In an industry that’s growing as fast as the cannabis industry, making sure that your brand or dispensary stands out among the rest of the many cannabis companies is crucial, but doing this is easier said than done… especially when today a large majority of cannabis sales are made up by a small number of brands.
This problem comes from what we call brand concentration, which refers to the portion of sales that go to the top ten brands in the industry. According to Headset, the top 10 brands in California captured 28% of cannabis sales in 2019. The fact that only 10 brands hold this much of the market share highlights a very real problem for smaller cannabis businesses, that is the danger of being run out of business by the big guys.
In order to avoid being gobbled up by these big-time brands, focusing on improving your brand awareness and brand equity is a must, but how do you do this? And what does it even mean?
Before we get into the details, let’s first figure out what improving your brand awareness and brand equity means.
Improving your brand awareness is exactly what it sounds like, that is it refers to improving how familiar customers or potential customers are with your cannabis brand and more generally how familiar cannabis users are with your brand as it exists in the cannabis industry.
With brand awareness comes brand equity, which in short is the value people attach to your brand. In other words, it is the social value of your brand. Improving your brand equity is important because with better brand equity comes improved customer perception of your products. With high brand equity and brand awareness, customers perceive your products as better than those of lesser-known brands, which means bigger sales.
Now that we know what it is, let’s figure out how to improve your brand awareness and equity.
The first step in improving your brand awareness and brand equity is defining your target audience. That is, you’ll want to define the type of customer that you want to gear your marketing towards and brand your dispensary for.
There are many different ways in which you can go about segmenting customers and narrowing down which segment is right for your business to prioritize, but what is important in this is to make sure that you don’t spread yourself too thin. The saying, “less is more,” holds especially true here because if you try to reach too many customer segments, then you might not reach any of them.
If you want to learn more about cannabis customer segments, check out our other article, “Who is a Cannabis Dispensary’s Target Market?”
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll want to reach them, and there’s almost no better way to reach them on a casual and consistent basis than on social media.
Growing your social media is a must to improve your brand recognition in almost every case. While it is true that different customer segments are best reached via different platforms, almost every customer segment you’ll be targeting will exist on social media.
Organic marketing and growing your brand awareness on social media isn’t easy though so you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with what you should and shouldn’t be doing as a cannabis business. If you want to learn more about growing your cannabis brand on social media, check out this article, “How to Grow Your Dispensary’s Instagram Following.”
Another extremely important step to growing your brand awareness and brand equity is having your own branded products.
Just think about any big company, Apple, McDonalds, Nike, Adidas, Microsoft, who all have incredible brand awareness and brand equity. What do they all have in common? They have ingrained their logos and slogans into the minds of billions.
So, how do you get on your way to creating this kind of familiarity? Put out your own custom branded products. That means slapping your logo on quality products such as grinders, papers, or glass pieces, developing your own line of merch with offerings like hoodies and shirts, and even having your own custom packaging.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out our other article about using branded products to grow your cannabis brand awareness here!
While this may seem obvious, it is important. Finding your niche is extremely important to improving your cannabis brand awareness and brand equity. That is, finding what makes your cannabis business unique.
This unique factor can be anything from a special deal only available at your dispensary to an innovative in-store experience. Whatever it is, make sure it’s memorable and make sure it separates you from the pack.
One of the most important and most overlooked parts of growing brand awareness is optimizing the customer experience. The customer experience is extremely important and could be the difference between gaining a customer who tells their friends about your business, or losing a customer and all the business they could have brought in with them.
In optimizing the customer experience, creating a unique and personalized customer experience is key, which means remembering things such as their birthday and rewarding them for frequently visiting among other things.
While this may sound hard, springbig can help you do all of this and more. Not only that, but with springbig you can automate the whole process. Click here to learn more.
Last but not least is networking. In this, we are talking about attending cannabis industry events, partnering with other brands in the space, and more generally associating with the community. Doing this can go a long way and can help you gain the connections that you need to take your business to the next level.