There’s still very little brand loyalty in the cannabis space…with 67% of cannabis consumers shopping at two or more dispensaries during the past three months, and a quarter shopping at four or more.

According to a new report by Gannett*, the publisher of USA Today and dozens of other publications, “cannabis use by new consumers correlates with a reduction in their use of painkillers and alcohol.” While this is certainly not a surprise to those who understand the cannabis plant and its countless healing properties, some of the data that was garnered from the study was both interesting and unexpected.

Key Takeaways:

  • 49% surveyed reported reducing their over-the-counter painkiller use since starting cannabis
  • A staggering 52% reduced prescription drug use
  • 37% said they have reduced alcohol consumption since using cannabis
  • A majority of 60% said they consider a healthy lifestyle to be a priority

One of the more interesting pieces that came to light was the lack of brand loyalty. The report found “67% of cannabis consumers shopping at two or more dispensaries during the past three months and 25% shopping at four or more.” This presents tremendous opportunity for brands in the industry to work on creating a loyal following of customers. 

According to Forbes, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your current customer base, making it imperative that you focus on creating loyal, repeat customers that will continue to frequent your business.

What steps can a brand take to resonate with customers and build a loyal following? The study noted that 80% surveyed said that “a retailer’s reputation is “extremely important” in their selection process.” With that noted, how can a brand in the cannabis space cut through the noise and elevate their product or services?

Following are five tips on how to establish a positive brand reputation.

Be genuine and trustworthy.
Customers count on their favorite brands to be consistent in both quality and customer service. There is no canned response for customer concerns. A thoughtful and timely response when met with a customer complaint will go a long way in building trust. Never underestimate the importance of being yourself and staying true to your brand. Customers are more likely to connect with a brand that is relatable and comfortable. 

Content is king, but staying relevant rules.
When you are issuing an offer or writing on behalf of your brand as part of a thought leadership campaign, make sure you are adding value and providing information that your customers actually care about. Don’t blast out an email to the world offering a 5% discount just for the sake of landing on as many laptops as possible. This will cheapen your brand and leave some consumers with an uneasy feeling. If you are the president of a cannabis-focused law group, your clients will become confused and disengaged if you start blogging about how to grow the best buds.

Build an innovative and engaging marketing campaign.
Align yourself with a reputable cannabis-specific advertising and marketing company who can work beside you in building a respectable campaign. The cannabis industry is growing-up and consumers are looking for legitimacy and professionalism when selecting brands. Use the data you harvest from your customers to create tailored experiences catering to exactly what they want, when they want it. Data can also help with content generation.

Consistency counts.
Every brand should have a “why” and should repeat that “why” on the daily. Why did you create this company? What are your goals and values? Everyone in the company should be well-versed in your brand’s moral compass and should be reminded regularly. This will come through to your customers via your product, social channels and all means of communication. Brand loyalty is built on consistency.

Look into the future and be prepared.
It’s not only important to meet your customers’ needs today, but also to foresee what they will want or need down the road. Follow market trends and go beyond the expected. Be prepared to react in a swift and measured manner should any problems pop up. A solid public relations partner will certainly put together a crisis management plan in anticipation of any and all situations that may arise. It is always ideal to have an answer or solution before the problem ever comes to light.

Remember that building a brand is exactly like building a reputation. Do what you say you will. Go out of your way to help others. Be consistent. Look the part. Make other people look good. Go a step beyond what is expected. And, act with integrity. If your company can subscribe to these basic rules of reputation building and management, customer loyalty is sure to follow.

If you are looking to build brand loyalty or create an innovative and engaging marketing campaign, contact MediaJel for this and all of your advertising and marketing solutions.

*The study, conducted by the company’s digital marketing arm, LOCALiQ, combined survey responses with mobile data to paint a picture of cannabis consumers in legal states. Researchers surveyed 8,805 cannabis consumers aged 21 to 64 across 21 states in which some form of cannabis is legal.