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5 Ways To Build A Trustworthy Cannabis Brand

People want to do business with interesting people, not just another company looking to profit.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

New brands pop up in the cannabis space every single day, leaving consumers with an anxiety-inducing number of products from which to choose. For business owners, a crowded marketplace makes it harder for them to establish trust and credibility.

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When decision-makers are overwhelmed and struggle to pinpoint what makes one brand different, they tend to gravitate towards the cheaper options by default. This is when business profits are in danger of falling, and companies run the risk of becoming "just another brand" in one of the fastest-growing industries.

What do business leaders need to do to avoid commoditization and protect their business's bottom line?

"Across the cannabis industry, companies and brands are missing the opportunity to stand out by collecting customer feedback and using that data to make better decisions and create a competitive advantage," says Jason Cragholm, Founder of QualSCORE.

Here are four easy-to-follow tips that'll help cannabis businesses avoid commoditization and failure by building a stronger, more well-respected brand.

1. Identify your ideal customers

You can't be all things to all people. If you try to be, you'll be nothing to everyone. Instead, take the time to identify what makes you uniquely qualified to solve a specific problem. Next, determine who has this particular problem, and what your ideal customer or dream customer would look like. Characteristics of your client avatar include their job title, role at a company, demographics, where they like to hang out, what their day-to-days typically look like, and what keeps them up at night.

Once you're able to get a clear vision of your ideal customer, you will be able to make the most of your communication efforts, such as social media marketing, earned media, paid media, and owned media.

2. Establish a brand narrative that has value

Understand what makes your company uniquely qualified to solve a problem. Is it past career experience, an event that took place in your personal life, or a combination of both? Incorporate your answers into your branding. Tip: Including an element of thought leadership into your brand is a great way to add value to your communication efforts.

Too many brands focus solely on product or service features of what they're selling. While features are tremendous and can be significant, it's what makes you and your brand unique that people will remember. There's only one of you. Use that to your advantage, and don't be afraid to incorporate an element of who you are into your brand's narrative. After all, people want to do business with other interesting people, not just another company looking to profit.

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3. Embrace purposeful communication

You need to understand your customer's pain-points, what keeps them up at night, what they like and don't like to do, what stresses them out, and what brings them relief.

"The most important thing cannabis leaders can do is to prioritize their commitment to delivering high-quality products and customer experiences, and then, tracking customer feedback to ensure they're delivering on that promise," says Jason Cragholm who leads QualScore, a market research company focused on cannabis brands. "Most businesses make improvements to their product that don't matter to their revenue because they're not listening to their customers."

Once you commit to taking that extra step and going the extra mile for your customers, you'll be pleasantly surprised how much more connected and loyal your ideal customers will be.

4. Think big picture and long term

To avoid becoming just another brand, you'll need to focus on the big picture, not short term gain. Says Matthew Morfopoulos, Co-Founder of Respond Flow, a company focused on text message marketing in the cannabis space, said, "Canna marketers will always face the age-old dilemma of increasing sales now and building a strong brand that will last decades. As a marketer, it's not only your job to increase revenue in the short term, but also to craft a narrative around your brand that will sell itself. A good narrative leads to more demand for your brand and less money on paid ads, 'growth hacks,' and other silver bullet answers to marketing.

"As we look for ways to break out of industry white-noise and position ourselves as unique problem solvers, it's critical to understand that people want to do business with other interesting people—not just another company looking to profit. Next time you're communicating with your customers or potential customers, make sure they know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Just like Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

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