As regulations around cannabis continue to evolve, it’s no surprise that the world of cannabis marketing has rapidly advanced as well. For our latest written Q&A session, we checked in our cannabis expert and brand strategist, Liz Rogan, to ask some burning questions around today’s cannabis marketing.
In this interview, Liz discusses how cannabis brands can stand out in today’s market, current challenges and opportunities in today’s landscape, and platforms for convening as a cannabis community as the industry matures.
Read the interview:
How would you describe the current landscape of the industry? What should all brands be aware of when entering or trying to maintain a foothold in the current market?
The cannabis industry is growing exponentially and changing rapidly with more states coming online, and many more are poised to, with initiatives on ballots, this is truly the birth of an industry across our nation.
This opens up the playing field, not only nationally but also worldwide, to a plethora of companies competing for market share and shelf space. This is the time to establish your brand and position your brand for continued success. Hiring an agency gives you the tools that make the difference in your brand’s success. Using current data & market intelligence strategies to define personas and brand strategies to best tell your brand story allows for a larger view. A trusted agency partner with an experienced team of professionals has these tools and the expertise to steer you around common pitfalls and position for success. In the current & future markets, positioning is key: the right agency partner is critical to success.
What are the most common challenges you see with cannabis brands trying to make it in the market?
There are so many brands that are competing for limited shelf space in dispensaries and distribution companies only want to carry brands that with large volume sales, it’s hard for a new brand to compete with some already established brands. Having key differentiators and a strong brand story along with intelligence-based marketing strategies has been shown to be a successful combination in the CA market.
What about the challenges specifically with dispensaries and retail in California? And in the nation?
Due to local licensing regulations, there are limited cannabis dispensaries and delivery services. Some jurisdictions have banned all cannabis businesses. This means there is limited shelf space for cannabis brands, nationwide. There are many varying regulations in different states, and regulations continue to be finalized. It is crucial to go in completely informed, and have contingency plans. The market is also open for innovation and disruption as this is the birth of an industry. It is costly, I see many brands fail, in this new world, intelligence is key to success.
Can share about your recent work with cannabis brands? How does your work position them for success?
I work with Oniracom as a Subject Matter Expert in all aspects of cannabis branding from legacy brands like Flow Kana in California and new disruptive brands like Manna Molecular in Massachusetts. I bring over 16 years of experience in the cannabis industry and daily involvement with current cannabis business news, policy, medical education, research and consumer trends. I also help decipher industry practices, jargon, methodologies as our team works with brands to craft intelligent strategies. I help parse out the details to make sure everything is in alignment as the brand is built and launched to success. We help define the ideal customer personas and how to target them in every step of the process- like going from driving on cobblestones to driving on a freshly paved road, we help make the ride smoother so brands can speed up their success.
What are those brands doing to set themselves apart from the competition?
Flow Kana is the best known purveyor of sun-grown cannabis in northern CA. They have taken the lead in highlighting the farmers and small farms from which they source and helping create a sustainable industry as a distributor in the supply chain. With their parent company, Flow Cannabis Co. as a copacker for multiple brands, Flow Kana, leans into the benefits of sun-grown cannabis for the plant (more terpenes, fuller entourage effect), the farmer (sense of place, beginning of the story, honoring the legacy), the consumer (entourage effect, Flow State) and for the planet (sustainable, carbon neutral).
Our client Manna Molecular has developed a fast-acting dissolvable sublingual tablet that goes under your tongue, in addition to transdermal patches, female pleasure serum, and more. In Mass, there is much less cannabis flower available on the market. Mass does not have the huge agricultural component like CA, nor the rich legacy of Northern CA cannabis, or the medical laws (Prop 215) that allowed CA to start medical cannabis cultivation, in addition to the climate differences, so cannabis flower is less available in dispensaries overall, and products made with cannabis concentrates are more available for consumers. SpeedTabs are providing consumers with reliable, rapid onset, head-high (instead of an edible body high) that helps fill this need for consumers in a fun and creative way. Our research shows that many consumers are looking for fast-acting products that are discrete and don’t smell. Consumables and topicals are attractive to a wide range of users from medical patients to the canna-curious.
Lastly, let’s talk about Clubhouse. How is the audio space providing a less censored and more open platform for communicating about the industry?
Clubhouse is a digital audio platform that runs through an app (called Clubhouse) that is open to users worldwide. While it has some basic rules it is not censored and typically not recorded but this may be changing. This allows people from all over the world & all different industries to come together and exchange dialogue organically on many topics that affect us all. It has become a place that many people, not only but also in the cannabis industry as the go-to place for information and insight on breaking news. As a correspondent on the State of Cannabis NewsHour, I enjoy reviewing breaking news and getting many different perspectives. Clubhouse has a huge audience and is a great way to network and reach other people. As far it has been extremely open to Cannabis and we hope it continues to be that way- join our club (State of Cannabis) and tune in weekdays from 9-10am PST on the Clubhouse app. We just reached over 15K followers today and have sponsors coming on board- the first one is Ease!