Cannabis Crisis Communications During COVID-19:
A CMA Webinar Brief
By Vyla Carter
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in March business, as usual, was upended. The way companies operated had to quickly change, including those in the cannabis industry. Cannabis crisis communications became vital.
Ricardo Baca, CEO of Grasslands; Daniel Gardenswartz, CFO of Spherex; Marji Chimes, CMO of Coda Signature and; Jeanine Moss, Founder and CEO of J Moss & CO. came together in a CMA webinar to discuss cannabis crisis communications during COVID-19. Webinars led by cannabis marketing professionals are a core benefit of CMA membership.
What is crisis communications?
According to dictionary.com, a crisis is an event in which the trend of all future events is determined, it is a turning point. The speakers went further with this definition. They discussed what cannabis crisis communications looks like for their brands and how to utilize best practices.
Baca emphasized that cannabis crisis communications are an important aspect of PR. Ultimately, it is about protecting your brand, executives, and industry. One of the first steps to crisis communications is identifying your stakeholders and then deciding how your messaging to them must change.
Crafting your new message to them is important to cannabis crisis communications during the coronavirus pandemic because of the new lifestyle many people have to take on and because of the new way they are consuming media.
Moss extended this by saying that figuring out what is happening and what each stakeholder group is grappling with is key. The big question is “what do you need to do for your stakeholders?”
Several of the panelists also mentioned how they are changing the way they communicate internally. Some of them even hold daily meetings to communicate with their teams during these ever-changing times and credit their recent success to these meetings.
Gardenswartz discussed how he is keeping an open-door policy to communicate with everyone in his company and is communicating on a real-time basis. He wants people to be able to ask questions comfortably. He is also making sure all information he releases is correct and clear in the message and suggested everyone else also consider this. One of his key messages is that you want to make sure you are on the best possible footing when you emerge from this crisis.
Moss emphasized how you are not alone during this situation. People are happy to help you and give advice, even your competitors, so make sure to take advantage of that where you can.
How are your teams working given this new way of working during this crisis?
This pandemic has changed the way we look at health and safety. That means operations have had to change in the cannabis industry too.
Chimes discussed how you want all your information to get to everyone in the line of production and sale. She emphasized that you must know every layer of the process and how COVID is impacting that specific layer.
Moss went along with this by saying that you are needing to make new standard operating procedures as you go. You should record everything so you have a plan. Your plans for solid cannabis crisis communications during COVID-19 should be able to help you in a future crisis.
The webinar wrapped-up with a question and answer with all the panelists. The topics included digital marketing and balancing your business’s and employees’ needs.
To get full access to this webinar and learn more about cannabis marketing, become a CMA member today!