Craft Your Cannabis Brand Identity like a Pro with Lisa Petty (Lift Events)

Episode Description

This week we speak with Lisa Petty, the Director of Marketing for Lift Events and Experiences. Discover how Lift lives by its fun and personal values, embedding these qualities into each of their unique cannabis events.

Cannabis retail is far from a "one-size-fits-all" approach - Lisa drives this point home as she emphasizes the importance of identifying what makes your store stand out from the rest. Dive into the concept of creating a unique space for your customers and how to establish meaningful relationships with them.

Ever wonder how to really make your brand identity resonate with customers? Lisa does a deep dive, explaining why treating customers like stakeholders is a high-yield strategy. She discusses methods of incorporating their feedback into elements like your logo, store menu, and even new product introductions.

We also explore the concept of a "Meet Cute" marketing strategy - that one unique customer experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression. Listen as Lisa shares insights from brands that have crafted memorable meet cutes and how your dispensary can create one too.

Marketing is a crucial backbone in any business. Lisa shares some epic strategies that have proven to be effective, putting emphasis on the valuable role of micro-influencers and how to tap into this reservoir potential.

Our guest today is an established professional in the Media & Marketing sector, specifically in Fashion, Beauty, and Lifestyle, Lisa Petty. Lisa is the Marketing Director for Lift Events & Experiences, managed by MCI, the global leader in engaging and activating audiences.

With a robust career spanning over 15+ years, Lisa has gained an impressive skill set, including Branding, Global Positioning, Strategic Events & Activations, Content Marketing, Logo & Graphic Ideation, and Social Media. Her other areas of expertise encompass Public Relations, Influencer Marketing, and Media Partnerships. As a team leader, she has excelled in Management & Mentoring roles, instilling her knowledge and insights into the up-and-coming generation of marketing professionals. Today, she joins us to share her thoughts on how dispensaries can leverage events for community awareness.

Find out more about Lift Events and Experiences  at:

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Episode Transcript

Lisa Petty: Retail is retail. Cannabis is unique, but there are certain things that apply to any retail store, especially a small, local, personal retail store. Find what is uniquely ownable to your store, first and foremost.

Welcome back to the Kaya Cast podcast. I'm your host, Tom molar. And today on the podcast, we have Lisa Petty, who is the marketing director for Lift events and experiences.

Lift events are cannabis expos that happen every year they have them in Vancouver and they've had them in Toronto. They're having one in San Francisco.

I had an amazing time talking to her about the parallels between lift events, which they try and make fun and personalized and an experience and how that kind of translates into dispensary's and how they can make that in store experience a unique retail experience for people coming in.

We talked about developing a brand identity. And we dove into her idea of meet cute marketing strategy. If you're a romcom fan like myself, you are very familiar with the idea of Meet Cute. It's creating this memorable experience where two characters meet and so. Lisa kind of explored how dispensary's could leverage that idea of creating those sticky experiences that stay with customers as they leave and really, make them want to come back. And so, I really hope this interview lifts you up and helps you to grow your business. So let's jump into the show with Lisa Petty.

Tom Mulhern: Our guest today is Lisa Petty an established professional in the media and marketing sector. With a background in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Lisa is the Marketing Director for Lift Events and Experiences, managed by MCI, the global leader in engaging and activating audiences. With a robust career spanning over 15 plus years, Lisa has gained an impressive skill set, including branding, global positioning, strategic events and activations, content marketing, and social media.

So Lisa, welcome to the KayaCast podcast. It's so fantastic to have you on the show.

Lisa Petty: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to talk to you today. And thank you for such a wonderful introduction.

Tom Mulhern: Now you're a part of the team that does Lift Events, and KayaPush, we've been to a couple of your events before. So, what makes Lift Events unique to other cannabis events that are out there?

Lisa Petty: Lift Events are intentional, they are personal, and they're fun. We live by a set of values that we adhere to above all else. We are personal because we go out of our way to make sure that everyone feels taken care of and that everyone feels seen.

And fun, well because we're fun, there's just a lot of fun that we put into, like it is baked into the event, no pun intended.

Tom Mulhern: Well, and, it's interesting, you said intentional, personal, and fun?

So how can dispensary owners bring some of that intentionality, personalization, and fun into their marketingfor their brand?

Lisa Petty: Retail is retail. Cannabis is unique, but there are certain things that apply to any retail store, especially a small, local, personal retail store.

Find what is uniquely ownable to your store, first and foremost. What can I say about Lisa's Dispensary that I absolutely can't say about anyone else's store? What you're trying to do is identify your unique space. What do I do for my customers that no one else does?

It's also important to establish a one on one rapport with each of the customers that come through the door. And these are all frankly things that are low or no cost.

Tom Mulhern: I love those, those strategies. Have you seen other ways that dispensaries or even cannabis brands can really develop a brand identity with customers?

It starts with what's uniquely ownable.

Lisa Petty: So I would say once you do that exercise, once you come up with, okay, this is the list of things that I do best that I do like nobody else does.

It could be as simple as your terrific location. One of our winners in Toronto of the retailer scholarship, they were like theneighborhood spot. That was their identity. They were of the neighborhood, you know, kind of like your local pizza place or whatever.

Whatever this list is, then use that to inform the font of your logo. Don't use a folksy font if you're going for a sleek modern look. And then I would say shop it around. Why not take your five to ten best customers and say, look, we want you to be a focus group.

We are choosing a new logo and we want to know what you think. And that way they feel like stakeholders in the success of your business. You can do this for all kinds of things, not just creating a logo. What if you want to change your menu at your store? What if you want to increase the ratio of, say gummies to pre rolls.

What if you want to introduce a new brand? Why not bring in 10, 20 of your most loyal customers and and have them tell you is is this worth being on the shelves at this precious store?

Tom Mulhern: I loved that, owned strategy, like the things that you can own, that you can take control over. Make sure those are amazing. You also use, the importance of meet cute. Now that might be a strange term for some, but can you kind of explain the meet cute marketing strategy and how or businesses can leverage that?

Lisa Petty: This is like a staple of the rom com. Your two people in the rom com will always Meet Cute.

Meet Cute means that moment of connection that remains sticky for the fact that it is so unique.

So what I would say is that applies to an experience in a dispensary, again, tying all the way back to what do you do that no one else does, and then figure out a way to build a me cute into it.

There are a million things that you can find to make it sticky. That's how I look at a Meet Cute.

You know, you are never going to forget that connection that you made in that moment.

Tom Mulhern: There's certain brands that are really good at that sticky experience. So, can you give us an example of someone that's done that really, really well?

Lisa Petty: We do these wonderful retail scholarships at Lift Events, where it has to be a small retailer. So three locations or fewer. And one of our winners, they have basically like a concierge. They have these young women and men dressed to the nines, kind of like, like a concierge or even a bellman at a hotel.

So, dressed up, at the door, greeting people and walking them through the entire process, start to finish. I think that's wonderful. Bringing the budtender out from behind the bar maybe. And, you know, having them make it more of a journey. That's a wonderful meet cute. Especially if you've got this person who is so personable, so charming, so, so knowledgeable, you're gonna want to go back and do business with them again.

Tom Mulhern: What are some of the top marketing tactics that you've seen that really worked well, like putting on your journalism and your marketing hat?

Lisa Petty: I would say micro influencers, micro ambassadors. So, when it comes to a small business, and when it comes to social media, especially in the cannabis space, you have to be extremely careful. So the first thing you need to do is read up on all of the rules and regulations when it comes to cannabis and social media.

Once you've got that down, look into the micro influencers in your area. One of the first people that comes into your store, oh my gosh, I work with so and so over here and I'm also the president of this association.

And I, I really like to volunteer at the pet shelter on the weekend. That's a micro influencer. That's someone to bring into the fold. That's someone to help spread the word and evangelize your business on a one to one basis. I love the idea of micro and hyper local influencers for a type of business like this that's frankly hard to advertise.

Tom Mulhern: Especially in some of those smaller communities, that would be so powerful.

Do you have any tips for how they can find those people that

will be a strong voice for your brand?

Lisa Petty:  So one of the things they tell us in marketing is identify your target audience's key watering holes.

So, you know, if I was opening a dispensary and I wanted to find my local evangelist, I might go pick out 10 sandwich shops, little indie places, and start rotating them at lunchtime every day. Same thing with a pub at happy hour.  You know, if there are any sort of independent grocery stores, bodegas, little wine shops.

Anywhere that you think that the person you envision shopping in your store would also shop.

Tom Mulhern: I have one more question and then I want to hear more about, about Lift, but what is your one tip that you would have for a business owner to either launch, scale, or grow their business?

Lisa Petty: Know your audience. And to thine audience be true. You have to know them intimately. The whole point of my job is getting to know my audience on a personal basis. And then utilizing that information to ensure that my marketing connects.

Tom Mulhern: Can you share a bit about the upcoming 2024 Lift Expos in San Francisco and Vancouverand how people can get connected to what you guys are doing at Lift?

Lisa Petty: Absolutely. Well, the first thing I'll say right now is that Vancouver is going to be lit. I am so excited. I'm not supposed to pick favorites, but I love that city. I love the vibe.

One of the things that we are launching for 2024 that will be brand new, and I think especially resonate in Vancouver and San Francisco is Bloom. And Bloom is an area within our show, that showcases brands that are I would say personality plus, small, emerging brands. Definitely an eye on equity and an eye on individualism.

So it is a way for us to connect the retailers, the buyers, and the bud tenders directly with these exciting new brands.

We will also be continuing with Taste, which is all about cooking with cannabis and cannabis mixology. Like we did the whole sort of chef stadium look when we were in Toronto and we're gonna bring it back and we're gonna blow it up and we're actually gonna have a chef competition.

So, those are a couple of the things I'm really, really excited about.

Tom Mulhern: We'll have all of those links in the bio for people to connect and to register and to come out and, you know, I would love to go see that cooking competition. That sounds amazing.

Hopefully I get the chance to come out to Vancouver at least because it's not too far for me to get out there.

But Lisa, this has been fantastic and I would really encourage people to go check out Lift and what you guys are doing and I, I really appreciate you taking this time.

Lisa Petty: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed the talk and I'll come back anytime.

I said it at the beginning, but I Hope that you were lifted up by that interview with Lisa and you know, her experience and expertise in marketing. She has so many great ideas of how dispensary's can leverage that in-store experience creating a unique retail experience that really reflects the community around you. I loved her idea of finding micro influencers in your local community that you can partner with that can be brand ambassadors, and you can find them at the local coffee shop, the local sandwich shop, as she said, People that are going to speak on behalf of your store and the experience that they've had there and make an impact in your community.

So go out and find those people partner with them, and find new and creative ways to grow your business.

I want to thank everyone who had the chance to vote for Kaya Cast podcast for podcast of the year and KayaPush for business software of the year and all of our other partners.

We won't get those results and tell the awards show at M jBizCon you listeners will be the first to hear if we win these awards.

If you're going to be at MJ biz con, make sure you stop by our booth for KayaPush and say hi and get a free sticker. We're so excited to meet new people in the industry are checking out this podcast and we will see you next week for more interviews with people that are launching, growing, and scaling their cannabis business.

Thanks for listening to the KayaCast podcast. We hope you enjoyed the show. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast in your favorite podcast app, or visit our website to learn more about our guests and to access the full archive of episodes from the show. Join us next time as we continue to explore the world of cannabis and help you grow, launch, and scale your business.

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