Is being honest a good business decision? For some professionals operating in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
Many reliable cannabis companies do their best to build an authentic foundation of trust with their business partners and consumers. Sadly, that commitment to safe commerce is not shared by everyone in the industry.
Qredible® is here to change all that. Our mission is to flip the script. We’re transforming the industry from a place that rewards corner-cutting and manipulation to one that rewards truth and transparency with one of the most valuable forms of currency available: trust.
Keep reading to learn more about marketing claims in the legalized cannabis industry, and how Qredible is helping responsible businesses widen the gap between themselves and their competition.
Misleading Messaging and Greenwashing
A lack of trust is not unique to the legalized cannabis industry. For decades, many in the business world have operated on a basic understanding that honesty doesn’t pay. The idea is that being transparent about business practices often leads to negative outcomes instead of an increase in trust and, in turn, revenue. Some have also speculated that it is difficult for the FDA and USDA to monitor everybody, so chances of getting caught are slim!
Take the recent increase in consumer demand for sustainability. While many green businesses are taking their commitments seriously with valid ESG claims, a large number of organizations participate in “greenwashing” by making fraudulent or misleading claims in their messaging. The Truth in Advertising Organization cites many well-known brands that are “greenwashing” and affecting the health of consumers in addition to the environment.
The result is an oversaturation of ESG claims that makes it increasingly difficult for the best businesses to achieve recognition for their efforts.
How Greenwashing Impacts Consumer Trust
There is an increasing awareness that many consumers don’t trust sustainability claims made by businesses anymore. The presence of greenwashing has eroded their ability to believe product labels and marketing messages.
Not only does this have a significant impact on the industry as a whole, but it damages the significance of valid and verifiable sustainability commitments, therefore disincentivizing businesses to make and keep them.
After all, why bother investing time and energy into an initiative that won’t make much of a dent in how your consumers perceive you?
In the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry, many businesses are beginning to feel the same way. Any company can make a quality claim or post a certification icon and—with only a few, if any measures in place to hold them accountable—get away with it, regardless of how compliant they actually are with the requirements for that certification or claims made.
Legalized Cannabis: A Competitive Industry
The U.S. legalized cannabis industry is rapidly evolving in both consumer behavior trends and regulations. As the industry grows and strengthens, so too does the competition between businesses operating in the space.
As legalization increases, federal regulation models from other countries show there will likely be a divide between the businesses that embrace change and those that resist it. That means adapting to regulation and heeding the increasing consumer demand for transparency is a reliable growth and resilience strategy for many businesses.
What Cannabis Consumers Value
A recent study of purchase drivers for legalized cannabis found that consumers notice a significant disconnect between unregulated brands and products from regulated sources.
Here’s a breakdown of the main purchase drivers for cannabis consumers:
- Price: Consumers in the study correlated lower prices with illicit products and lower quality, but noted that it was still an important factor for their purchase.
- Quality: Those surveyed did not share a single definition of what constituted a quality, reliable cannabis product. They struggled to identify which products were high-quality.
- Reliable Packaging: Consumers in the study noted the importance of being able to read, understand, and trust the product information on the packaging.
- Social influence: Recommendations were one of the strongest purchase drivers in this category because they increased consumer trust.
- Retailer characteristics: The study found that consumers prioritized purchasing from local businesses whenever possible.
When it comes to quality, research supports that consumers have shared notions about what is important to them. Their priorities fell into the following three categories:
- Whether or not a product met regulatory standards
- The safety and effectiveness of the product
- Whether the product was properly cultivated
The study demonstrates the increasing consumer demand for transparency. Customers are aware of the disconnect between product messaging and what can actually be validated and verified. They just don’t have access to the resources required to make those decisions for themselves.
Qredible®: Supporting Transparency in the Legalized Cannabis Industry
Qredible®‘s Q-Trust™ is a platform of premium services and tools that were specifically designed to support businesses operating in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry.
These tools include:
- Automated compliance monitoring and proactive audits to identify potential violative language and false claims
- Reminders about expiry and recertification dates
- Reputation monitoring and management
- Validated, immutable documentation including COAs, lab reports, certifications, registrations, and licenses
- The ability to access curated news and industry-specific research, resources, and analytics
But there’s more to Q-Trust™ than compliance monitoring and reputation management. There is also a range of tools designed to help honest business owners grow their businesses by increasing value, improving their marketing messaging, and establishing a foundation of invaluable trust with their customers.
Let’s break down some of these functionalities.
Integrated Network and Digital Registry of Brands
Customers can search for companies in Q-Trust. Whether a company has registered or not Qredible has thousands of licenses on file that it tracks. In many cases, it will already have information on file about that company. This data comes from a variety of monitored sources such as the FDA, FTC, legal databases, the Better Business Bureau, and more.
The customer can also visit the brand’s profile and view important information such as:
- Ingredient information
- Lab reports
- Validated and verified certifications
- License and registration information
- Brand reputation history
- Raw material source information
Using blockchain-powered technology, companies can achieve end-to-end visibility in their supply chain with the Q-Vault™.
One of the important aspects of Q-Vault is secure and immutable lab reports or Certificates of Analysis (COA). Suppliers who work with Q-verified labs will be able to provide verifiable information about the raw materials, ingredients, and contents of their reliable cannabis products.
This lab report is submitted electronically by the lab to Q-Vault, meaning the company cannot modify it in any way. Once it is in the Q-Vault, it is rendered immutable by blockchain-enforced technology and tied to a lot and batch number.
This level of security allows these businesses to distinguish themselves from the competition. They begin to cultivate a reputation as being completely transparent about the quality of their products. Brands still control the ability to publish these lab reports after they are reviewed and accepted. The only thing they cannot do is modify the report; fraudulently or otherwise!
Suppliers, manufacturers, merchants, retailers, and ancillary businesses all benefit from having access to this information. It provides them with the ability to make accurate claims in their product messaging and differentiate their business from those who are not.
For consumers, having access to all of this information empowers them to make purchase decisions with confidence. But it does more than improve the shopping experience for consumers, it also allows businesses that make and adhere to quality, ESG, and other commitments to stand out from their competitors.
Your Customers Will Find Trust in Qredible®
Thanks to Qredible, it does pay to be honest in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry.
By providing access to a platform that encourages and supports transparency for businesses in all areas of the supply chain, Qredible is fostering a symbiotic community and ecosystem of quality and trust and enabling companies to stand by their brand promises. In Qredible, merchants, distributors, retailers, financial institutions, labs, and consumers can all engage in safe commerce.
Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.