Lately, folks looking to promote their marijuana businesses are taking cues from the coffee industry for marketing cannabis.
But what do coffee and cannabis have in common?
Of course, the obvious similarity is their uncanny ability to enhance one’s mood. In different ways, of course.
But it goes beyond that. Committed coffee drinkers revere the mighty bean and the plant from whence it comes – just as marijuana connoisseurs bow at the alter of the cannabis plant and its buds.
Plus, there are multiple processing options for both plants, as well as a multitude of consuming options for their drinkers/users.
So it makes sense then that the cannabis industry is turning an inquiring eye toward the coffee industry for inspiration.
What Are Some Cues from the Coffee Industry for Marketing Cannabis?
Artisan coffee brands that have survived know just how to generate buzz around their product. And that’s no easy feat – given the saturation of the market. (Another similarity to cannabis.)
Starting a cannabis company is tough for the same reason (not to mention a few more).
The following are five ways successful coffee brands have stayed afloat. And owners of cannabis businesses can certainly benefit by learning from these cues.
1. Stick with Your Story and Mission
The cannabis industry is on fire. If you don’t want to get swept up in the flames, then you need to be very clear on your company’s story and mission. Then you need to stay true to it.
What makes your brand unique?
For two different coffee companies, it’s the utilization of distinct visual styles. One company prides itself on products that are artfully sourced. So they’ve taken it one step further by sourcing their artwork from a local school of illustration.
Original artwork is carefully screen-printed onto bags of their coffee. Then they up-sell with designs available as t-shirts, mugs and art prints.
Meanwhile, Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago regularly commissions different artists to develop bag designs. And just about anything goes. This wild and unconventional approach garners instant recognition for their products.
Think of ways you can present a unique visual style that speaks your truth. Something that will really speak to the audience you’re wishing to attract.
2. Educate Your Customers
Nobody likes to look uninformed (i.e. stupid).
That’s why some coffeeshops and roasters are going the extra mile to educate their customers. And not just on the difference between a mocha and a macchiato.
We’re talking a full-blown coffee education. One company even features training centers in its cafés where customers can take lessons on home brewing, cupping fundamentals and the rich cultural history around coffee.
All in the name of keeping their customers from feeling like morons.
The same effort should be applied to the cannabis industry. When customers are informed about things like processing methods or advancements in technology (vaping pens may soon be able to do your taxes) it really enhances their experience.
When looking to enlist new customers, consider what they may not even know enough about to ask. They’ll appreciate your effort to keep them informed.
3. Embrace Your Inner Nerd
If you’re in the cannabis business, you probably have a geeky love for the product.
The same is true for those in the coffee industry.
Many craft coffee brands have taken to listing every detail about their product right on the bag – from the coffee plant species and when it’s harvested, right down to the name of the farmers and what they like to do for fun.
Those who love their coffee “drink” up this information. Because the truth is, they’re geeks too. And this information is cool to share at parties. Geek parties.
But seriously, sharing this information with your customers creates a connection with the source of the product and improves the overall experience.
So be prepared to tell the story – the whole story – of your cannabis and how it’s grown, crafted and processed.
4. Collaborate and Co-Brand
This is not only a great way to make a difference, but it’s a very effective way to surround yourself with like-minded people. And there’s strength in solidarity.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters out of Portland, Oregon, are the experts in co-branded collaborations. They’ve partnered with Mast chocolates, Tilamook ice cream and Jacobsen Salt Company to develop products that contain their coffee.
They even paired up with Rouge Creamery to collaborate on a coffee-stout cheddar. Okay, it may not be your thing. But point is, they’re deeply tied into not just the coffee community, but the culinary community at large.
Yeah, for now there are restrictions cannabis companies face that coffee roasters don’t. But it’s only a matter of time until those restrictions are lifted. So be ready.
5. Be An Activist
The cannabis industry exists because of activism. So keep the activism alive within your business practices.
We all know there are environmental and socio-economic repercussions of the both the coffee plant and cannabis. So giving back maintains some balance.
For example, when customers place an order at The Office Coffee Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan, a percentage of the profits go to their choice of one of three charities. Every purchase, every time. And the three charities are changed out from month to month.
Aware of the potential hazards to birds created by coffee cultivation, another roaster sets aside bird-friendly habitats on coffee farms.
Now is the time to think about innovative ways you can make an impact that is true to your brand, while connecting you with an audience that cares.
Watch Your Cannabis Business Grow
The burgeoning cannabis industry is ripe with opportunities unavailable anywhere else.
But learning through the successes and mistakes of other industries is crucial to keep your cannabis business agile and profitable. So take advantage of the above cues from the coffee industry for marketing cannabis.
And if you could use further support in your cannabis marketing strategy, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation.