What companies do you think of when you think of good branding? Perhaps Nike, Apple, Tiffany & Co., or maybe you think of a smaller more local brand that you think has perfected what it means to be well branded. You get to see the end product of good branding, but how do those companies get there? The Cannabis Marketing Association has come up with a list of seven, easy ways you can build your cannabis brand.

Naming Your Brand

Just like any other industry, naming your cannabis brand is an important initial step to the process of building a strong brand. The name of your brand sets the tone for your brand and how you are perceived by your customers. It should be memorable, informative and unique. It should also resonate with your customer base. Do you want to be perceived as a professional brand or a little more relatable? The name of your brand is the initial step towards whatever direction you take and it is important to have the name match the company culture. Choose your name wisely.

Have A Thoughtful Brand Strategy 

Brand strategy is a reflection of your organization’s mission, vision, and values. If your brand was a person, what would they be like? Do you want to hang out with them? Do you want to be like them or do you despise them?  Some people only buy Android products because they don’t like Apple products. People often make a point of buying products because of brand, not only because of product attributes. Often times, consumers purchase based on emotions which are intertwined with how the brand makes them feel. Branding is conveyed through all the ways in which the organization communicates with the public. What type of language does your company use in press releases? What kind of images do you use on social media? Consistency is key in communicating with your customers in way that is on brand. Consider hiring experts to create brand guidelines for your company.

Build A Great Website

In a digital era, having a website is going to be of utmost importance to your brand. However, in the cannabis industry it is even more important. Having a website in the cannabis industry is important because your average consumer is a millennial or from Generation Z; the generations who grew up infused with technology. Take a look at this data from a survey performed by Headset, a company based out of Seattle, Washington, that specializes in analyzing cannabis retail data.

Nearly a quarter of the surveyed consumers where between ages 25-29, a generation of people who are technologically savvy and want their suppliers to be as well. So, get your web development team working on the best looking website there is!

Protect your Intellectual Property

Trademarks, copy writing, patents, and trade secrets: the four different types of intellectual property are significantly important to protecting your brand from financial or brand image harm. Trademarks can protect your unique marking that you created in the first step we mentioned at the beginning of this post about naming your brand. The other three are important for protecting your creations that come out of your brand, whether they are artistic properties protected by copyright, or processes used by your brand protected by patents, or trade secrets

If you would like to learn more about how to protect your brand, we recommend researching on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website linked here.

Have Strong Marketing & Public Relations

The last three ways of how to build a better cannabis brand all go cohesively together as one big package for success. Start with having strong marketing and PR. Building a brand that consumers love starts with how consumers perceive you as a company. You can best control public perception of your brand by crafting a strong public relations and overall marketing strategy. In order to build great relationships with consumers, you want to be sure that your marketing practices to do not alienate people or harm others. 

Compliance

Compliance is a huge problem in the cannabis industry, specifically even more so in the marketing sector. Due to the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal in the United States, there are many ways you market products in other industries that simply are not legal within the cannabis industry. Make sure you read your local and state regulations to ensure you are aware of the rules around marketing, advertising, events, packaging, and signage. Cannabis Marketing Association also provides resources to help you and your company stay up to date on all things best practices in cannabis marketing.

If you are getting involved in the cannabis industry, we highly recommend joining us on our member portal. You can check out our memberships and more information here.

Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is an important final piece in the puzzle on sustainable business practices. This is about going above and beyond what laws and regulations require your business to do. It’s about keeping true to your values and overall mission to provide the most ethical business practices for your stakeholders. This could include reaching for better environmentally sustainable practices like increasing water efficiency for your farm or just simply giving back to the community. Creating a triple bottom line for your business increases the number of ways you, and your consumers, can perceive your value.

As you can see, building a successful brand in the cannabis industry can be tricky, but definitely not impossible! The simple steps are all generally the same in most industries. Where the cannabis industry starts to differ is within the compliance category. Cannabis is still federally illegal within the United States of America, so marketing and building brand awareness can be much more difficult. Until there is a change in federal legalization of cannabis, it is important to read your states regulations and comply with those as well as the unique policies of international companies like Google or Facebook. 

Be sure to become a member of the Cannabis Marketing Association for more exclusive content about cannabis marketing!