The legal cannabis industry in Canada continues to expand and mature. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of products on the market along with steady growth in the number of brick-and-mortar retailers. Along with this new diverse array of product offerings comes brand saturation and escalated shelf space competition. Brand awareness has never been strong in the Canadian market, but new data is showing an almost 60% drop in cannabis consumer awareness from Q2 to Q3 of 2020. Given this context, it is incredibly important for brands to begin carving out a niche and connecting with their target market.
We are happy to present Brightfield Group’s latest report which details which brands are converting cannabis consumers in Canada and how they are succeeding in that. This report focuses on four main brands – Canopy, Flowr, Namaste, and PAX – and how they are connecting to specific consumer segments.
In this article, you’ll find our analysis on why these four brands were chosen for best converting Canadian cannabis consumers and what marketing techniques they have been utilizing.
As one of the bigger LPs in the space, Canopy has the funds to create well-executed and far-reaching marketing campaigns. One example of this is “Highly Refreshing,” a campaign that launched in July of last year to promote their newly introduced drinkable products. The creative fought to bring awareness to cannabis beverages, a completely novel category in Canada, while also positioning these offerings as a less harmful alternative to alcohol. The campaign resembles a traditional CPG or alcohol-based beverage advertisement, with flashy, clean, modern imagery. The ad was widely disseminated across age-gated digital and social channels, which helped build familiarity with this newly legalized category along with the Tweed brand in general.
This campaign and corporate commitment to the beverage category sparked quite a few headlines about Canopy and their brands, leading to increased awareness through earned media. Associating themselves with an exciting, early-stage, growing category that consumers and the press are actively talking about allowed them to reap the benefits of these conversations. We should expect to see more thoughtful creative from their team going forward.
Right Product at the Right Time
Zenabis’ Namaste brand is one of the few in the space that has undoubtedly benefited from being the first to market. Their dried flower SKUs have been available since day one of legalization in October of 2018. This means that consumers have had over two years to become familiar with the brand and try their products. Namaste has built an impressive amount of loyalty by consistently delivering on the quality of their product and by making their offerings widely available. The price point (around $35 for 3.5g or less, which is equivalent to the “street price” of cannabis in Canada) is accessible, allowing the average consumer to trial their strains and pre-rolled joints.
Along with their product assortment and distribution strategy, Namaste seems to understand the importance of digital and content marketing. Even prior to COVID-19 restrictions, consumer attention was rapidly moving online. Namaste has capitalized on increased social media consumption by running an extensive paid digital campaign on Twitter, advertising both their products and bringing awareness to other initiatives such as their retailer recycling program. In addition, Namaste frequently publishes long-form content on their website blog and uses this information to educate their social media followers. Between Namaste’s digital marketing strategy and their thoughtful product offerings, the brand is poised to continue succeeding well into the future.
Flowr has partially commanded a higher price for their product than their peers due to their marketing and branding efforts. Flowr saw a dramatic re-brand earlier this year, doubling down on their dedication to pleasing cannabis enthusiasts and emphasizing their roots in the legacy market. This re-brand reflects a clear understanding of who their consumers are and how they will go about delighting them. The brand launched a series of unique and thorough marketing campaigns throughout 2020.
In response to COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders, the company introduced “Project Homegrown,” an initiative that sent free vegetable and herb seeds to their followers and taught them how to grow at home using a step-by-step guide.
Later in the year, Flowr launched “Art & Science” an extensive digital campaign focusing on their flagship strain BC Pink Kush. The creative spoke to the quality of their product by featuring high definition images or “nugshots” of their dried flower. The advertisements emphasized the high THC and terpene content of their Pink Kush, which are important quality indicators for cannabis connoisseurs. Flowr’s Art & Science was honoured by their peers and customers as the Campaign Of The Year and Brand Of The Year in the 2020 ADCANN Awards.
Locking in Loyalty
As one of the most well-known and well-funded accessory companies in the space, PAX Labs has remained at the forefront of cannabis marketing and branding. The brand creates loyalty and repeat purchases through a variety of means. A large percentage of their device users will also download the mobile or desktop app, which consistently feeds new informational and brand messaging to these individuals. In addition, the company has made a substantial investment into digital marketing efforts to continue building general awareness. PAX display advertisements can be found on a variety of cannabis-related and age-gated websites across the net.
The company stays at the forefront of consumer’s minds all year long by launching timely campaigns such as their holiday-themed “Give The Gift of PAX” creative. PAX’s LP partners such as The Supreme Cannabis Company and Zenabis continuously disseminate their own marketing campaigns centered around their branded pods, which in turn grows awareness for PAX as the hardware provider. It will be interesting to observe how the vaporizer market shakes out in Canada and how much of the overall share of consumers PAX can capture.
Canadian cannabis brands will have to continue innovating if they want to connect with current and potential consumers. The brands that are currently succeeding have chosen a specific segment of cannabis consumers and are producing thoughtful products to satiate their needs. Creative marketing techniques such as UP’s “Apology on behalf of the cannabis industry” can help grow awareness and trial of your brand, but consistently delivering on your brand promises will be the only way to build long-lasting loyalty. Stay tuned for more reports and insights on the cannabis industry from ADCANN and Brightfield.
Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by ADCANN