It’s that time of year again: awards season. There’s speculation everywhere about which cannabis growers, producers and proccessors will walk away with the top prizes, and for good reason. Awards — or even medals — have a powerful effect on public perception. It’s a lesson Hollywood knows better than anyone … but one the cannabis industry still needs to learn.
Third-party awards dramatically influence how consumers perceive the products on retail shop shelves. According to recent market research, three out of four consumers said awards from events like the Cannabis Classic or High Times Cannabis Cup strongly or somewhat influence their opinion of a strain or grower. The positive press from an award makes consumers confident that your product is a smart purchase — and can convince them to choose your products over the competition.
So, if awards can deliver a boost this big, why aren’t more cultivators and dispensaries shouting their wins from the rooftops? To take advantage of the benefits and differentiation these awards offer, you need to take a tip from Hollywood and put your awards front and center. These four tips will help you leverage your award-winning status to push more value and increase sales.
- Promote, Promote, Promote
No matter what your product wins, consumers won’t remember you’ve won it unless you remind them. Let’s face it… the average person receives so many advertising messages every day that unless information is repeated, we’re likely to forget it. Conventional marketing wisdom suggests repeating an idea at least seven times for it to stick, but the exact number is less important than repetition in general.For consumers to remember and value your achievements, you need to promote them repeatedly, and in all the places your consumers are looking. For the vast majority of consumers, those places are online, on social media and on your product packaging. All three types are big parts of the shopping experience. Your awards should be prominently displayed on all of them.
- Be Consistent and Credible
One of the biggest benefits your cannabis product or store gets from awards is a credibility boost. It’s one thing for YOU to say your product or experience is the best in its class. But when an impartial company says it, or even better, when the public says it, that claim holds a lot more weight. However, unless you promote your awards effectively, you can lose some of that trust.If you present conflicting messages about your awards across different sites — even if it’s a mistake — consumers will start feeling skeptical about your claims. And if you don’t back everything up with links to third-party sites, you’ll start sending up red flags.But the reverse is true, too. Consistently promoting your awards will build consumers’ trust in your messaging, and increases your value proposition. It’s a powerful way to convince consumers that your product is the one for them. To preserve your credibility, evaluate your messaging from the consumer’s perspective. Are you using consistent language? Do you back up your claims?
- Differentiate Your Product
You’ve probably noticed that once an actor receives an award, their public persona changes. Suddenly they’re not Joe Smith — they’re Oscar-winning actor Joe Smith. This is another smart marketing lesson the cannabis industry can learn from Hollywood. Just like an Oscar boosts an actor’s overall reputation, an award doesn’t just raise the value of the specific product that wins. It raises the value of your entire operation.Along with promoting awards on cannabis websites (Weedmaps and Leafly), you should make them part of your overall messaging. There are plenty of ways to do this, from including awards in your email signature or print advertising to promoting them in your office or grow room. Giving your awards the airtime they deserve will prove that besides selling award-winning cannabis, you’re an award-worthy business.
- Showcase Awards in the Showroom
Promoting awards online is a big piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only piece. Consumers perform the bulk of their research online, but the actual purchase still happens in person. And when they get to a retail shop, it’s your job to keep your awards top-of-mind.Feel free to go low-tech at this point. A simple seal or wording that states “AWARD-WINNING” in visible type works well to grab purchasers attention. This gives consumers clear visual reminders of the awards they’ve already seen advertised online. Remember, consistency is key!But don’t rely on packaging to tell the whole story — create relationships with budtenders and retail shop reps who also can play a big role in what consumers purchase. Awards are a powerful sales tool. They give budtenders great talking points, but the credibility of a third-party award also raises consumers’ trust in the person selling them the product as well.
Everyone loves a winner, and cannabis consumers are no different. So why hide your awards where no one will ever hear about them? By following these four tips, you can put the spotlight on your award-winning products where it belongs, getting more consumers to purchase your high-quality products and earning more profit. How’s that for a win-win?