What is Brand Identity?
The current and ever-evolving cannabis market presents plenty of challenges in creating a new brand and having a successful introduction into any market be it medical or recreational in any State. A solid first step in determining what your brand identity will be is to start by asking yourself some questions that will begin to form your underlying brand identity. Who do you want to be in this industry? Do you want to be on the cutting edge of branding and hype, or would you rather play it safe with some tried and true methods of branding? Are you a bold-in-your-face brand? Or a more wholesome clinical feeling brand? Do you want to be value-based or an exclusive high-dollar-per-unit brand? These types of questions will start to lead your methodology regarding your cannabis brand logo, packaging selection, marketing techniques, and intended end-user experience.
Naming Your Cannabis Brand
Selecting your Weed brand name may be among the most important aspects of your endeavor. It will truly become a make-or-break factor in your brand’s success. Typically the most successful brands I’ve come across had a few things in common. They stuck to three-word or fewer naming conventions. Something quick and easy for consumers to latch onto. Choose a word or set of words that are very easy to pronounce. So often brands select words in foreign languages or made-up words that consumers struggle to understand and grasp. Oftentimes selecting highly localized names that involve the regional aspects of the brand see limited success outside their home region unless from an elite region of Cannabis cultivation recognized nationwide. You’ll want to look at a name that resonates in all 50 states leading to national legalization efforts finally happening in earnest.
Does a Cannabis Brand Logo Matter?
Once you’ve established your brand identity and name you’re onto the Cannabis Brand Logo phase of your project. In this step often a founder’s worst instincts can come out. Overly colorful, neon, busy, and extremely over-branded products happen very easily during this step. When approaching your logo, maintain the principles mentioned above in your brand name selection process. Design something that consumers quickly and easily identify and remember after seeing it just one time. Once you’re settled on a rough idea pull between five and nine versions from your branding designer and have several of them be on the very extreme end of your idea as well as several on the very minimalistic side. Doing this will help you quickly identify what does and doesn’t work on packaging when toned up or down. Remember simple branding even if from hype or loud cannabis company always wins the day. Do not make your customer base hunt for the point of your packaging.
Custom Packaging Matters Too!
In regards to actual physical packaging selection, it’s important to communicate very clearly with your packaging supplier regarding your end goals for your product. Is that goal to be seen on the shelf? Is that goal to preserve the product for as long a period of time as possible? Is it to be eco-friendly or minimalistic? Have these metrics for your brand established in your mind’s eye once you’ve begun looking for actual packaging units. Do not go overboard on your packaging specs, While well-intentioned this typically does not have the desired outcome one would hope. Overly branded products for the sake of standing out leave you with two results, your consumer paying a markup on the packaging they’re going to throw out anyway and your margin being slimmer due to high COGs (cost of goods sold) on the front-end packaging supply due to printing and logo complexities in addition to the packaging itself.
How to Market Your Cannabis Brand
Once you’ve established your first three steps and have a finished packaged product it’s time to determine your marketing technique. Pay close attention to the methods you use to market your brand and who it really speaks to. Does renting out an entire floor in a Vegas hotel during a convention really speak to your end consumer or does it speak to someone else?
Marketing a cannabis brand can be a somewhat anomalous endeavor. With major social media platforms constantly blocking, deleting, and shadow-banning cannabis brand content we are left to extreme creativity to get our point across to consumers. Flooding your regional Cannabis Dispensaries with leave-behind items for dispensary staff is critical. T-shirts, hats, pins, lanyards, and dab mats to name a few truly leave an impression on budtenders and buyers who will ultimately be responsible for your brand’s success. Marketing directly to budtenders serves your end goal in the sense that you are now marketing to a much smaller group of people with a much longer duration of exposure on a regular basis to your target demographic. If budtenders have been properly supplied with swag and samples you will have no issues with consumers finding and buying your brand as it will be at the top of mind for a budtender’s recommendations.
This point can’t be stressed heavily enough. Budtenders are the future of your Cannabis brand. Hiring a team of on-the-ground brand ambassadors to stay in front of your clients and constantly engage them in a non-sales-oriented setting will put you miles ahead of the pack and save significant money in the long run compared to other marketing techniques. If a budtender is wearing a $20 leave-behind shirt behind the counter your output metrics compared to say a pay-to-play scenario for in-store billboard space could run into the tens of thousands depending on all factors in that particular Cannabis Dispensary. Having the addition of proprietary weed strains is also going to be an overall benefit to your program.
We will end with one final point in regard to every single step of this process. Get out and talk to your potential customer base before manufacturing a ton of products right away. Discover their pain points on their retail shelves. Run your ideas by trusted industry colleagues and ensure you’re not stuck in a vacuum with the current state of your brand.
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