The legalization of cannabis has brought immense popularity for the industry in recent years. Thankfully, even the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t brought a massive downturn for the domain and it is doing comparably well through the crisis.
As people are battling with social isolation, stress, and other after-effects of the pandemic, the use of weed products has seen an uptick. It becomes imperative for brands to take advantage of the opportunity and focus their efforts on growth at this stage.
However, you cannot just expect to achieve tangible results with the conventional branding tactics in the new normal. Just like the situation is unprecedented, there is a need to think outside the box and come up with ideas that match the challenges of the pandemic-affected markets and consumer expectations.
What the cannabis industry requires right now are strategies that deliver results fast to surge ahead and stay ahead. Here are some branding hacks you can trust for the same.
1. Focus on your target audience
This one is a no-brainer, a branding rule that applies to every industry at all times. Because of its multiple uses, cannabis has proved its potential across diverse industries.
Since there are several opportunities to sell, it makes sense to identify your niche market before you start in the domain. Understand whether you are targeting buyers using cannabis products for medicinal or recreational purposes so that you can take a targeted approach to brand promotion.
Pinpointing your target sales channels is equally vital when it comes to having a branding plan that works. This approach will help you get greater traction with lesser work and investment, which is all the more important during a crisis like this one.
2. Realign your messaging for the new normal
Like any other product and niche, the cannabis industry also needs to stand in support and solidarity during this tough time. Right now, you need to realign your brand messaging to show that you are there for the customers and willing to lend a hand during the crisis.
Making the tone and messaging more empathic is the key to winning the long-term trust and loyalty of the customers. So the focus right now shouldn’t be on selling, rather it should be on serving the consumers while following the safety norms and public health measures.
For example, if you run a dispensary, go the extra mile to provide services like delivery and curbside pickup as a part of your consumer safety initiative.
3. Revamp your brand website
Whether you are an established brand or relatively new in the industry, a great-looking website fuels your brand identity.
This is the best time to revamp your website because your messaging and tone will probably have changed. Consider refreshing the design elements with the latest trends in mind. A good-looking site, after all, has better chances of selling.
Don’t forget to add a COVID-special page that answers all concerns your audience may have at this point. They would be interested in knowing about your store timings, delivery schedules, and safety measures you may have implemented. Keep the information fresh and updated at all times.
4. Reap the benefits of search engine optimization
If you have been running a cannabis business for some time, you will probably know the significance of digital marketing and branding. For newbies too, there couldn’t be a better time to invest in an online presence.
People are shopping online in record numbers and the phenomenon is poised to get only bigger in the post-pandemic phase. So you cannot ignore strategies like cannabis SEO at this point. Rather, having your website appearing on top of web searches can get you all the more visibility, attention, and trust.
Moreover, local SEO can go a long way in helping you recover the foot traffic once you reopen. The best thing about digital branding is its cost-effectiveness, which makes it a hero in a crisis.
5. Win the branding game with content
Even as you invest in SEO and paid ads on the internet, the content remains the king when it comes to effective branding. Despite the growing popularity of weed-based products, there is still a lack of awareness among the consumers.
Great content with valuable information can propel your brand and present it as a niche leader. Running a blog on your website is an excellent idea.
Make sure that you cover the topics of interest and answer all the questions that the consumers may have about the safety and efficacy of cannabis through the pandemic. Focusing on engagement through content can unlock the sales potential for your brand eventually.
6. Don’t forget social media
Building a robust social media presence has always been crucial but it is something you cannot miss out on at this stage. People are craving authentic connections and the best way to make them is by staying active on social media.
Taking the content strategy forward, create informative and compelling posts that keep the audience hooked to your brand. Once again, the focus should be on educating and serving the consumers rather than selling your products.
Engage with the audience proactively and address their queries and concerns promptly. Consider collaborating with a niche influencer, who can help you grow your brand’s community and fortify the trust of the target audience.
7. Go the extra mile with customer services
A brand’s value during difficult times greatly depends on the customer experience it delivers. If you want to be seen as a reputable brand, it is essential to go the extra mile with customer experience, both in terms of products and services.
Providing exemplary support is equally important as it can get you a loyal buyer who will be willing to recommend you to others. In times like these, word-of-mouth recommendations can do wonders for branding because they are based on authentic human connections rather than commercial promotion.
Branding in the pandemic era is easier than you think, provided that you are willing to focus on your audience rather than the business itself. Showing the intention to serve them is enough to keep them connected and loyal.
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