Cannabis Branding and Marketing
The cannabis industry is huge and still growing- we all know this. Depending on where you’re from and if cannabis is legal in your area, you might be seeing what feels like hundreds of dispensaries popping up around you. It’s not just dispensaries either, it’s cannabis grows, cannabis wholesalers, CBD stores, research labs, and more. They’re everywhere. When you think of a dispensary near you that stands out in your mind, you might picture two or three big names, or none at all because there are so many.
If you’re getting started on a new cannabis brand, you want to be one of those big names. This blog will follow our client Dreamz Cannabis to give you a few tips on how to make a successful cannabis brand that stands out above the rest.
Figure out who is going to be interested in your brand
Cannabis can be approached from a few different angles. Are you holistic? A party-goer? An average joe? Your identity as a brand affects who will choose to use your business.
In order to identify the best brand personality for your cannabis business, you need to understand who in your market is buying cannabis. Research is your best friend, and luckily for us in this industry, there is no shortage of resources for this kind of thing. You can look into state databases for cannabis purchase statistics. We found reports from the New Mexico Department of Health to help us find out who is using medical weed in New Mexico. From there we can identify who will be interested in the new, recreational market.
We found that most medical marijuana consumers in New Mexico were men and women aged 31 - 40 that were Caucasian and Hispanic/Latino. A bit below them is the 21-30 section, which may seem low compared to the older demographics, but recreational cannabis will appeal to them because of its' new accessibility. From there, we can start to think about their interests.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to skip this step. If you or the client is already familiar with cannabis, it’s easy to think people like them are the ideal client. But that’s not always the case. If you don’t do research, you might miss out on other target demographics, which means missing out on more money.
Mold your brand around what your consumers enjoy
We already know that people engaging with your cannabis brand like to smoke weed. From there, you can use the research you’ve done to fine-tune your brand’s personality. For Dreamz, we decided to target that millennial market we found earlier, as well as the emerging younger demographic. We focused on appearing easy-going, rebellious, and well-suited for young and middle-aged consumers alike.
One thing we found unique about New Mexico as a whole is the sense of pride the people there have for the state. New Mexico is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich natural beauty, something the people are intensely proud of. Being from New Mexico is a piece of their identity, so we made it a piece of the Dreamz identity. We heavily incorporated that into the imagery, using pictures of the New Mexico landscape in their website and other assets.
Don’t exclude the noobs
Again, if you or your clients knows a lot about cannabis, you might tend to assume everyone else does, too. What’s great about the recreational cannabis market is the new element of accessibility. There will be people trying cannabis for the first time and just getting into learning about it, you want to be there for those people.
You have to be able to know what you’re talking about without coming off as greater-than-thou about it. A great way to avoid this is to make education a key part of your brand’s philosophy. You can incorporate educational elements in social media strategies, in-store signage, website pages, and more. Combining educational content with your strategy can make you seem more inviting. Cannabis is a product that consumers use to affect their bodies, so they ought to know some things about it.
Be as cool and exciting as you want, but don’t ditch professionalism
Dreamz is a brand rooted in rebellion, edginess, and good times. The language and imagery we use reflects that, using dark photos and a lot of texture.
Getting too into a brand identity without keeping reputability in mind can hurt you. Even the laid-back stoner wants to know their favorite dispensary knows what they’re doing and isn’t sourcing wacky products. The way you portray the brand in professional settings, like physical stores or informational web pages, can be the difference between a respected dispensary and just another dispo in the area.
To make your brand feel professional, you have to state that. Dreamz uses the concept of the sweet spot to convey knowledge, education, and care to consumers. They continuously talk about how their purpose is to help people find the best experience possible with cannabis. They talk about how and why they do it. They get to be edgy while also being invested in the people that come to them.
Familiarize yourself with the law
We’ll keep it short: know what could go wrong before it goes wrong.
For example, did you know you can't trademark cannabis products on a federal level? This can change on a state by state basis, though, and some states even allow you to patent different strains.
For marketing, there are a lot of legal do’s and don’ts for what you can and can't show on certain mediums. In New Mexico, you can’t portray actual canabis products on billboards. It’s a good thing we looked into that before we started working on a campaign, right?
Strive for cohesion
Everything your brand produces should feel like it belongs. This doesn’t have to be constraining, though. Based on what you’ve already created for your brand, there might be unique ways to spin things like packaging or signage that’s specific to you. Are you a space-themed cannabis brand that sells grinders? You could put a print on them to look like UFOs. Are you a premium, holistic cannabis brand? You could use metal and glass packaging. Be thinking of ways to make your brand’s quirks work for you.
We emulated this in the Dreamz merch line. We were able to create really unique merch that could exist on it’s own without the Dreamz brand because of how we positioned. We were able to avoid slapping logos on shirts and calling it a day because the brand invited more creativity in that area.
Really, you can make anything if it makes sense. Everything created for the brand has to feel like one piece of a whole.
Working with brands in the cannabis industry is exciting. There’s so much untouched territory and potential when it comes to what you can do to make a brand stand out. Your ultimate goal should be to create something unique that still feels respectable and trustworthy. Your consumers will thank you.
Learn more about our work with Dreamz Cannabis here.
To learn more about cannabis marketing, check out our cannabis SEO blog.