There’s no doubt that COVID-19 shook up one of the cornerstones of the cannabis industry; events. Without large, in-person events like O’Cannabiz, Lift & Co Expo, and MJBizCon, brands are scrambling to reallocate marketing dollars and develop quality virtual and COVID-19 friendly events. From adapting established events to new opportunities here are some innovative events that are leading the way for a post-COVID cannabis industry.
Generating in-store traffic, even during COVID, is a priority for retailers across the country. One of the best ways to generate foot traffic is through popup events and in-store activations that drive engagement with new and current consumers. It’s even better if they are engaging and educational, supporting the knowledge gap between the general public and cannabis products and accessories.
Oak and Earth Paint Nite – Sustainable ceramic smokeware company Oak and Earth adapted their Paint Nite for a fun and COVID-safe night out. Taking place in their production studio and in cannabis retail stores across Edmonton (more cities coming soon), Oak and Earth Paint Nites allow attendees to create their own custom piece of smokeware. Attendees can paint their own glaze and designs under the direction of an Oak and Earth artist and then it’s fired in the kiln. While painting, attendees learn about how Oak and Earth products are made, the sustainable materials used, and proper use and care of the products.
Mihi Cannabis Launch – The launch of the Mihi Burlington store demonstrated creative ways to get the community involved in person and at home. From great video content about some of their accessories and creators to a socially-distanced launch event with media and local industry friends, Mihi made an impact.
Virtual Networking Events
From the start of COVID we saw events shift to virtual. Conferences large and small are leveraging online tools such as Zoom to host panels, webinars and networking opportunities. Opportunities to network virtually from home have been a cost-effective way to drive business forward throughout 2020.
CanMar Global Expo – The inaugural CanMar Global Expo took place October 23-25 and was focused on education and career opportunities within the cannabis industry. It’s a great example of the interesting virtual conferences that have emerged during COVID to connect and engage the global community. One of the major benefits of virtual events is the ability to bring people from around the world together without physical and financial limitations, allowing the global cannabis community to connect and learn from each other.
One of the major benefits of virtual events is the ability to bring people from around the world together.
CanMar worked to create an event that’s affordable for attendees while giving back to the community. $4.20 from each ticket sold went to charity, and attendees chose what organization their money went to: Medical Cannabis Canada, GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund, or the Last Prisoner Project.
Cannabis at Work Roll Call – The Roll Call, presented by Cannabis At Work is a unique event designed to allow participants to connect on a deep and authentic level. At The Roll Call, business is put on the backburner with personal connection taking centre stage. The Roll Call co-founder Jeff Ord believes that when people get personal and connect without business expectations that’s when magic happens and true relationships can form, leading to better personal and business experiences.
The first Mega Roll Call this past summer was a highlight for the cannabis community. Through a partnership with Organigram and Edison 165 secret packages were sent out to participants, creating joy, anticipation, and a sense of community the cannabis industry has been craving.
Offsite Events & Brand Extensions
While driving traffic in-store remains paramount for retailers, reaching and engaging your consumer through offsite events and interactions can help build audience and brand awareness. Collaborations and partnerships can provide interesting new ways to interact with customers.
Another Burger Joint – Even during COVID-19 people love experiential events with a fun theme. The folks from Another Room developed Another Burger Joint, a ticketed all-you-can-eat mini-hamburger event with a cannabis flare. This event brought together a variety of partners including Superette, Tantalus Labs, Pennies, Gossamer and more. With COVID safety guidelines in place, this event was a huge success; bringing awareness to participating brands, business to a local establishment, and joy and burgers to the masses.
420 Cannabis Court Comedy Shows – 420 Cannabis Court is an outdoor venue founded with the purpose of creating paid opportunities for performers who lost work and venue space due to COVID-19. 420 Cannabis Court brings people together to share their art, get paid, laugh, and provide a sense of community for the cannabis industry and people living in the area. For brands looking for compliant, COVID-safe event opportunities, 420 Cannabis Court has show sponsorships available as well as options for venue rentals. Learn more on their website 420cannabiscourt.com
COVID-19 is sure to have a lasting effect on our events-centric industry, but necessity is the mother of invention, and as an industry we are adapting and creating innovative and memorable event opportunities to highlight our brands and connect as an industry.