Branding Tips For Cannabis Businesses
With more and more states decriminalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, new opportunities for cannabis businesses are opening every day. However, this emerging industry faces some unique challenges from legalities to branding. Since the market was so recently underground, anyone selling cannabis or marijuana products has to contend with prejudices and ignorance among consumers. That said, there are some key things you can do as a cannabis business owner to brand your product efficiently and help grow the industry as a whole. And so, we bring you branding tips.
Understand Your Target Market
Some of the greatest branding tips for any business, of course, but vital for businesses in emerging industries like this one. Every single brand and marketing decision depends on who you are marketing to, so you need to have a thorough understanding of who that is. Ask yourself what other brands your ideal customer uses, and look at their packaging. Think about where your customer shops, and watch the branding there. For cannabis, it’s especially important to know if you’re targeting medicinal or recreational users, which brings us to our next point.
Market Differently for Recreational and Medicinal Users
If you are selling your products to recreational cannabis users, your branding should be drastically different than branding for products geared towards medical marijuana patients. For example, recreational products can be more playful and have more traditional stoner signals like tie dye. If you mostly make medicinal products, you want to reflect that in your logo and packaging by using medical iconography and more modern, sparse design. Recreational users might respond better to giveaways or online marketing. Medical marijuana patients may need more informative marketing.
Stay Away From Stoner Cliches
You may be tempted to throw some tie dye on your products and call it a day, but using traditional counterculture iconography can backfire in a big way. The whole cannabis industry is struggling to gain and retain legitimacy as a medical product, and you want to contribute to that effort. So stay away from Rastafarian colors, dancing bears, 420, and the pot leaf, even though it’s very recognizable. You can use these kinds of elements, just be creative with them and make sure they’re not the primary visual focus of your branding. In fact, it can be a bonus if you can use traditional stoner elements in a new, sophisticated way.
Use Sophisticated Language, Not Slang
As part of gaining and retaining legitimacy, you also need to elevate the language used to talk about cannabis products. As a general rule, say cannabis instead of marijuana, weed, pot, or, God forbid, ganja. If you’re selling cannabis plant matter, you need to say “flowers” instead of “buds,” to maintain the focus on legitimate medical use. Speaking of which, use medical terminology as well, referring to customers as “patients” and focusing on how cannabis can “alleviate symptoms.” Always refer to “doses” when talking about serving sizes, not “hits.” Look up the laws for marijuana businesses in your state to make sure you are complying with them as well because many states are strict about what language you use and how you say your dosages on your packaging.
Remember, You’re Selling a Lifestyle
So far, this advice may sound like you have to be bland and boring in your branding, but that’s not true. Your primary focus should be on selling sophisticated lifestyle products. Go back to your target market and think about their buying habits. Most people who buy legal cannabis also buy organic foods, handmade items, one of a kind clothing, and similar lifestyle products. Similarly, brand your marijuana products, so they fit in with the rest of those products.
Don’t Use Cartoons in Your Branding
Remember Joe Camel? If not, he was a cartoon camel they put on cigarettes, offending a whole lot of people because it was like they were marketing cigarettes to children. Yeah, don’t do that. Cartoons on adult products are a big no-no and will lead to certain death for your brand. Sure, you’re allowed to be playful in your branding. You can even have some hand-drawn logos or pictures of cute animals if that fits with your style, but tread very, very carefully when it comes to hand drawn elements. You can’t ever be perceived as marketing marijuana to children.
Tell Your Brand’s Story
These days, people don’t want just to buy a product, they want to feel connected to a brand. You can also gain a following and get tons of repeat business when you connect with your customers and telling your story is a good way of accomplishing this. An excellent example of how a story sells is Dos Equis and “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” The commercials were simple, but still told a story that positioned the brand as a sophisticated beer. Consumers could put themselves into the story with memes. Not that you have to go that far, but you should at least share the story of your brand, how you believe in the benefits of cannabis because then your customers will believe in you.
Stay on the Right Side of the Law
We mentioned this before, but this these branding tips bear repeating: look up the local cannabis laws in your area. Then comply with them altogether. In fact, be overly cautious, even online. Some social media sites like Facebook have been known to delete the accounts of legitimate cannabis businesses because they’re afraid of the legalities of “selling drugs on the Internet.” Check out the legalities of online marketing as well so that you can maintain your status as a legal cannabis business.
Have the Right Packaging
It’s crucial that marijuana businesses market their products with sophisticated branding, and modern packaging is a huge part of that. All of these branding tips are, really. At GreenRushPackaging.com, we understand the unique needs of legal marijuana businesses, and we’ve created packaging that will both protect and show your product in the best light. Our parent company has been in the packaging business for years, and they’ve brought their expertise to bear on the cannabis industry so that you can have packaging that is familiar to your customers from other products like tea or coffee but is also designed with the unique needs of cannabis products in mind.