A survey published by Brightfield Group has found that the majority of Canadians are unable to tell pot brands apart despite the resources that these companies have put into marketing.
About 3,000 Canadians were polled during the first quarter of this year. The overwhelming finding of the survey was that brand awareness was woefully low among Canadians, and that they suffered from “decision fatigue” as a result of being faced with so many brands to choose from when they visit a cannabis retail outlet.
Approximately 41% of Canadians said they were aware of Tweed, a brand from Canopy Growth Corp. while a total of 17 pot brands can’t command 20% brand name awareness among users.
These findings confirm that buyers of cannabis products make a choice based on the price of the product or on a recommendation by a friend.
Bethany Gomez, Brightfield Group’s managing director, says that since the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, the companies selling products to consumers have not yet graduated their marketing efforts from teaching the functional issues to a level where they build connections with consumers.
To make matters worse for the legal cannabis industry, sector players have to compete with the black market which doesn’t have to abide by the strict regulations imposed by Health Canada on matters like packaging, online advertising and labeling.
Consumers are also faced with the problem of sorting through the nearly endless list of marijuana strains which they aren’t familiar with since they didn’t exist until the legal recreational market was opened about two years ago. The strains available on the illicit market are more familiar.
Serruya Private Equity Inc., which owns half a dozen cannabis stores in Toronto, revealed that the staff at their retail outlets say most customers ask about a product with the highest THC (the cannabis compound which induces a high) content rather than paying attention to brand names.
Marijuana companies have realized that they haven’t been using their marketing budgets effectively, so they are now pivoting to start building brand awareness as the market stabilizes. This is especially important now that “cannabis 2.0” products (edibles and vapes, for example) are now on the market.
This second generation of marijuana products is expected to be a big money maker for companies since margins are larger and cannabis consumers buy a lot more of these products when compared to smokable flower, for example.
The Canadian experience is likely to give U.S. cannabis sector players like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) lots of lessons in how to spend their marketing dollars.
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