Stand out from the crowded market and get your brand seen
One of the most talked about aspects of any business is branding. Brand recognition is what helps align customers and potential customers with what you represent. Branding relies on visual cues to bring about certain feelings or thoughts about how your product or service impacts people’s lives. As with many aspects of the cannabis business, branding is both an art and a science, that has become an advanced aspect of design, business strategy and the understanding of consumer behavior. If your company isn’t focused on developing your brand and ensuring that your brand is hitting the mark in all the right places, you could be setting yourself up as “just another cannabis product”.
Take branding by the horns, and break through the noise of an at-times over-saturated industry with new cannabis products and services emerging every day to be the next best thing. Here are some important considerations, whether you offer a product or a service to the cannabis industry, that you should keep top of mind about your brand:
Your Vibe: Head Shop or Williams & Sonoma?
One of the first things you’ll want to think about is your level of sophistication that you want to portray in your branding. Early cannabis brands held on to the Bob Marley, cannabis leaves everywhere, 420-pride vibe and thus created branding that was aligned with old stoner culture.
Do you want your brand to be more attractive in a head shop, or in a store like Williams & Sonoma or Starbucks?
Your brand is what will announce you to cannabis consumers, of which there is a wide spectrum. Whether you are a service or a product, the way you brand yourself, from your logo, to the colors used, to the language you use, to the way you conduct yourself within the industry will gain your audience.
Be intentional about your image, and help the cannabis industry move past stoner culture to create products, services, and brands that spell sophistication and show people why cannabis is worth billions worldwide.
Your Market: Gaining Attention of Target Market
Along with the image you’re wanting to portray, think about the target market you’re looking to reach with your cannabis product or service. With so many ways to reach your target market, from social media, to your website, to your presence at expos and trade shows, to your in-store presence, you need to become attractive and engaging to who you’re trying to reach.
In addition to standing out through the noise of all cannabis brands trying to reach them, you need to find a way to show them that you’re what they’re looking for and you have what they need. This is where brand segmentation is important and understanding the various ways that you can align your cannabis brands with different cannabis consumers.
How does your brand resonate with your target market? Are you reaching niche markets? Does your brand arouse certain feelings or emotions that help people naturally align with what you represent?
Your Team: Personal Branding with Corporate Branding
Along with building your company’s brand, personal branding is of equal importance. Your company’s brand goes beyond how you appear on paper, and should translate into the way your employees and team members portray your company.
Don’t portray your cannabis company as fun, young, and engaging online without being able to carry that into your presence at conferences, trade shows, in speaking engagements, or in networking events. Encourage individuality within your team, while working as a whole team to define how their personal branding enhances your company’s overall brand.
Your Design: Carry The Brand through All You Do
Your logo, your website, your language, your promotional materials, your packaging and labelling, your trade show booths, your email signatures, your offices, your company letterhead, your swag, your Instagram page, your dispensary design, and your store shopping bags are just a few ways you can carry your brand through what you do.
Don’t limit your branding to just one aspect of your company. Carry the look, feel, values and vibe through every part of your company. Building a strong brand is knowing that you’re in the presence of what your brand represents both through visual cues and the vibe you create for who is engaging with you.
Choose what aesthetic defines your brand, and carry that through all aspects of your business.
Your Language: Words Matter
Oftentimes, cannabis marketing can be extremely restricting, but freedom of speech will always reign. Content is key! Use your website, and social media (where not restricted) to further your brand through the words you choose.
Many brands come up with a style guide that will be weaved through their brand’s written work. They’ll come up with an agreed upon tone, verbiage, and level of language that will translate through to all written and online materials.
Decide as a brand how you want to represent yourselves through the words you use. Do you want to be an authoritative voice on cannabis? Do you want to portray a fun, relaxed atmosphere? Are you formal or informal in your communications? Do you want to come off as clinical or casual?
Once you’ve decided on your language style, agree to weave this through all your communications so that people get familiar with your style and align it with your brand recognition.
Break Through the Noise
Many cannabis brands think they’ll be the next best thing, but fail to do the work required to get that brand on point so that it’s recognizable both inside the industry, and to the targeted consumer.
Your brand is more than just your logo – it’s who you are and what you stand for. Be highly intentional about your brand, and put yourself in your customer’s shoes to make sure you’re resonating with the target audience you wish to reach.