How To Build Trust and Credibility As a Cannabis Brand
Credibility is the quality of being believable or worthy of trust. As a brand, it is important to establish credibility with your customers so they can confidence in your business and believe in what you are creating. There isn’t one thing that creates credibility in a leader or business, but rather, it is a combination of attributes that together build credibility.
As a cannabis brand, credibility is even more important because the continued stigma surrounding cannabis. Cannabis brands will have to work 4 to 5 times harder than other brands in other sectors to be considered legitimate and trustworthy. Additionally, operating in an industry that is federally illegal can produce a distrust with many novice customers from the beginning. One must also be aware of those looking for the so-called “big-payout.” You know, the competitors joining the industry claiming erroneous titles and awards. In this industry, if your cannabis brand doesn’t establish credibility you will quickly be forgotten or passed over.
So canna-companies need to build credibility, but what does that involve? The American Marketing Association (AMA) suggests that there are six core drivers of brand credibility. These drivers, when used together, build a reputation that your company is worthy to do business with, and a brand people, customers, and patients can rely upon. These core drivers are:
In any industry, these core drivers aid in the success of all types of businesses no matter what role you possess. Trust is the most important part of credibility whether you are trusting yourself, trusting upper-level management or trusting your company as a whole. Entry-level employees all the way through upper-level management can build credibility for the brand by exhibiting behaviors that encourage trust.
When the level of trust is built from the inside out it creates a stable and secure level of credibility. Employees feel comfortable speaking up or sharing ideas and customers feel comfortable making consistent purchases. Think of some companies where the employees are incredibly unhappy and don’t trust their managers or employers. Do you spend your money at a business with that reputation? Of course not.
Trust is the most important aspect of being a credible brand, but it isn’t the only way to build credibility. Below are 5 tips to boost credibility for your cannabis brand and grow a trustworthy business that consumers are excited to return to over and over.
Refined Bud’s 5 tips to build credibility
Make your message consistent with your brand values. The language you use in marketing, social media, and day-to-day interactions with customers should all communicate the same thing. For example, if you are a dispensary that supports only sun-grown, Clean Green Certified cannabis, don’t promote products that contain pesticides because they are popular at other dispensaries. Stay true to your company values because that is what is important to you and what is important to your customers.
One thing about brands that quickly causes consumers to distrust them is when they don’t listen. Understand customers are returning to you for a reason, and it is your job to listen to their concerns and be professional and respectful. We may not agree with what they are saying, but we need to hear their concerns, and try to solve their problem. That doesn’t mean that every customer is right or that your audience is everyone, but it’s about cultivating a relationship with your customer that is deeper than just the sale.
Remember, Bain & Company says that it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. When you listen, act professional and courteous, and respect your customers your credibility and revenue will grow.
- Demonstrate honesty and integrity:
Fast Company reports that the clients favor honesty over anything else when it comes to their favorite brands. In this digital age, every little thing a company does is online in seconds and analyzed by dozens of gossip sites in a day. It is important for any business to remain transparent and honest in everything they do, even if what is going on is not so savory.
Creating an open and honest relationship between your brand and your customers or patients is incredibly important in the cannabis industry because of marijuana’s diverse properties, various delivery methods, and overall complexities to new and advanced consumers.
For example, a cannabis grower should be honest with their customers about how their product is grown and what is actually in it. For patients, they rely on clean and safe medicine. When a cannabis brand isn’t honest with customers about pesticides, dust, and other harmful chemicals, it can seriously affect the health of their consumers.
A global study showed that “87% of global consumers say it’s important for brands to ‘act with integrity at all times.‘” When your brand is honest with customers you demonstrate integrity and that you care what happens to your employees, customers and in the community.
- Build Expertise:
To increase your credibility, gain expertise in an area, job function, trade, or tool. Furthermore, take every opportunity to demonstrate your expertise through public speaking, seminars, webinars, and your work.
When you are an expert in something, people whether they are customers, leaders, entrepreneurs or journalists will seek out you and your brand for advice, quotes and as a business to follow. Expertise builds credibility because it shows customers and industry leaders that you and your brand hold professional value to the industry.
Two additional reads to understand more about building expertise are from Harvard Business Review who shares steps to gain expertise in a new industry, and Forbes outlines why you should share your knowledge and why it is necessary to establish your credibility.
- Be authentic:
Lastly, be your authentic self. An authentic marketing strategy can produce a higher Return on Investment (ROI) to take your brand to the next level.
Be authentic in every aspect of your business. Develop a brand personality and incorporate that personality into your marketing strategy, corporate culture and brand message. Operate on platforms that reflect your brand and avoid mediums that would take away from your brand’s personality.
Envision your cannabis brand is a physical person with a personality. Stay true to that person and convey to your audience that you are a real company with real values. Embrace what made your cannabrand great and share that with the world. Looking over this list of authentic brands is a great visual to quickly show you how authenticity can pay off.
So, while building trust and credibility can be hard for us ganjapreneurs we want to know what cannabis brands have gained your trust and why? What actions have they taken to enable you to trust them? After all, trust is a two-way street—it has to be earned.