The cannabis industry, while still young, is growing at breakneck speed. Brand awareness and visual marketing are key to standing out in such a saturated marketplace. Start with these five tips to make your cannabis business stand out.
Build a Brand
There are more than 20,000 cannabis businesses operating in the U.S. as of 2017, a number that is only expected to increase as more states legalize the industry. Brand-building sounds deceptively simple, but it is more than just coming up with a logo and tagline for your product.
It’s about creating a consistent and reliable experience for your customers that they will come to know and trust. A solid brand is invaluable — it inspires a sense of familiarity, reliability and loyalty in your customer base.
A 2015 Nielsen survey found that 59 percent of participants preferred to buy products from brands familiar to them. Next to affordability, brand recognition is the key reason customers choose one particular product over another.
Building brand recognition doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with a tailored message aimed at a target audience. Is your product geared toward providing pain relief or relaxation? Is your target audience young professionals, or athletes? Identify your ideal consumer and create a brand identity that relates to their needs and desires. Once a brand identity is established, carefully cultivate this identity through consistent and reliable targeted brand messaging.
Craft a Logo
A logo is your company’s calling card. According to Marijuana Retail Report, “great visuals and a well-developed aesthetic can make or break a company in the cannabis industry.” Your logo is an important first step in catching eyes and making a great first impression.
Creating a logo that is simple, effective and visually arresting can be a challenge. If you can afford one, consider enlisting the help of a professional graphic designer to help. If a designer is beyond your budget, do your research. Analyze logos that speak to you to find common design elements and cherry-pick what works for what you want your logo to express.
Once the logo is ready, build brand awareness by popping it on everything from customized clothing, packaging and staff uniforms to signage on windows and walls. Bring it to the street by designing and distributing bumper stickers, decals, pins, lighters and other swag decorated with your logo.
This doesn’t have to break the bank. Companies such as StickerYou provide affordable ways for small-to-medium sized businesses to create customized die-cut sticky products, including stickers, labels, decals, temporary tattoos, magnets and more, in any size or quantity needed. Users can either upload their own logo to an easy-to-use online app, choose how they want to display it, and order, or they can make use of the in-house design services to ensure the logo is perfect.
Companies can also use these visuals to communicate with consumers. Stickers and labels can help indicate compliance, dosage, ingredients, and the test results of products.
Give it Away
People love free things. One of the most effective ways to circulate your logo and create brand awareness is to put your logo on items people use every day, such as lighters, tissue packs or bottles of hand sanitizers, and give them away as prizes, free samples or event swag. Not only will people carry these items with them, they will often share them, maximizing the number of people who will come into contact with your brand.
Connect with relevant businesses in your community to inquire about sponsorship opportunities or bring your branded items to give out at events and tradeshows to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible.
Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase a brand’s visibility. According to Blue Fountain Media, more than 90 percent of businesses saw positive results when using platforms like Instagram or Facebook as marketing tools, and 62 percent of millennials are more loyal to brands that engage with them on social media.
Building a presence on multiple social media platforms gives businesses a voice, and the ability to engage directly with consumers. Remember that consistency is key in building your brand. The images and messaging you use on social should be easily identifiable with your brand, from the logo to the visual style and tone of the images you choose to share.
Monitor your Customer Base
While establishing your brand and raising awareness, make sure to monitor your customer base to ensure you are targeting the right demographics. Your initial assumptions of who would be most interested in your products may have been off, or you may discover a new target market to engage with your brand messaging.
When StickerYou founder Andrew Witkin started the company, he thought the brand’s target audience would be kids and sticker art enthusiasts. He was right, but after launching the brand and taking a look at who was buying product, he discovered that a large number of people were using StickerYou products to brand their businesses, outnumbering the expected target market by roughly 4-to-1.
StickerYou used this information to adjust brand messaging to meet the needs of its customer base, directly engage with them and create a strong brand presence.
The cannabis industry is competitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to stand out in the crowd. By building a strong brand, you create a solid foundation for your company to grow on.
TELL US, have you started a cannabis company?