MUSKEGON – The need for communication (aka marketing or public relations) might seem like something to do when you get close to opening your marijuana microbusiness. But waiting to plan and prepare will leave you scrambling and behind the competition.
You need to work on creating a communication plan and tactics as you go through the licensing process, and as your business gets started. It’ll give you focus on the kind of business that you want to be and what you provide to customers. Remember, the concept of a marijuana microbusiness is “craft cannabis,” and how you express that idea with name, images and words is the essence of your business.
Defining Your Brand Comes First
A brand is everything around and inside your marijuana microbusiness. It includes creating a name for your company. Try to find something original, appropriate and memorable. And make sure that it doesn’t belong to another company. Even if you find a URL for your website that fits your company, that doesn’t mean someone doesn’t already have that same name, and if it is trademarked, you run the risk of being sued for using it. Do careful and comprehensive research when selecting a company name. After you’ve settled on a name, you can start thinking about a logo and a website. We encourage you to seek professional design and development assistance for these items. They’re essential to your brand and are meant to last. The logo is how people will first come to know you, and your website is the center of your communication ecosystem.
Creating a Communication Plan
Taking time to develop a communication plan can be challenging for marijuana microbusiness owners. It’s easy and fun to think about tactics: going to a cannabis cup event or an expo, growing your Instagram page, hosting special events, buying the perfect billboard, creating swag and writing smart text messages. BUT, without a strategic plan, your tactics are unfocused and random.
If your goal is getting people into your shop and talking about your products, then everything needs to lead to that goal. A brand strategy plan starts with a goal or goals. Other steps include defining your audience, writing your key messages around your business, developing objectives, writing a strategy statement and then finally considering your tactics.
Once you have that work done, you’ll work to create a timeline and a budget. It’s a challenging process, but worth the time and it will help you focus on your communication when you’re open for business and things are hectic.
Use PESO to Define Your Tactics
We utilize the PESO model for organizing tactics in communication. Once your plan is in place, consider this structure to organize your tactics.
P stands for PAID: this is any advertising or sponsorships you might do.
E stands for EARNED: this is your effort in media relations, getting your story in the news.
S stands for SOCIAL or SHARED: this is your efforts in social media.
O stands for OWNED: the assets that belong to you like a website and its content.
Once your tactics are complete, you’ll start to develop a timeline and budget. This is where the reality of the expenses involved comes into play. We promise that you’ll be scaling things down a bit and making adjustments as you go. BUT, with a communication plan, you can also develop a realistic budget for your marijuana microbusiness.
If you’re looking for guidance with the communication strategy for your marijuana microbusiness, give us a buzz. We’re experienced in helping brands launch in the Michigan marketplace and we’d love to help you compete and succeed.
Canna Communication is pleased to be partnering with Marijuana Microbusinesses in helping entrepreneurs get started in Michigan.
This column was written by Roberta King