by NCIA’s Education Committee
Brand drives revenue. Companies – in any industry – with a strong brand are able to sell their product at a premium price over the non-branded (or perhaps generic) products in their market or sector. Think of a few of the household names with strong brands (e.g., Apple, Tide, Chevron, or Peet’s Coffee). These companies have direct competitors but they are able to charge a higher price point because of their brand and the loyalty that comes with a positive brand experience. The companies also draw customers for repeat business every time they are in the market for the product. Loyalty drives repeat business. Revenue increases from investing in your brand far outweigh the costs, and many of those revenue increases are rewarded directly from training and developing employees.
Continuing our theme from a previous blog, investing in your employees has a direct correlation to building a strong brand, which leads to increased profits. Brand for most consumer products is experiential. Your customer has an experience from which they establish their association with your brand – both positive and negative. The experience may start with where the purchase was made, how the employees (e.g., budtenders) explained the product through the experience of using the product, and finally disposing of the product. Each touchpoint creates a personal brand experience and demonstrates the importance of training your employees throughout the sales and use cycles to provide exceptional customer service and education. Some key reasons cannabis employers should invest in their employees with a focus on brand include:
- Brand drives loyalty, which is derived from the experience your customers have with the product from purchase to disposal. Loyalty drives increased pricing.
- Developed, well-trained employees have relationships with customers that resonate beyond the transaction. Friends support friends.
- From seed through product sale, well-educated employees will increase sales volume by gaining the trust of your customer who may need education about your product and its benefits or differentiators from the product’s competitors. Trained employees build trust which leads to increased sales.
- At the retail level, educated employees will create a better customer experience, and therefore will drive brand loyalty to the dispensary increasing return sales and referral sales. High-traffic retailers have strong brand loyalty, which increases sales of your products on their shelves.
- Educating employees in retail locations will increase sales volume by cross-selling other products in your brand portfolio.
- Customers seeking a specific brand will drive dispensaries to seek out and stock those brands.
- Educated employees will be proud of their employer and its products and therefore go the extra mile to ensure their success and the success of their employer.
A strong company culture of collaboration, employee investment, and thoughtful branding increases your product’s value in a highly competitive market. Customers want to invest, via their purchase power, in businesses that value their employees through a commitment to the personal and professional success of their workers. A company that is able to and focused on enriching its staff is reaping the benefits of flourishing profit margins. The cannabis industry, and general industry as a whole, needs to focus beyond a feast or famine mindset. Investing in your employees builds trust, respect, and loyalty; this can be translated to customers. Building a stable and balanced community of educated employees and happy customers that is sustainable provides repeat sales.
Well-educated and trained employees work as teams, supporting each other and your business. They give back to their employer in many ways both tangible and intangible. For example, they will go out of their way to assist a customer, work a little faster towards the end of the day to get through the line of customers or help to recruit their friends to work at your company, minimizing hiring and onboarding expenses. Invest in your employees, and your teams will succeed. Training doesn’t require extensive budgets. Check here for access to a set of learning tools offered by NCIA. Team members will help each other, not let others fail. They will also drive product recommendations to the products they know (e.g., have been trained on the benefits). Happy employees reward their employer with increased profits by creating a positive brand association to your customers.
NCIA’s Education Committee assists with the design and development of educational programming for NCIA, and helps identify emerging topics in the cannabis space. Learn more about our members here.