Why do I have to brand my cannabis business?
You have already spent a ton of money on licensing and its associated costs and your resources are depleted.
You think, it’s going to be enough to have a great product or service and a website. Unfortunately, your are in an industry that is going to get more and more competitive as time goes on.
That means you will have to brand your business to make it stand out from the field.
It will no longer be enough to stick a marijuana leaf on your packaging and have a basic green website. Everyone does that and has been doing that.
Instead, you are going to have to come up with a whole look that speaks to who you are and what your value proposition is.
Your Cannabis Business
If you are in this business you will probabaly fall into the following categories:
What should I be considering when branding my cannabis business?
You will be developing a consistent voice and look that will characterize you and your cannabis business from this point on. You have to sit down and think about the factors which distinguish you from everyone in your field. Then you have to take your target audience into consideration and figure out how to appeal to them.
For example, inner city millennial men and Generation X suburban women are completely different demographics. You will have to use specific images and language to appeal to your targets.
You must also decide which image do you want to portray. Clean and sophisticated, latter day hippie, sporty, holistic, and organic are all possibilities depending on your product and audience.
The images you use to represent your brand are important. This is particularly relevant since due to state laws you are going to be limited in what you can portray and where you can show it.
For example, Facebook and Instagram will prevent you from making direct sales pitches or showing people imbibing.
Therefore, think of the way that soft drink or alcohol companies showcase their products. It’s always about lifestyle and benefits.
Happy, smiling people are in groups, having fun, experiencing the possibility of romance and so on.
Big pharma has it down pat. Exuberant romps through fields of flowers are ubiquitous, and as long as you don’t read the contraindications included in the fine print all is well!
Which elements go into branding?
All of the following elements go into branding your business / product:
- Logo or logos
- Fonts and typography
The advertising industry has been around for a long time and has spend billions of dollars researching and testing consumer behavior. You can apply these principles and use them to your advantage when branding.
Colors, for example, carry certain negative and positive associations. Green indicates health and an organic product, IBM Blue indicates trustworthiness.
Fonts can be elegant, casual, feminine, hip ( hippie and hip-hop too!)
Visualize an edible wrapped in a brown paper bag wrapper with a green leaf vs a elegant red package with gold foil. Totally different markets and consumers -one says, love and romance, the other an outdoorsy lifestyle.
You get the idea.
What does voice mean?
Your goal is to create an emotional connection with your potential customer. You are telling them you are a good match for them.
The goal is to be authentic and to appeal to your chosen tribe.
However, due to the nature of lotteries, zoning and other requirements, sometimes you will have to tweak that voice to your demographic or the people who will be shopping in your area.
It’s about you and the product, but mostly, it’s about the client and what you can give to them. In other words, your value proposition.
What is your story about?
This is where you can really shine and connect emotionally. Tell us the truth about you and your business.
- What inspires you?
- Which obstacles did you have to overcome?
- Why is pot your passion?
- Do you want to help people with pain, to relax, to experience bliss or get outside their ego based states? All that is important.
- Are you minority owned?
- Do you hire people whose lives have been blighted by the legal system?
Tip: Don’t be afraid to get in front of your business and be its spokesperson. We are our own worst critics. However, you are probably younger looking, thinner, and more attractive than you think you are. If not, good lighting and lenses are key.
We live in a digital world. You need to have a terrific website that will bring value and showcase your investment in your business.
Your Cannabiz Website
Your website is your virtual address but more than that, it’s your store and your window to the world.
Whenever a search is initiated you’ll want to show up with your product or location. Here are the must have’s for your website to succeed:
- Fast loading
- SEO optimized – especially for local and voice searches if you have a storefront
- A great design that tells your story and showcases your products and that is inline with your overall branding
To read more:
Marketing is everything. And everyone in business needs to be marketing. All the time. What does that mean?
- Professionalism is key
- The way you talk about your business
- Your website
- Your social media
- Your newsletter
- Your Google and Yelp reviews -especially important as we move towards voice and local search since the number of high reviews equates to best where search engines are concerned.
- SEO. This is not some technical thing that happens on the developer end. It’s all about the content on the pages.
- Great content is all about how you communicate with the user and answer their questions.
The purpose of social media is to drive people to your website or local storefront where conversion will be made.
You will have to gear your posts towards the regulations of that particular platform.
You will have to keep up with trends on your chosen platforms. For example, currently on Instagram, the curated look is out and naturalism is in.
You must identify the demographics on each platform before you create your campaigns.
Don’t just stick to Facebook and Instagram. Remember, you are raising awareness not just directly selling products. Create some recipes and feature them on YouTube, get on to Pinterest with images of your products, and think outside the limiting box.
Getting the Product to the People
As always, remember social media is fickle. Changes in algorithms and closed accounts for perceived infractions can cause you to despair over your wasted efforts and the loss of your customer base.
What should you do?
Like any business, you need to grow your email list.
- When you exhibit, feature a sign up sheet
- Feature a newsletter on your website that customers can sign up for
- Feature something valuable in exchange for their contact information, such as an invitation to a tasting.
- Club memberships.
Once you have their emails you can begin text message or email marketing directly without any interference from Mr. Zuckerberg and company.
Cannabizes are just in their infancy. We are fortunate enough to be at the forefront of an industry were we can make money but, even more importantly, set precedents in marketing, product design, web design, and branding.
It is our job not to just preach to the choir but to bring in new business and expand to heretofore untapped markets.
That’s where branding comes in. You can have the greatest product in the world but unless you market it properly, you will lose the game.
In order to win, a winning strategy is necessary. That strategy begins with branding and creating your most valuable marketing asset, your website.
We have always favored the legalization of cannabis. We find it distressing that cannabis users have been targeted and imprisoned in the past.
Health and well being
We also have seen the beneficial effect cannabis has had on our friends and loved ones, helping them cope with stress, pain, and mood regulation.
Branding and a well designed WEBSITE brings VALUE to your business
We are extremely excited by the value our industry can bring to yours. We are also highly motivated by the web design possibilities inherent within a brand new industry where few precedents have been set.
We would sincerely like to partner with you in being at the forefront of that industry.
If you need the following, we can help
- A cannabiz web design