By Melissa A Vitale
Have you asked yourself "Does my cannabis brand need PR?"
Technically, only select brands and companies “need” public relations. Some publicists will have you think a brand will wither and die without public relations. While public relations can often be the difference between a fan-favorite and unrecognized brandname, brands can gain cult-followings without public relations.
While not absolutely necessary, public relations for cannabis brands can ensure national recognition. Due to federal restrictions on THC, cannabis products that cannot leave their state. The cannabis industry is one of few markets where a brand can have multi-million dollar operations that are unheard of one state over.
With strict restrictions on social media advertising for vice brands, the cannabis industry has to get creative on social. As such, it’s relatively common for a cannabis brand to garner thousands of followers on social media. Social media for brands only available in one state, is much like PR in that it doesn’t lead always to sales. If only 60% of a brands 10,000 followers live in their state of operation, that’s only 6,000 potential customers, not including regular barriers to sales like price, availability and a consumer’s individual discretionary financial status.
While public relations isn’t a direct catapult of sales, when utilized in a marketing funnel, it can lead to more sales than traditional marketing initiatives alone. For someone visiting a dispensary for the first time with zero knowledge of cannabis products, they may turn to a trusted media outlet like their favorite Esquire editor who recently recommended a pre-roll in his “Best Weed Products of 2020” article. Maybe someone has been passing a cannabis brand in a dispensary, but the famous Weed Sommelier they follow on Instagram writes a Forbes review of their product, its very likely that will be the product they try the next time they head to their dispensary.
With licensing expected to be the drop-ship of the cannabis industry, many brands are quickly mobilizing across stateliness through the aid of established cultivation partners. Many cannabis brands have already gained national recognition in media often times leaving the brands in the midst of executing their national retail strategy off the radar of top tier business, lifestyle, wellness and culture press.
Because cannabis is such an exciting product and industry, its very common for brands to be discovered in press well before they think about hiring a publicist. However brands that are gradually growing and expanding can easily slip off the radar of editors and journalists inundated with other industry developments. A publicist ensures that brands are always on the radar of journalists. For brands with a launch every few months, this is the difference between single article coverage of announcements and building a network of journalists who are eager to hear news of a brand that continues to excite.
Once a brand has been profiled, without a timely announcement or dramatic paradigm shift, press won’t be hard-pressed to cover a brand that was already featured extensively. That’s where publicists come in. Publicists curate news-climate-relevant storylines that regularly pique the interest of press.
For cannabis brands looking to expand across the country, press is an efficient way to capture national attention. Across every legal cannabis market are avid consumers and novices to cannabis looking to trusted names to guide their buying decision. With successful multi-state press campaigns, brands often enter new markets to pre-developed consumer anticipation.
While a lack of a public relations campaign won’t be the downfall of a cannabis brand, a top tier PR campaign can transform a brand from a press darling to a household name.
For Vice Brands looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR’s services via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
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A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups across plant and intimate wellness