From soil to oil, flowers and beyond, every brand has a unique challenge to overcome when it comes to your “branding” and marketing efforts. What people see, and what they may remember may be two different things. For start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Cannabis space, there are some basic caveats that apply and should be used as a benchmark as you go about introducing yourself to the market in which you do business. State by State the regulations will vary, and I won’t delve into those specifics here, but as you know they are a primary consideration before you even get started as to how and what you convey as a brand. Suffice it to say you will need a lawyer to work with you and your team to ensure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed, especially when it comes to your messaging, website, social media and packaging.
Whether you’re starting from the ground up in the legit market or if you’re emerging from the “grey” market into the light of day, as a producer your primary concerns may be developing the best yields, be they indoor/outdoor a hybrid of the two. Managing these grow cycles is important to manage your overall brand message related to your inventories and what your business can sustain. Deciding on the strains your working with, be they ubiquitous go-to’s or unique hybrids with names you create, your “branding” should be prepared to address these as the core to your scalable business strategy. As a Dispensary, your concerns are similar but different, customer service and product knowledge are important there, and will relate to how and where you do business.
This may come as second nature to some and be overwhelming to others who don’t even know where to start or barely have the time in the day to take a deep dive into any of it. Suffice it to say, your drive and ambition will win the day if you have a nimble game plan to start–but planning should also be part of your strategy to zig when the market zags. Finding trusted third parties who honestly have your best interests in mind as well. Yes, everyone can build a website, or manage your social media, or advise on sales strategies, but make sure they’re a team player with your goals in mind, every day, every time. You want your team to build value as well as grow your brand.
You may have turned to your friends or family create your initial brand identity, things like your logo, your website, your packaging or perhaps your social media. This is to be expected but to scale you will want to deciding what works and what isn’t working, and should be related to how you want to scale your brand. “Is this it, is this who we are, or do we want more”, may be questions you’re asking. You’ll want to look at your current team and assign roles built on the strengths of their skills, interests and personalities too, from which you’ll also see which roles your missing and need to fill (building a team will be a separate post!)
STEP ONE is to refine or define your Brand Identity. A company’s brand identity is what it says about who it is – the products or service it delivers, the quality it gives customers, its advantages over competing brands and what makes it unique. That’s a fancy way of being clear about who you are and what you sell. You will need to codify and agree upon a clarified brand meaning which aligns with your brand goals (setting these goals are manifold related to the market categories you serve, pricing and inventories, more on that later).
STEP TWO is your Brand Image, which is how a brand is perceived by the public, what they see, what they will remember–the overall Look & Feel of your brand. You want to work to ensure the brand assets align with your Brand Identity so that the end consumer, be it B2B wholesale or B2C Sales and social media makes sense and adds value to your business, whether its driven by price or perception.
STEP THREE is to align your “Branding” with the markets you serve, whether you are a farm selling wholesale, or have production for ancillary products like Extracts, Pre-Rolls or if you’re just selling flowers, you should take the time to research your target market(s) and take into consideration who’s already in the space, what your competition is doing/saying and what your competitive advantages are. State by State and regionally within a state, price points on what the market will bear, will vary and you should be prepared for that. For example, some more affluent cities within a state may be driven by quality, while other cities may be driven by price, college markets are an example of this too. Are you the cheap brand that’s everywhere, or the quality brand that customers aspire to buy and covet. Your sales team should be trained to provide real-time weekly due diligence and plan for contingencies that address these and always have a positive reply that reiterate your Brand Identity.
These are a starting point to address your overall Branding and Brand Identity. Nothing is built in a vacuum and the market is moving as light-speed, which is both a blessing and a curse–but that’s what drives us as entrepreneurs!
I am an entrepreneur and a creative Marketing Consultant offering retainer-based and Flex Time Counsel for clients seeking marketing strategy, business development, oversight and execution for today’s ever-shifting social landscape. I excel in working with start-ups, entrepreneurs & founders, devising B2C & B2B marketing & sales strategies, including website development, social media content creation, messaging, storytelling & engagement.
I am a Marketing, Branding and Communications consultant w/ extensive experience in high-touch luxury consumer marketing including the travel/hospitality, wine/spirits, fashion/beauty/grooming categories. My talents include branding/brand development, business building & narrative storytelling which leads to brand awareness and engagement. I see a great deal of symmetry in Cannabis with my work for brands in Spirits, brands like Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek in Bourbon, and Tequila Avion whom I worked with from ideation to creation. Am an overall good guy looking for cool folks to work with to grow their business. Cannabis is a passion, no question is too small, no challenge too big! Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
95 Cooper Street, Brooklyn, NY 11207, United States