This article was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.
Sooner or later the use of cannabis is going to be federally legalized. Today, numerous states have legalized the substance for recreational use and many more have legalized it for medical purposes. Multiple pieces of bipartisan federal legislation have been created aiming to legalize the substance nationally at the federal level for those over 21 and allow states to set the rules for how to govern within their jurisdiction.
As all of this has happened, cannabis businesses have cropped up all over the country. Competition to become relevant has been fierce in many areas where the substance has been legalized, especially for recreational use. To set your business apart, it is highly important to begin to develop and utilize a strong brand identity.
Branding is probably the single most important business decision you can make when it comes to getting your name out there. A good brand is recognized ubiquitously across society and draws in new customers while keeping loyal ones coming back. It leaves a memorable impression that sets the tone for your business and ultimately your success.
Creative Design Development
Although it appears easy on the surface, coming up with a good brand can be a real challenge. The company needs to look at design elements such as color, symbolization, and catchphrases, but they also need to consider the values and story behind the brand. Where and how brands are advertised are also critical components that will dictate long-term success.
Getting company leaders and employees together for an efficient brainstorming session can be a great way to start the branding process. Give everyone a chance to submit ideas and discuss the values they think the company does or should stand for and take them seriously. Defining a story outlines the values that lead to a brand. It’s all part of the process for success.
Think of the power of the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches. These brands have nailed the strategy to the point where potential customers can look at a symbol and know the company, its products, and the values it represents. Companies such as these can be looked to for ideas on what you should be doing to make your brand really stand out.
Implementing in Store
There are plenty of questions to be asking yourself as you’re developing your cannabis brand. First and foremost among them are questions like:
- How can I finance the dispensary to get it off the ground?
- Am I going to be in a location that will draw in customers and attract business?
- Is there a way to stand out in an already crowded field?
- What is the target audience and how do you cater specifically to them?
As you work on branding ideas, these are all things to consider. A strong brand with a good story and set of values could attract investors that see the potential in your business. Likewise, a great branding strategy may attract customers through the door. After all, there is a growing number of cannabis tourists out there who are just looking for a great experience off the beaten path. A strong brand can be the key to making you stand out in a crowded field.
Of course, there is a lot that goes into making that a reality. Even the simplest things such as painting the walls of the storefront and shop with the right colors to set the tone can be a factor in building a brand you want to have. For instance, if your logo is green and white, but your building is painted purple you are sending out mixed messages. And if you’re trying to build a cozy coffee house vibe but your interior is more reminiscent of a medical facility, you’re not doing it right.
Implementing in Advertising
Finally, outside of your brick-and-mortar building, you’re going to have to advertise your brand. Creating social media pages and garnering likes and followers can be a big part of that. Use templates to design cohesive pages that portray your brand front and center. You don’t want potential customers thinking that your Twitter handle and Facebook page are two different dispensaries.
Branding and marketing in today’s technological world is a different ball game than what it used to be. Today, most big companies are using big data and analytics to target specific audiences for their ads. This type of targeted advertising can be profoundly effective at finding people within your local area that would be interested in your product and most likely to make a purchase.
Even though your advertising might be reaching more people than ever before thanks to social media, it is important to recognize that people are also seeing more ads from all over the place than ever before. Your company is just one more advertisement amongst a sea of thousands – you have to stand out and you have to tell a story. Most young customers are looking for a real connection with the companies they purchase from. Sharing your story and building that connection will be the key to attracting loyal customers.
Building your cannabis brand is going to be a long process, but it will be well worth the effort. Work towards designing a brand that stands out, tells a story, and strives for an actual connection to customers. This should flow well through both your brick-and-mortar building and your online advertising efforts. Branding is everything in marketing. It could be the factor that helps your budding company succeed.