Article by Anisha Dhiman, Growth Op
What kind of reputation do cannabis companies have with Canadians? When Quebec market research and analytics company Leger conducted a nationwide online survey in January of this year, Aurora Cannabis Inc. took the lead with a reputation score of 18; followed by Canopy Growth Corp. (14). CannTrust Holding Inc. came in third (6).
Reviewing 16 Canadian cannabis companies, participants were asked one question: Do you have a good or bad impression of this organization?
When Leger conducted a follow-up study in July, the numbers had dramatically changed. What caused the disruption? One of the main contributors was the CannTrust scandal involving unlicensed greenhouses. Data reveals the controversy affected the public opinion of not just one company but the whole industry.
For the follow-up study in July, 1,500 Canadians evaluated 19 companies. Auroramaintained the lead, but with a reduced score of 9; following closely was Canopy (7). Meanwhile, HEXO Corp. rose in the ranks and came in third with a score of 4. In the Jan results, HEXO ranked fifth, but with a slightly higher score of 5.
CannTrust, on the other hand, plummeted to the 19th position with a score of -1.
A company can get a maximum reputation score of 100. To determine the score, Leger takes into account the number of people who have a good opinion about the organization, followed by the number of people who have a negative opinion, and then subtracts the two.
“The score looks at image and awareness — in order to give a rating, a participant must be aware of the company,” explains Dave Scholz partner at Leger. Scholz was one of the speakers at MJBizCon INTL, a cannabis conference that took place in Toronto this week, for the session ‘Good Reputation: Who Has It and How to Get It.’
“So if you have 100 percent of Canadians feeling good about the company, the reputation rating will be 100. For a company to have a negative rating, that would indicate that more people dislike them than like them,” he says.
Scholz continues, “The reason we wanted to ask one question is that when a company has something good or bad happen, they often want to get an immediate look at it. To conduct a large study with 50 questions takes time to organize and by the time one may get the results the issue might have already ruined you as a company or you might be forced to move on.”
Scholz notes the overall decline in the rating [since January] isn’t just because of CannTrust. “If we had done a survey a week before the controversy, we would have seen a drop anyway. During the start of the year, cannabis companies were brand new and enthusiasm was at an all-time high. By July some of it has cooled off, in part due to the many glitches the industry faced, like supply shortage, hiccups in the provincial distribution system… there were a lot of negative stories. It’s not because people want this industry to fail but it’s under a microscope,” he says.