Cannabis Branding and Marketing: Building Your Brand Identity
As cannabis brands now number in the thousands, the importance of distinguishing your offering is growing daily. It’s vital to define yourself through creatively calculated choices that pique consumer interest. The best cannabis branding and marketing creates an indelible impression of your product in the psyche of the consumer.
From a certain shade of yellow to a particular font or the words you use, there are infinite ways to mold your image. That’s good news. The challenge lies in putting it all together in a meaningful, cohesive, and effective fashion.
Branding doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It takes place over time. By getting it right from the beginning, you can reap the rewards sooner. However, wherever you are in your business journey, it’s never too late to reassess and retool your branding and marketing strategy.
We’ve got some advice about what to embrace — and what to avoid — when demonstrating to the world who you are and what you have to offer in the increasingly competitive cannabis industry.
Coloring Inside Your Brand
The first impression a consumer has of your product is visual. The colors you choose are elemental to your brand. They have the potential to grab the eye and capture someone’s attention just long enough to engage them further. Some of the most iconic visual brand associations are automatic.
When people think of UPS, they think brown. In fact, “What can brown do for you?” became the brand’s slogan for nearly a decade. Similarly, Pantone color no. 1837 — Tiffany Blue — is synonymous with luxury and expensive jewelry.
When it comes to cannabis branding and marketing, there’s been a decided trend toward shades of green and “natural” colors. There’s nothing inherently inferior about those choices, but if you want to stand out, it’s may be wise not to wrap yourself in camouflage. Feel free to embrace bold shades from spicy orange to neon green.
What about your logo? People are so overexposed to images these days that they’ve grown increasingly immune to them. Whether it hinges more on a cool shape or a detailed image, a logo needs to be compelling.
You can go “antique” 1800s, 60s psychedelic, 50s atomic, sci-fi, zoological, botanical, or minimalist — anything — as long as it captures the eye. Just be sure to steer clear of images like cartoons that might overtly appeal to children.
Take care to avoid unintended results. The best images are crisp, clear, and uncluttered. Most importantly, they’re memorable and unique. Logo generators churn out tidal waves of images that trend toward the generic and can even be confusing in their similarity to one another.
A custom-designed logo that is distinctive can be well worth the investment for cannabis branding and marketing. A logo expresses more than a product. It conveys mood, attitude, and feeling. Your company’s logo is its emblem.
While a picture is worth a thousand words, your brand has much more to say. From your brand name to tag lines, copy, and content, words should engage consumers in ways that are attention-getting, informative, and reassuring. Convey your expertise without making it all about you. Consumers want to know what you can do for them.
NewsCred Insights has compiled data demonstrating the power of content from business and consumer points of view. They state, “Content is a major part of the customer journey, allowing brands to be discovered, and then creating an always-on relationship. And, if you do it right, it can be a big ROI driver.”
From your website to social media, ongoing digital communication is important and expected from brands. There are more available channels than ever to tell your story. Whichever platforms you choose, be sure to keep things fresh. Content, including social media posts that are updated regularly, convey industry authority and brand viability.
All Business Is Show Business
In 2017, Scott McKain published his book All Business Is (Still) Show Business. A renowned author and consultant, McKain advises companies on ways to distinguish themselves. Along the way, he aptly establishes parallels between the entertainment business and all business.
The author focuses, in part, on the declining power of traditional advertising, the rise of the informed and independent consumer, and the emergence of an experience culture. Brands that participate in “show business” are engaging, entertaining, boundary-breaking, and create value for the consumer.
Creating a connection with your audience is a top priority when it comes to cannabis branding and marketing. Videos are a prime example of creating that connection via show business, and the numbers for their use are compelling. An estimated 66% of consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Hosting a podcast series can be a boon for cannabis brands. An intimate and informal platform, podcasts provide listeners a chance to get to know you. They can help you establish trust and brand recognition among listeners by showcasing informative talks with interesting guests — without veering into prohibited advertising territory.
Consistency Is Key
Do you want to let your freak flag fly? By all means, go ahead. It is the cannabis business, after all. Are you more buttoned-down? Perhaps you’re “all business” or high-tech. Remember to carry your concept from your logo to your website to your packaging and beyond.
If you run a dispensary, your retail interior should mirror your brand colors. Your employees should be well-educated so they can help you keep your brand promise. If you tout efficiency, be sure you deliver it from your website to every in-person interaction. Medical expertise? Your staff needs to be able to talk cannabinoids and terpenes.
Don’t confuse the consumer. If you want them to identify with a certain personality or image, stick to it. Brands are built with consistency.
When You Need Help
You may be juggling every aspect of your cannabis business — from accounting and inventory to employees, bills, compliance, and at least a dozen other “priorities.” It can be easy to lose yourself in logistics. Even in the thick of it, it’s important never to lose sight of your brand.
The creative marketing and design team here at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help you establish and promote your brand while you’re busy doing everything else. Reach out to us for a consultation to get all your cannabis marketing questions answered.