Tag Archive for: los angeles cannabis pr

Should your cannabis company double down on a marketing or PR campaign during 420? It’s popular for marketing firms and PR agencies to develop elaborate campaigns during this famous cannabis holiday. But is it worth it?

Maybe.

Who Are Your Cannabis Customers?

It depends on what kind of cannabis business you have and who your customers are. Today’s cannabis buyers aren’t ALL celebrating 420. Lots of people have to go to work, take care of kids, or have other responsibilities that still happen on that day – but they might view 420 promotions to stock up on their favorites, either before or after the day itself, but they might not be particularly engaged with a 420 PR campaign.

For example, if you’re a cannabis dispensary, your core customer is probably expecting discounts. But they’re also getting discounts from every other dispensary, and probably a few brands. Would you get more bang for your buck with a “prepare for 420” campaign, or maybe a “replenish your stash” campaign AFTER 420?

In 2021, the Eaze Cannabis Report identified several days that were bigger sales days than 420 – and a lot of those holidays are all but ignored by many cannabis brands, while journalists are still looking for holiday gift guide inclusions.

If you’re a 420 B2B company, you probably know better than to run any kind of promotion to your B2B cannabis customers – it’s a time of year that is particularly stressed for cannabis brands with consumer customers.

Can You Create a Splash?

What about CPG cannabis brands? A lot of cannabis brands will use 420 as an opportunity to create a word of mouth or cannabis PR campaign. But is that the time for your brand? If your idea shows an incredible understanding of your community, or is truly newsworthy, then it very well may be a great time to grab that coveted coverage, but it probably comes at a diluted share of voice against your competitors.

Does Your Budget Compete?

Is a 420 PR campaign even in your budget? If you don’t have a budget that competes with your aspirational competitor, then you might very well be better off developing an omnichannel or a PR campaign at a different time of year, that gives you a great share of the attention. Think about what Amazon did with Prime Day, and consider ways you could own a day when no one else is looking.  It’s one way you can make your PR budget go further.

Or you could look at 420 to open the conversation with a whole new audience through a guerilla marketing or word-of-mouth PR stunt that creates buzz.

Activism and impact are a core part of the 420 culture. 420 might be the start of a year-long purpose-driven initiative for one of the many social and cultural causes important to your community.

There’s no right or wrong answer to whether of not a 420 PR campaign is right for your brand. It’s more a matter of whether 420 fits in with your strategy.

 

 

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

As of today, there are 108 cannabis business tradeshows and expos around the world listed on our conference resource. It’s near impossible to go to them all and more importantly when you choose one, how do you turn an event into a consumer or cannabis industry PR opportunity?

 

We’re coming up on the annual big daddy of cannabis conferences: MJ Biz. It’s easily the largest single show in North America. If you’re planning on exhibiting, you might be thinking about how you’ll stand out and get PR at MJ Biz. Lean on your cannabis pr agency to turn your next conference into a cannabis event marketing opportunity. Since you’re spending significant time, energy, and money to be at a tradeshow or conference, it’s really important that you maximize the investment. The very last thing you want to do is walk away from a cannabis tradeshow wondering if it will make any impact on your bottom line. There are multitudes of reasons to go to cannabis events and conferences, mainly because the networking with thought leaders, colleagues, and clients, (more on that later), but be clear on how why your strategies. Little known tip: I used to be an owner for an industry trade show, so I’ve seen how even small companies can become great with some elbow grease and creativity. I’ve seen brand leaders come out of nowhere and suddenly be the toast of the town, by simply being smart about how they leverage a tradeshow.

Let Cannabis PR and Cannabis Event Marketing Work Together:

It’s critical to collaborate with cannabis PR agency on cannabis event marketing. Whether you’re doing CBD marketing or THC marketing, each of these cannabis events has a cannabis marketing and PR role to play. Regardless of what size your booth is, think about how you can and will activate on and off the floor. The obvious answer is sponsorships, which you can approach from a brand goal perspective. If your goal is simply awareness and you can afford the branding dollars, a major sponsorship can offer many CBD marketing and THC marketing benefits including SEO, cannabis business perception, and usually, some “insider and VIP” benefits. But even if you can’t afford one of the top-tier sponsorships, there are still a multitude of PR-worthy cannabis event marketing options available to you.

One often overlooked cannabis business PR opportunity: consider sponsoring a notable speaker (besides yourself) for a session that will drive mentions and press for far less. Maybe sponsoring a section of the floor makes more sense or work with the conference organizers on an off-the-floor event value-add (who is paying for the champagne at the cocktail reception?). For cannabis event marketing to stand out, it’s not enough to sponsor, be thinking about the value of “word of mouth,” and activations that will be memorable and get people talking. This is where your PR agency can help you develop cannabis event marketing strategies that fit in well with your brand development and PR budget.

Employ Big Fish/Small Pond Cannabis PR & Cannabis Marketing Strategies

What if you need to hit one of the larger shows, but you feel overwhelmed by the multitude of choices that aren’t tier 1 tradeshow or conferences? This is a great time to dig deep and choose another tradeshow or expo which you’d like to own. Owning the conference at a regional conference may well provide more cannabis branding and marketing benefits than being in booth 2067 at the largest conference in the country. Don’t let your FOMO dictate your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR budgets – be strategic about what you’re planning on doing at each conference. Be clear on the objectives and stay laser-focused on supporting those strategies.  Bring together your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR firms (if they’re different) to view each conference through an ROI, press, and word of mouth opportunity and stack rank your options.

Host Your Own Cannabis PR-Worthy Event

The cannabis industry loves to network. We’re tied to one another navigating this wild-wild west and we know: personal connections, trusted collaborators, friends, and partners make all the difference.

You don’t need a celebrity to earn media at your event (it doesn’t hurt though), but you do need to consider creative options. Gone are the days that simply providing THC and CBD samples are enough to pull together a crowd.
What can you do that’s on-brand to activate the space?
Is there a space that’s noteworthy in your area?
Can you partner with a nonprofit?
How can you create synergies between your brand and the press?
What access can you provide the press?
What insider opportunities can you give them and your most engaged customers and clients?

Shhhh…My Most Important Cannabis Marketing & PR Tip:

My insider tip on how to turn your own cannabis event into a cannabis PR worthy opportunity? Look around at what everyone else is doing – and do something else. Be the first, the original, the most fun. Be something notable, and it will earn you press for days. Cannabis industry PR agencies are usually particularly great at developing ideas that will capture the imagination of the “been-there-done-that press.” If your existing cannabis PR firm is anything like us – they have a few ideas they’ve been dying to deploy. Here’s a bonus tip: if you don’t have a big budget, don’t make your event do the heavy lifting during major seasonal or industry blow-outs. A great cannabis event marketing strategy is to hold an event during a “downtime” in the industry, which will invigorate and inspire your stakeholders, press, and customers.