We are undoubtedly living in a time that will live in infamy. An industry that used to be hidden in woods, closets, sheds, or even overseas is rapidly turning into one of the United States most valuable resources—cannabis.
During this Green Rush, growers finally have the opportunity to bring their craft out of the shadows and into the mainstream market.
Due to cannabis’ unique history, there are thousands of options available to the public. Though at times it may seem that cannabis demand is higher than supply, making branding not as high of a priority, there will be a time when its presence is as commonplace as alcohol or cigarettes. And, when that time comes, it will be the brands who established themselves in the beginning (the OGs if you will), who have made themselves synonymous with cannabis’ culture that thrive.
To help explain why this is, below are three reasons cannabis branding is essential.
1) Sets an Expectation
Think of some of the most iconic brands—Procter and Gamble, Nike, Coca-Cola. When you purchase from these brands, you have a certain expectation of what you’re going to receive. The fountain Coke at the gas station should taste the same as the one at McDonald's. A Swiffer mop will function the same whether purchased from Target or Walmart. From the quality testers on the manufacturing floor to the social media strategist planning their next post, brands work hard to protect their name.
Why? Because when you have a good product, people will talk. Friends will share their experience, people (enticed by what they see on the store shelves) will try new things, and new customers will become loyal ones.
When branded properly, cannabis farms can make their product essential to cannabis culture. And, as a cannabis company looking to set yourself apart from other growers, your brand is what new and returning customers will buy into. On a psychological level, customers purchase products that make them what they aspire to be—which is why influencer marketing is so popular. It feeds the thinking, “if I purchase x brand of cannabis, I will be more y and z.”
What expectations should your customers have?
All of this starts with deciding how great you want your brand to be. Then, against every obstacle, meet (and exceed) the expectations you have promised the customer.
2) Good Cannabis Branding Feeds Good Cannabis Public Relations
If branding is what you are saying about your products, public relations is what the world is saying about your brand.
Take TOMS Shoes for example. If you're not familiar with their business model, it's this simple: for every one pair of TOMS that is purchased, one pair will be donated to a person in need. With a company mission such as this, words like humanitarian and caring are often associated.
However, if they did not live up to this, people would have a different song to sing about their company. And, in the age of social media, this could make or break you.
The same idea applies to your cannabis branding. On a larger scale and with the industry in its infancy, good branding can effect how people accept the cannabis industry as a whole.
Cannabis as a resource is, for the first time, legally available. And now that it is, a new set of customers will be learning its different components—even things as rudimentary as THC vs. CBD.
To ensure customers get exactly what they want or need, it is essential cannabis companies brand themselves appropriately.
A company’s “brand” is more than a logo. It’s the vision that keeps your company growing, the first thoughts people have when they hear your name. Are your products solely CBD? Do your products cater to the medical market? Are the strains you offer the highest levels of THC? These are the types of questions that should be answered in your branding. Since cannabis products are consumed, it is crucial your brand is giving customers all the necessary information to make an educated decision.
Given its status as a drug, each state has requirements they must include on their packaging—differing by type. And, when properly branded, cannabis companies can show they offer a reputable product by displaying their legal obligations.
As an industry in its infancy, the federal government (and many parts of the world) are looking at how cannabis legalization impacts legal states’ economy. And, to continue the growth of the cannabis industry to full legalization, it’s critical that people operating businesses in this marketplace fulfill all legal obligations.
Branding, although a vital part of your business plan, doesn’t have to be stressful. Creating, developing, and sustaining a brand is your chance to let creativity in—giving you the power to craft your message and share it with the world.
If cannabis branding is something you need help with, our on-staff designers are waiting to help.
Already have a design? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our brand specialists will reach out, ready to bring your vision to life.