As this tumultuous year is winding down and we approach the two-year mark of legalized recreational cannabis, Canadian’s shopping patterns are beginning to emerge. What’s one notable category that’s hot lately? Budget brands.
According to a new report from Brightfield Group, value brands have surged in recent months in every way. Customers are finally recognizing their brands and buying them—loyally!
COVID has been rough on many pocketbooks and customers aren’t in a place financially to treat themselves with new things, so they want what value brands are selling: more cannabis for less money. On top of that, budget brands are much better at competing with the illicit market since they use a similar pricing scheme and so sell at a similar price.
Brands doing well in this category are successful at a few different things. First of all, their brand messaging and product positioning directly line up—extra points if that branding is simple and aesthetically pleasing, with succinct, welcoming messaging across all platforms. Successful brands have also leveraged their brand to get eyeballs on their messaging and then have used that messaging to attract sales with value positioning.
The majority of brands are all lacking one thing though: digital presence. According to the report, most value brands only have a landing page and an Instagram page, neither of which having been updated since they’ve launched. These brands seem to be focusing more on in-store marketing with budtender education rather than educating consumers directly with digital content. The report goes on to say that this is likely because of the belief that budget-conscious consumers are looking for the lowest price or highest THC rather than their favourite brand.
Research shows, however, that price was only the second most important factor in choosing a product. With the popularity of budget brands rising, more products will likely flood into the market. If five brands are selling a similar product for a similar price, how are customers going to choose what to buy?
One value brand, The Batch, stands out with its casual, people-focused branding and messaging. That brand uses common slang for the names of their products and builds a community online with their social media presence, consistently posting fun content.
As the value market gets more and more saturated, brands will have to offer more to the consumer than just cheap bud and find new ways to reach customers. It’s not enough to be the lowest price. As Brightfield states in the report, “A strong brand is built by creating an emotional connection with a consumer, not by being the cheapest option in-store at the time.”