With cannabis experiential marketing, the premise is to create a close bond between the brand and the public, including the media, by immersing them in fun and memorable experiences. If a brand event serves to educate, enlighten and delight people, then they are more likely to associate those emotions with the brand that took them on that journey. With consumers valuing experiences over “stuff,” this strategy can be quite effective.

When it comes to marketing in the cannabis space, allowing people to see, feel, touch, taste and smell the product in a variety of ways—even if they don’t come in contact with the plant or its derivatives—is a special way to invite others into a new world. Life has just begun for legalized cannabis in Canada and many citizens have never seen how the plant grows, tasted foods infused with hash oil, smelled isolated terpenes or heard passionate thought leaders talk about how they incorporate cannabis into their lives. Community and storytelling are how cannabis grew and spread pre-legalization and it’s through experiences that we can continue the tradition in a safe, responsible, and compliant manner.

Here are some of the most memorable examples of experiential marketing created by cannabis brands over the past two years.

Try before you buy

The most basic of experiential marketing is giving consumers a taste of the product before they commit. In the cannabis space, this prospect is handcuffed by regulations but there are a few ways to get the essence of a product across to potential buyers.

Sensory boxes allow consumers to use their sense of sight and smell to guide their purchasing decision, and this is a basic feature of most cannabis retail stores in Canada today.

When Tweed gives a tour of their facilities to select guests, they make time for a sit-down discussion about terpenes, with visual aids to teach guests about the aromatic essential oils that are abundant in the plant. But to make it a multi-sensory experience, the guide will pass around candles that smell just like those terpenes, and connect them to Tweed’s own cultivars: a myrcene candle for Argyle, terpinolene for Bakerstreet, pinene for Highlands, and so on.

VR the Forest for the Trees

Slip into some VR goggles and frolic amidst the sea of green at a licensed facility, even if the one you’re viewing hasn’t even been built yet. VR is enhancing the way we understand the growing cannabis industry by inviting the public behind the scenes of their favourite brands.

Weed VR, for instance, touts itself as “the definitive platform for virtual engagement with the cannabis industry.” And it doesn’t stop with growers, retailers as well can take consumers and potential stakeholders on a tour of their concept store before it is even built.

Let Them Eat Cannabis

Cannabis culinary experiences are a beautiful, curated way to indulge guests in a private setting. The tricky thing about serving an infused meal is that the event must be held on private property as it is not in compliance with Canada’s cannabis guidelines. While edible cannabis products will be permitted for legal sale by the end of 2019, the framework does not permit restaurants to prepare and serve meals containing cannabis to the public.

However, there are several services available, such as The Herbal Chef and The Green Chef who offer private dinners, corporate events, getaway retreats, catering, and cooking with cannabis educational workshops.

Weeding is Fundamental

Teach others how to roll the joint, and they’ll be grateful to you for life! There are so many opportunities to invite people in and teach them something new about cannabis.

When Van der Pop wanted to connect with their target market—women!—they created a series of SESSIONs to shed light on the power of the plant and educate guests on why there is no shame in using a legal, non-pharmaceutical option for dealing with stress, depression, anxiety or pain.

Likewise, Tantalus Labs created a safe space at Lululemon Lab in Vancouver to conduct a frank panel discussion about personal wellness and how cannabis is one piece of that puzzle in the lives of several community athletes. The evening included a dialogue full of insights and takeaways from some of Vancouver’s leaders in fitness, wellness, and cannabis.

Tradeshow Cannabis Experiences

Trade shows such as the Lift & Co Cannabis Expo are a great way for cannabis brands to interact with consumers and create connections. Cannabis brands can get as creative as they want with their experiential marketing, without actually giving away any of the product.sing a legal, non-pharmaceutical option for dealing with stress, depression, anxiety or pain.

Likewise, Tantalus Labs created a safe space at Lululemon Lab in Vancouver to conduct a frank panel discussion about personal wellness and how cannabis is one piece of that puzzle in the lives of several community athletes. The evening included a dialogue full of insights and takeaways from some of Vancouver’s leaders in fitness, wellness, and cannabis.

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