We are excited to share our first joint report with Brightfield Group on value-based cannabis brands in Canada. Within the full report you’ll find a collection of interesting and valuable data acquired exclusively by Brightfield Group.
The Rise of Cannabis Value Brands in Canada
Value brands purport to offer the most benefit for the lowest cost. In Canada, a cannabis brand’s competitors include both other Licensed Producers and the illicit market. Many consumers that have previously purchased from the illicit market have become accustomed to lower pricing when purchasing bulk quantities. This is why most budget-conscious brands initially launched with 14/15-gram and 28-gram dried flower SKUs, matching the quantity, quality, and price point expectations of legacy market consumers.
The Canadian cannabis brands that are examined within our joint report with The Brightfield Group include Trailblazer, TWD., Original Stash, The Batch, Pure SunFarms, and Daily Special. These value brands appear to be resonating with two consumer segments identified by Brightfield as “stressed out millennials” and the “liberal elite”.
Marketing Strategies of Cannabis Value Brands
The majority of these brands follow a simple equation for their entire marketing strategy: more weed for less money. There are a few standouts, however, most of the positioning, imagery, and copy are quite similar. HEXO’s Original Stash appears to be the inspiration for many of these brands, being the first to outwardly adopt a budget strategy with their 1oz bags.
Most value brands have a minimal digital presence consisting of an Instagram account and a website landing page. These Instagram accounts typically feature a photo “grid”, 9-12 photos posted at once, that describe the brand’s philosophy and product offerings. The majority of these pages are inactive, not having posted since the account’s inception. It’s apparent that large Licensed Producers have decided to largely neglect digital marketing and community engagement. Most marketing spend from value brands (if there is any at all) is allocated to B2B (business to budtender and retailer) education and in-store materials.
A number of Canadian value brands have no marketing or digital presence at all, instead relying on budtenders and provincial website algorithms to suggest their products to financially savvy consumers. Simple Stash and TWD. (both from Canopy Growth) are two examples of value brands with no website, no social media channels, and no merchandising presence in-store. This strategy is likely implemented due to the belief that the majority of frugal consumers are brand-agnostic and are searching for the lowest price for the highest amount of flower (or highest THC percentage).
Top Budget-Friendly Brands
One standout in the category is The Batch, which comes from Tilray / High Park. The Batch feels like a real, well-thought-out, and developed brand. They use similar slogans as the other brands (“just good weed” and “burn your weed not your wallet”) but their graphic design and digital content are admirable. Their product strategy is unique, launching “quints” (the first 5 pack of pre-rolls on the market) and labeling their 3.5g and 7g options “quarters” and “half-quarters” (the slang used in Ontario and other parts of Canada for those measurements). Their “thumbs up” logo is simple but recognizable. They follow this hand logo theme with a 5 finger symbol used on their “quints” packaging and a 1 finger symbol used for their “solo” pre-rolled joint packaging. They have a sizable social media following (over 1500) and consistently post creative and playful content.
Pure SunFarms and Trailblazer also both have fairly large social media followings (~3500 and ~1500 respectively), but these brands do not necessarily position themselves in the value segment. They are placed in this category due to their pricing and product strategy, not because of their marketing copy or brand ethos.
Cannabis Value Retail Brands
Recently, we’ve seen the budget positioning trend extend into the retail space as well. One Nova Cannabis location in Alberta changed its name to Deep Discount Cannabis. This strategy is reportedly being implemented by ALCANNA (the parent company of Nova Cannabis) in areas of heavy saturation of cannabis stores to help the shop differentiate itself from the competition. These new Deep Discount Cannabis stores will target the budget-conscious consumer and will solely stock value brands and bulk offerings.
Interested in learning more about Canadian cannabis value brands? Check out our previous article about cannabis value brands.
Last Updated on October 7, 2020 by ADCANN