How to Properly Tell your Marijuana Brand Story
We’re entering a new age of cannabis marketing. No longer do we have to convince the market that “cannabis is not a drug”. The vast majority of people are in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult consumption. Even more are in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.
What this means is that as cannabis companies, it’s important to understand how to change the way you present your story. People don’t buy statistics, they buy stories.
While the cannabis industry was mostly poised to service the “counter-culture” during prohibition, the acceptance of marijuana on a wider-scale, means that the marketing has to adapt as well.
This is why understanding the principles of “telling a good story” is so important.
You are NOT the Hero
Every good story is comprised of a hero, a conflict and a resolution. Within your cannabis brand, you are not the Hero. Your customer is.
Within your own story, you are the Yoda to their Luke. You’re the old-wise guide that will empower your hero to take action that will resolve a conflict.
This is something I see most brands (cannabis or not) fail at. They are trying to push their narrative on the people, not involving them in the journey of their brand. I think of it as a person trying to hawk some merch on the side of the road, yelling at folks passing by. Every now and then you have someone who might buy something, but the energy spent and the results obtained are not balanced.
By understanding that you are NOT the hero of the story, you can start changing your approach to make your customer the hero of the story.
Empathy is key
Secondly, you need to understand the pain points of your customers. Why are they looking for a solution to a particular problem? Within the world of cannabis, this can be either due to medical reasons, or simply as a recreational activity.
For people with medical afflictions, showing empathy is far easier than within the recreational market. For instance, if someone is suffering from pain, a cannabis brand could start off their “Branded Story” by showing empathy,
“The thing about suffering from chronic pain isn’t that it just hurts, it taints every other aspect of your life, making life less enjoyable…”
With that statement, you are acknowledging the pain point someone who suffers from chronic pain might relate to. This is you showing empathy. You didn’t start off with “We’re so awesome because of…”
You’re saying, “I understand what you’re going through”.
This makes people feel “appreciated and heard”, which will translate into interest. When you’ve established empathy, you work towards providing a solution.
“Cannabis is shown to reduce chronic pain and increase enjoyment of life (the solution) …but finding the right supplier can be difficult (the conflict).
This is the basic formula of telling a good story. Creating the Hero, through Empathy, and providing the solution with conflict, that will require a helper (you) to assist them through the journey (the Sales Funnel)
Guiding them through the Conflict
The rest of the story deals with helping the hero through the journey. You will provide them with insight, value and supportive arguments to assist them with their decision. Ultimately, pointing towards “taking action”.
Using the example above, guiding them through the conflict could relate to;
- How to Spot a Bunk Supplier
- The Dangers of getting substandard weed
- Things to look for in a legitimate supplier (quality, consistency, purity)
- Social Proof
During this process, you’re providing context and giving them the tools to make an informed decision. You’ll want to have the customer think, “If I don’t, I continue to live with my problem and it will be horrible”.
The process is not about pushing someone to buy a product, but letting them convince themselves that it’s the best solution. Ultimately, you shouldn’t be trying to just make the sale, but actually invest time in providing value to your consumer throughout the process.
This is another element I see with cannabis brands. They are constantly trying to “push a sale” when in reality, you should simply try to provide the best solution to your consumer-base.
Simplify the Data
There are a ton of websites out there that are pushing ratios of THC to CBD, Nano emulsion technology, infusion techniques and the likes. This doesn’t work. People don’t remember stats or figures. Of course, some do look for those specific elements, however, it’s not the thing that people look at first.
If you’re trying to compete in the cannabis market, try to make the experience for the consumer as simple as possible. Put them first. Empathize with their pain points and offer them a value-adding solution that will solve their problems.
If you do this correctly, you will turn your consumers into brand-evangelists who will spread your story to other people in need of a proper solution.
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