5 Lessons That COVID-19 Taught Cannabis

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Investing & Adapting in Digital

The impact of COVID-19 has been swift and devastating, and will continue to unravel in ways that we can’t yet understand. Though the economic hit has been shocking, the shift into digital comes as no surprise. We’ve been moving towards a digital-first experience for some time now, and through an unexpected push, we’ve arrived. 

Now that we’re here, what lessons can we take from cannabis companies that have been successful? Here are 5 lessons in building a business that can withstand a crisis, and how Ten/17 can be part of your solution.

1. Your First Impression is Digital

For many businesses, online sales have traditionally been a backup to brick-and-mortar. With the closing of many storefronts, this backup quickly expanded to support entire industries.

For cannabis in particular, consumers often shopped based on proximity. The choice between stores came down to which was closest. Though this remains important and highlights the need for a local search presence, buyer behavior is evolving. 

Consumers are becoming choosy in cannabis products and brands, and a solid digital presence will go far in winning them over. The first time customers encounter your brand is likely online. With your competition at their fingertips, you only get one chance to make a compelling first impression. 

2. Cannabis Is Essential

For a plant with a prohibited past, cannabis has come so far in being legalized, accepted and valued. With a growing presence in the medical community, it’s not surprising to see it designated an essential service. 

In an industry that’s overcome adversity, it’s important to build a brand that reflects an essential service. A compassionate voice will go a long way in building a solid customer following. As will implementing processes that promote consumer trust, accessibility and safety. 

In retail, this includes increasing sanitation and offering click-and-collect programs for contactless delivery. In production, remote support and monitoring has made all the difference. Effective online communication comes back to digital presence. It’s an essential part of an essential service.

3. Success is More Than Profit

Companies have had to respond quickly to unique challenges, and within this response, determine what success looks like amidst a pandemic. For cannabis, this is more than financial stability and safety. Brand values and social responsibility play a key role.

We’ve all heard the ‘we’re here for you’ campaigns, but for the companies that followed through, their response has been rewarded. The Valens Company began producing hand sanitizer and donated personal protective equipment to frontline workers. By doing their part to support the community, they upheld their ‘it’s personal’ company values and further strengthened their brand identity. 

4. Think & Support Local 

COVID-19 has changed the retail landscape in ways that won’t be undone, encouraging buyers to support local Canadian businesses. Brands that become a part of their community have reaped the benefits of a loyal clientele. 

Digital marketing plays a large role in communicating value to a target audience. Companies that invest in digital continue to deliver their products to local consumers, staying ahead of the competition.

5. Adapt, but Stay Real

The cannabis industry is seasoned at adapting. For years, evolving regulations and limitations have forced companies to get creative. In a time of crisis however, consumers don’t respond well to messaging that’s overly reactionary and opportunistic. 

In marketing, there’s a fine balance between what’s built to adapt and what’s built to withstand. Your brand’s voice and identity should be unwavering. Your brand’s offering and marketing should be adaptable. With a solid online presence, you can change with the times, while building your reputation. 

How we can help.

Digital expertise. 

A common thread here, is that it all comes back to digital. With people online more than ever, now’s the time to invest. Here are a few of the specific ways we can deliver value:


Website Design – Whether starting from scratch or looking for a refresh, we can help. We offer ecommerce and custom development, so that the final product is uniquely yours and tailored to your business needs.


Search Optimization – For standing out in a sea of green, we can ensure your website and local business get found organically.


Digital Marketing – We build campaigns on cannabis-specific networks to showcase your products and any special offers.


Content Creation & Social Media
– We’ll create content for your website and social, to build your community and establish your brand voice. 

Cannabis experience.


We’re a diverse team of creative specialists, delivering powerful websites and brands for the cannabis industry. We’ve helped to elevate a range of ambitious clients including LPs, B2B businesses, and retailers. From start-ups to established canna-businesses looking for a fresh start, we have the digital fortitude to take cannabis brands to another level.

Book a free consultation.

We’d love to learn more about your cannabis business and how we could help you succeed beyond just weathering a storm. If you’d like to schedule a meeting, don’t hesitate to reach out.