06 May 2022

How to Establish Your Brand in a New Cannabis Market

Image of Isabel Carter

Isabel Carter

2023 is a hopeful year for the Cannabis industry with new markets expected to legalize. At least four states – Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota have a good chance to legalize adult-use marijuana this year. These new markets, in addition to recent legalizations, allows cannabis brands to break-out into new territories bringing new consumers to their brand.

Looking to capitalize on these new markets? We chatted with our Cannabis team to give their advice on how to establish a brand in a new market.



Front Line Team Affinity

Building a relationship and overall affinity to your brand with frontline retail teams is critical. Advertising, branding, and messaging are all important aspects of connecting your brand with your customer. But at the end of the day the Cannabis industry is a highly consultative one and often the team interacting with your customers face to face within the four walls of the dispensary, are really who are going to ensure that your customers are feeling a connection with your brand.

Consider committing resources towards ways in which you can work with that team directly, such as:

  • Training
  • Samples
  • Hosting special events
  • Running exciting incentives

Are all incredible ideas to connect with that team in a meaningful way and ensure they are excited about your brand and want to get others excited too.

Retail Partner Collaboration

Establishing a partnership with your retail network in a new market is incredibly important. You are ultimately partners in each other's success, and approaching it as a partnership can go a lot farther than simply providing access to your brand.

Additionally, without building a strong partnership with them, it will be difficult to gain the access required to ensure you’re able to build relationships with their front line team. Look for ways to be collaborative with your retail network, find those that align with your values and the experience you are offering, and explore unique ways to partner up with one another in a meaningful way that supports you both. Things like vendor days, exclusive promotions, product launch campaigns, co-sponsored special events, and even community service related activities will all support strengthening the partnership between your brand and that retail partner.

Community Outreach

Positioning yourself in the broader market community as a resource, ally, and a trusted and respected operator can be really powerful. Focusing in this area can strengthen a connection to your brand not only with your retail network, cannabis early adopters, and the cannacurious, but also with those communities that perhaps aren’t yet comfortable with the idea of cannabis being legally accessible where they live or those that are even downright anti. A lot of concerns coming from that community are based in fear of the unknown and anything you can do to provide relief to those fears will have a lasting positive impact.

Look for organizations in the surrounding market communities that align with what your brand represents, and support you in further connecting with those that are curious or even anti cannabis, and see where you can work with one another. Volunteering or sponsoring community projects, holding luncheons or round table discussions, and supporting fundraising efforts will all help to strengthen what your brand represents in the community, further establish your brand as a positive and trustworthy operator, all while continuing to break down barriers.

Identify your target audience

It is important to identify your target audience and tailor to their needs. Once you have your ideal customer base established, you will want to keep them around, so do things like pop up at the dispensary, shout out your customers on social media and be responsive to their feedback or concerns. It is important to be as visible to the consumer as possible.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is an environment that is constantly evolving, as a brand, you will want to adapt to the changes as well. Social media is such a great tool to introduce the public to your brand through tactics like short form video content on Instagram and TikTok. Social media will also be an important part of new consumers learning more about your brand. Partner with local dispensaries online to cross promote in a mutually beneficial way.

All of us here at SparkPlug are stoked to be along for the ride with you all. Connect with SparkPlug today to discover how we can keep your cannabis organization ahead of the curve.