Cannabis advertising/marketing laws vary from state to state, but the internet is essentially the wild west. Some companies are quick to crack down while others take a more lenient approach. Of course, the policies seem to be changing daily, so it’s important to have someone who keeps up with the latest trends to know how far you can push the envelope before you will lose all of your followers. Last year, I set up an entire Instagram account for the purposes of researching how cannabis companies are selling their products and brands.
California agencies have just put out their recommended regulations for the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act or MAUCRSA. Given the power of the state to impact the entire country, it is very important to know these rules when designing product packaging, branding and what they mean for the industry as a whole. Now is the beginning of a 45 day public comment period in which change can be made before they go into place.
Maybe we will dive deeper into that in another post, in this post, I want to focus on what appeals to me from a consumer point of view on social media. Let’s go over some different styles that get my follow and interest in your brand versus techniques that might appeal to a certain segment but will scare off more customers than you’re bringing in.
- Flowers. The most simple thing I can tell you in this industry is to take the strength of your business (the product) and proudly display it. Give me the clearest, highest quality picture of your product possible. Get microscopic even! Too often I seepictures of click-bait type women smoking the biggest blunt possible. You wouldn’t see pictures of scantily clad women next to roses and violets. We don’t need to repeat the past of the alcohol industry to bring attention when you have a product this beautiful, with thousands of varieties.
- Facilities. One of my favorite things on trips through Colorado, Nevada and California is to see the different styles of dispensaries. If you have a great setup, show it. We want to see clean, organized and professional grow facilities and retail environments. I have specifically planned which dispensaries to visit based on Instagram, and Google photos of the space (as well as Leafly reviews).
- Packaging/Art. I’ll be the first to admit that I am easily influenced by sharp, clean packaging. The artwork you put forth will often be the first encounter someone has with your brand. If it looks sloppy and hard to read, chances are eyes will shift to other products. From a legal perspective, the packaging is one of the most important factors in keeping you out of trouble.
- Employees/Customers. Nothing gets my attention faster than happy, customer service focused employees. Of course, they have to be willing participants, which can be a difficult thing in an environment that still heavily stigmatizes users. Every
post I make, I must make the choice to weigh how it could cause future employers to discriminate against me for supporting this industry. Still, what I feel helps clear away those stigmas the most is showing how diverse and just like America this industry is.
- Activities. Does a certain strain inspire you to do some yoga? Sit down and enjoy a comedy? Walk through the botanical gardens? Let’s see it! All of your posts don’t have to be product-pushing centric. Your followers have interests and hobbies and so should your brand. Find out what those interests are so you can hone in on what your followers love.