What is public relations & what can it do for your cannabis business?

What is public relations & what can it do for your cannabis business?

Reputation is the biggest factor to determine the success or demise of a business. If positive public perception is not established, then keeping a business afloat is almost impossible; this is where public relations is involved. Public relations is the process of building a strong reputation through communication with the public and the media.

Kristina Spionjak, LCG’s Marketing Director shares her thoughts on PR:

“There are many definitions of Public Relations available online that may sound far more complicated than they need to be. For me, simply put, Public Relations are all about raising awareness of who you are, what you do and what you stand for to your targeted audiences, through coverage in suitable newspapers, magazines, online publications, and on radio and TV. In a wider sense, Public Relations are one of the integrated marketing communication aspects. Integrated marketing communications also includes advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, and social media. Through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media and activities you will be able to create a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with your brand.”

SO WHAT CAN PR DO FOR YOUR CANNABIS BUSINESS OR BRAND?

 

Exposure to the right audience

Being able to communicate the value of your product or service effectively is key. Public relations is all about knowing how and where to get you heard and seen by the right people. PR is needed to raise awareness of your brand through press releases, newsletters and public appearances to name a few of many PR services. This is key to creating conversation and raise awareness about what you can offer to the consumer and where they can find you. Without this, it’s unlikely that you will be talked about or be accessible to your audience. With the right press coverage, your brand will gain credibility, making you stand out from your competitors which will help you to attract new customers. In the cannabis industry in particular, PR is a way of establishing a positive brand image, which can be difficult in this developing industry, helping to promote your brand as honest, beneficial and trustworthy.

 

Relationships

A PR specialist is dedicated to building and maintaining strong relationships with the public, potential partners, investors and the media. PR is not about manipulation, it is about creating respect through proving to be credible and therefore building trust with your consumers. Social media has increasingly become the go-to for advertising and, while this can help to spread awareness of your brand, social media and paid advertising cannot replace the credibility gained through trusted, third-party advertising which is only possible through building authentic relationships through effective PR.

 

Attract investors

If you’re just starting out, implementing PR as part of your overall marketing strategy will make you appear particularly desirable as a new business. Not only will positive media coverage build general awareness of your brand, but having a well-designed PR plan will make you appear well established, helping you to seem attractive to potential investors which will help you to receive funding and partnerships.

Public relations is not about just telling the audience about your business, it’s about convincing them of your relevance and purpose in their lives through positive storytelling. It is also not just about implementing positive reputations but also about transforming negative ones. Good PR has the power to shift an audiences’ attitude and influence behaviour change. A single incident or dent in reputation has a lasting effect of 4 – 7 years before you can start to transform public perception. This is why it is crucial to invest in good public relations strategies to avoid mishaps that could have detrimental impacts on the entire company.

“I’m going to be completely honest with you. If you’re looking for a quick-fix solution to help you boost sales or find clients for example, don’t bother with PR. Instead, put your resources into marketing or advertising. While you do hear of the odd article that leads to mass sales, for most business owners, PR is a marathon, not a sprint. A one-off feature in a newspaper or radio interview isn’t going to make you millions. But a steady stream of newspaper and magazine articles, and radio and TV appearances, over a number of months (or more realistically years) will help you build credibility, influence and brand awareness. PR can help you raise awareness, win more clients (or the right kind of clients), get better-paid speaking gigs, sell more products, books or help you get into the right retailers… But it will take time.” – Kristina Spionjak

To make sure your branding in on point, take a look at our blog post: Common branding horrors within the cannabis industry and how to avoid them