>>CHALLENGE

When Cloud Cannabis engaged Franco as its integrated communications partner in the fall of 2020, the company had just opened its first cannabis dispensary in Michigan in Muskegon and was about to open its second store in Ann Arbor.

With several other dispensaries already open in Ann Arbor and across Michigan, Cloud challenged Franco with the following:

  • Build relationships with media and generate coverage for Cloud’s Ann Arbor and future store openings.
  • Create community partnerships to align with grand openings and holiday give-back campaigns.
  • Establish Cloud co-founder John McLeod as a thought leader in the Michigan cannabis industry.
  • Highlight what’s unique/different about Cloud’s products, stores and overall approach to business to differentiate the company in the fast-growing Michigan cannabis industry.

>>APPROACH

At the start of all new client partnerships, we host a discovery session to uncover the company’s “why” – what makes the company unique/different from competitors. Upon hosting the discovery session with the Cloud team, we built out key messages with unique value propositions that would assist us in telling the Cloud story – including John’s unique and personal cannabis story/journey – with Michigan media.

John is a phenomenal and eloquent speaker, so we recorded a video of him sharing his very personal story about why he believes cannabis saved his life so we could share this with the media.

What started as a media relations program focused on getting coverage for the Cloud Ann Arbor store evolved into a more robust integrated communications program, including:

  • Coordinating community partners for store openings and holiday campaigns, plus securing media coverage about the partnerships.
  • Working with cannabis influencers across Michigan to promote Cloud’s new stores and products.
  • Working with media to secure stories about Cloud’s new stores and thought leadership opportunities for John McLeod.
  • Creating weekly Cloud media coverage and industry/competitor trends and coverage reports.
  • Building a LinkedIn page from scratch and using the channel to highlight Cloud employees, hiring opportunities, new stores, community partnerships, media coverage and more.
  • Handling all aspects of community management on LinkedIn, including  writing and publishing content, coordinating creative with the Cloud marketing team and monitoring/responding to comments.
  • Providing a monthly integrated communications report that showcases media relations/thought leadership success and growth across LinkedIn

>>RESULTS

Through strategic integrated communications and storytelling efforts, Franco’s program has successfully elevated Cloud’s visibility among Michigan media and the community in only 1.5 years.

Reporters are now reaching out proactively for John to speak on topics relevant to the growing Michigan cannabis industry.

Specific results include:

  • Secured 80 pieces of coverage, including broadcast, online, print, podcasts and radio.
  • Created relationships with 7 nonprofits across Michigan and coordinated fundraising campaigns with those nonprofits as part of Cloud’s grand opening give-back and Cloud Cares holiday campaigns.
  • Created relationships with Chamber of Commerce contacts in all cities where Cloud opened new stores. Franco worked with contacts to coordinate attendance at grand openings/ribbon cuttings and to provide details about the new store through the Chambers’ various marketing channels.

Plus…

Generated nearly 1,100 visits

to the website from LinkedIn.

Drove approx.
880 visits

to the website from media coverage, Chamber of Commerce websites and community partner websites.

Gained more than 2,000 followers

organically in 14 months following the LinkedIn page launch.

Grew impressions by 30% 

on LinkedIn from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022.

And…

Customers have come into Cloud’s stores and mentioned they read/saw media articles about the store openings, which prompted them to visit.