The impact of the coronavirus was tenfold on every level. We saw endless challenges as a society in public health, education, inclusivity, parenting, work-life balance, and more. However, we were also able to discover smaller joys of baking bread, deepening relationships, investing in mental health, and finding new hobbies.
These silver linings were a privilege that kept us as individuals, communities, and even companies together during an otherwise difficult time. We even saw stigmatized industries, like cannabis, become ‘essential’.
Unlike any other experience, the pandemic solidified two things: our need for human connection and our love of the Internet. (As it happens, digital marketing is the intersection of these two things.)
The result? Community has become more important than ever – and cannabis brands are running with it.
Building a Business vs Building a Brand
The shift towards community during the pandemic translated across all areas of our lives. From company culture efforts like virtual happy hours to larger business investments in areas like social media marketing, community came above all.
Creating relationships with customers online is no longer a competitive advantage for businesses, it’s an expectation set by consumers.
Buyers are leaning into brands and engaging with them on social media in a way that is transforming the landscape of digital marketing. The birth of platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse is also making it more possible for businesses to get right in front of their customers with a newfound sense of transparency – and the people are here for it.
For businesses, this looks like:
- High-value content marketing efforts: blogs, email, social media
- Curated, on-brand digital and in-store user experiences: customer service, product offerings, storytelling, creativity, community management
- Transparent information sharing with customers: updated Google My Business information, menus, and website
As digital marketing professionals, we’re seeing a profound distinction between businesses and brands: businesses are sales-focused, brands are community-focused.
In practice for a cannabis marketing agency like ours, this not only means more business as industry players look to cash in on the power of social media and digital marketing, but it also means more fulfilling business that aligns with our values and allows us to push the envelope with passion.
Growing a brand requires a constant focus on that human-connection side of business. Rather than the number of products you sell or leads you generate, you have to put equal – if not, more – focus on community engagement, value, and impact.
How to build a cannabis brand during COVID-19 and beyond
No matter the sector, there is clear importance being placed on the intent of truly serving customers as opposed to making a profit. Community building, therefore, rests in the hands of brands, not businesses.
To build – or strengthen – your cannabis brand during COVID-19 and beyond, company culture, values, and people have to be uplifted.
Company culture informs business success. If you have a skilled workforce that feels disconnected from one another, you won’t be able to work collaboratively – in-person or remotely.
At Cannabis Creative, one of the best silver linings to come out of the pandemic has been our investment into the company culture. As we grow our teams quickly, we’ve prioritized a thoughtful onboarding process where new hires get intentional one-on-one time with every single one of our employees.
It allows us to build meaningful relationships with one another and cultivate a community within the organization that allows us to be both productive and playful in our work – two things that help us stay at the top of our game.
Through forced pandemic lockdowns, we’ve seen massive increases in the success of small businesses over large corporations. Shoppers are increasingly growing more aware of who they are buying from and the values they stand for. From sustainability to diversity and inclusion, conscious consumerism is on the rise.
For us, this meant creating a new Diversity & Inclusion content vertical where we’ve been able to speak about our values more explicitly and openly than we have before. Our long-standing commitment to an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry is not only strengthening our brand, but it’s building a community around an important cause, both internally and externally.
The driving force behind it all, people want to be valued. Whether it is the employees on your team or those to whom you’re selling, people want to be heard and validated.
As a cannabis marketing agency, this means serving our clients beyond simple marketing campaigns. We stay on top of new software, legislative changes, and pain points to better assist with other areas of operation, such as online ordering, delivery, curbside pick-up, and more. It also means we advise them on how to be better brands themselves and create a community that will fulfill them as much as it brings in profit.
The silver lining of the coronavirus
Though this global pandemic has revealed many horrors and set in motion changes that may never be reversed, there is a silver lining that gives us hope for a post-COVID future. (And then again, that’s life, isn’t it?)
From increased importance in the community and value-driven brands to changes in digital marketing and conscious consumerism, we are seeing trends that remind us of our need for human connection, aided by our love of all things the internet.
In 2022 and beyond, thanks to the coronavirus, we are confident that we’ll see new and established cannabis brands alike market better, be better, and do better.
If you want a team of professional cannabis marketers on your side to push your brand to new heights, now is the time to invest in your brand. Contact our team today to get started on a project.