Media relations and partner PR support for the bi-annual Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo, and annual Canadian Cannabis Awards
Lift & Co. ran one of Canada’s top cannabis consumer review platforms — like a Yelp or Vivino for cannabis strains — and hosted Canada’s largest industry tradeshow, the Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference and Expo. With Canada’s strict marketing regulations, consumer reviews proved an invaluable resource for anyone interested in cannabis to access the information they need about product details and effects. Our events were integral to bring the industry and consumers together for important product education, engagement and awareness.
Canadian Cannabis Awards (November 2019):
The Canadian Cannabis Awards leveraged Lift & Co.’s cannabis reviews and supported the brand’s position as the authority on cannabis information. An award win was also invaluable for emerging cannabis companies and personalities to demonstrate quality and differentiate themselves in an otherwise rather homogenous brand environment. The November 2019 CCAs were the first edition after a full year of recreational cannabis sales in Canada. Importantly, this was going to be the first proof point for the brands that came out on top after year one according to a jury of industry experts, their peers, and consumers.
PR Scope, Approach and Objectives:
As the in-house Communications Director for Lift & Co., the November 2019 awards were my second CCAs and my first as the full event PR lead. The project scope included announcement strategy for nominations opening, shortlisted nominees and the list of winners, and on-site media coordination. Lift & Co.’s cannabis review platform was integral to the public voting mechanism, and the PR for the awards had to include awareness around Lift & Co.’s brand and its leaders.
Awareness: Generate press coverage around the awards to drive value for the sponsors and winning brands, as well as the Lift & Co. review platform
Relationship-building: Leverage the black-tie event to engage key press and influencers and build strong relationships that could be leveraged throughout the year
Building Credibility: Through the awards, prove the validity of the Lift & Co. platform as a trusted resource for the most robust cannabis strain information in the country. Position Lift & Co. leading the overall legitimizing of the cannabis industry with a major awards program.
I conducted advanced PR for earned coverage, focusing on trade media that would have higher interest in nominations opening, and leveraged the profile of cannabis ambassador Sarah Hanlon to announce the nominations opening alongside her hosting role. Planned and ran a full red carpet execution on-site for the night of the awards, including talent selection and coordination and press placements. Planned and executed all on-site winner photography and secured two cannabis press outlets for an all-night post-award-win interview experience. Fully executed a press release announcing the list of winners, with coordinated pitches to appropriate outlets based on theme (female, regional, lifestyle, etc.).
Earned coverage reach for the 2019 CCAs was 50 million and over 100 hits, a 22% increase in earned media over the previous year. The on-site red carpet was full with 10 targeted media outlets resulting in dozens of interviews with attending talent throughout the pre-awards reception. Additionally, I secured an evening news segment with CityNews, and engaged cannabis and lifestyle influencers on-site for in-kind amplification (Daniel/Julio, Casie Stewart, Jacqui Childs).
Lift & Co. Cannabis Expos - Toronto and Vancouver (June 2019 and January 2020)
The Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference and Expos were Canada’s preeminent industry conference and tradeshows. They were the most well-attended events by both industry and consumers, welcoming hundreds of speakers and exhibitors and up to 20,000 attendees at each event.
PR Scope, Approach and Objectives:
As the in-house Communications Director for Lift & Co., I led the PR for the June 2019 Toronto and January 2020 Vancouver Expos. The Company required a PR lead to execute on the following objectives:
Position the conference and expo as must-attend industry events
Leverage the event to position the Lift & Co. executive team as thought-leaders with media and the industry
Manage media accreditation and attendance
Develop strong news hooks to make the event a must-attend for press, while securing key press opportunities for the event’s sponsors, exhibitors and speakers — demonstrating ongoing value of Lift & Co.’s events
I managed accreditation for over 200 media outlets, bloggers, content creators and influencers for each event. I scheduled full days of media placements (interviews) in the media zones at each edition, not only driving coverage from the show floor but als creating a sizzling visual on-site for attendees who witnessed news cameras rolling all day long.
The Toronto and Vancouver expo press coverage reached audiences of 180 million and 190 million, respectively.
Key coverage highlights:
What Do Cannabis Consumers Look Like Following Legalization (Strategy, Toronto 2019)
12 Essential Conferences for Meeting Everyone You Need to Know to Succeed in Cannabis (Entrepreneur, Toronto 2019)
Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference sets the stage for the future of Canada’s cannabis industry (Bloomberg, Toronto 2019)
New Highs: Inside the Luxury cannabis industry (The Walrus, Print, Toronto 2019, ran in January 2020)
From high-end to high-tech, budding cannabis companies undeterred by volatile start to legalization (CBC TV and Online, Vancouver 2020)
Lift Cannabis Conference opens up world of marijuana to business and consumers (CBC Morning Radio, Vancouver 2020)
Too many producers: Analyst says market needs some pot growers to go out of business (Postmedia, Vancouver 2020)