaking news circumstance. On the other hand, there should be a consistent drum beat and strategy behind media relations.  Which bring us to:

A Strategic Approach That Makes Sense

Before hiring, your  PR firm should be able to articulate an approach and strategy that makes sense to you. While credible PR firms won’t reveal details about clients, they should be able to articulate some case studies of  PR strategies and why they worked. For example, provide an experience that required a decision to respond to industry news. When, where, and how you respond to breaking industry news is determined by your brand strategy, BUT your PR should be able to articulate a strategy and when/why it worked. Your PR firm should have some strategic storylines and outlines in mind for your brand, which proves they’ve done a little research. Even if they aren’t perfectly on-brand, at least you’re starting with a strategy that is better than starting from zero. Avaans takes a slightly different approach by providing strategic research and competitive analysis before you even work with us.

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 Product 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