Branding is such an integral part of the face you show to people out there. It defines who you are in the eyes of potential customers. It helps to make your cannabis company recognisable, providing a way of visually differentiating your product or service.
Yet, not all start ups or small cannabis business have thousands of dollars to spend on their branding.
But what if I told you that you can get together a damn good brand, and do so on a budget? By understanding the basics of building a brand, you can save money by doing a large part of it yourself, or within your team, and spend your budget on the things that matter.
How To Brand Your Cannabis Business
Most people think of branding as being a logo and maybe a colour palette. And, although those are important aspects of building a brand, they are by no means the only elements - maybe not even the most important elements - of a successful cannabis brand.
So, what is it then?
There are 3 main elements to branding (professionals will tell you there are a couple more, but for our purposes they can be broken down into these 3 main things - I told you it’s going to be quick and dirty).
When the pro’s refer to branding, what they are actually referring to is the “personality” of a company. The experience a company is selling to their customers. The “it factor” that shows people that this is not just another extraction lab, or CBD shop, or cannabis cultivator. Branding is what creates and maintains a reputation, the thing that reflects customer experiences, the aspects that defines who and what a company represents.
Creating this “brand personality” is the most important part of branding, but unfortunately also quite often the most neglected. A lot of smaller businesses either wing this step, or sometimes completely skip over it. But, fundamentally, this is what forms the foundation of every other aspect of a branding strategy.
So, the design part is what most people think of when they think of branding. This is the logo, the icon, the colour palette, typography, and symbols. Brand design is a natural outflow of the brand personality, as defined by its visual elements. It is also what will go on to form part of a company’s brand identity.
And then finally, you have brand identity. This is the culmination of brand personality, brand design, and brand experience. It’s the collection of all of a cannabis company’s brand elements that help to portray the right image to their customers or clients. It’s the stuff that makes a cannabis company, as well as the products and services, instantly recognisable.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to your quick and dirty guide to branding your cannabis business on a budget…
Step 1: Branding
As I mentioned before, developing and defining your brand’s personality is the MOST important part of the entire branding process. It is the foundation on which everything else rests.
But, this is also the part of the branding process that you can DIY, and DIY successfully. After all, no one knows your business as well as you do.
Get your team together and start hashing out what your business is about. If you don’t have a team, that’s fine too, but try to find someone that you can bounce your ideas off of. A different perspective is always a good way of making sure you aren’t getting bogged down in the details or becoming too subjective.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do we do, and who do we do it for?
- What do we do differently or better?
- If our cannabis brand was a person, who would he/she be?
- What type of language would he/she use?
- What tone would best help communicating our message?
- What is the mission and vision of our company and how would our brand convey that?
- What type of aesthetics expresses the uniqueness, the identity, the individuality of our company?
- What type of experience do you want people to have when they interact with our company, products, and services?
- Which three words best describes us? (great for helping to create a tag line)
Step 2: Design
Luckily, here too you can do a lot of it yourself. Once you have a solid brand personality defined, you can start playing around with the visual aspects of your cannabis brand.
Look at what other brands are doing that you like and don’t like. Start putting together different visual elements on mood boards and see what is appealing, conveys your brand effectively, and speaks most directly to your ideal customer base.
Once you have all the aesthetics together, it’s time to start looking at the iconography and symbolism. It’s time to design your logo!
But before you get too excited and whip out Photoshop, I would really urge you to invest a bit of money in getting a good logo designed.
You will often hear the advice that you can wing your logo design - you can always change it later once you have the budget. But, the problem with the change-it-later approach is that, by the time you are making enough money to hire a professional, your brand is already recognisable. Doing a rebrand at that time can cause you to lose a large part of your customer base.
So, although I understand that money can be tight for smaller cannabis companies, especially during the start up phase, you can find some really great, reasonably priced freelancers through cannabis business groups on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Step 3: Identity
Now the real work starts.
The easiest and fastest way to create and develop your cannabis business’s brand identity is to be consistent and coherent; both visually as well as in your language and message.
To help create you visual brand identity, it’s important to display that brand spanking new, and professionally designed logo on your website, your social media accounts and all of your marketing materials. Use your colour palette and typography on anything and everything people might see. And don’t forget to brand your visuals as well - Canva is great for that and free!
Creating a strong and coherent brand voice, language and tone can be a bit more complicated. As with logo design, it really is worth spending some money on hiring a pro. More specifically, someone that has experience writing in the cannabis industry.
Your website, your blog articles, your social media content, your ad copy - anywhere where there are WORDS - is your ONE chance to effectively communicate who you are and what you do. Your one chance to build trust in your company. That one chance to create the right first impression. Professional cannabis copywriters and content creators have the experience and know-how to help you do that effectively WITHOUT breaking laws or stepping regulatory toes. And just as with logo designer, you get can some really good and reasonably priced writers through referrals, and social media groups.
How you brand your cannabis business is going to be what sets you apart from the endless sea of other cannabis companies. It is going to be what shows your customers who you are and what type of experiences they can expect when buying from, or working with you.
So, if you want your cannabis company, products and services to be seen in a positive light, it is oh so important that you nail your branding, and create designs, content, and materials that ACCURATELY show people who you are and what you are about.
The good news is that branding your cannabis business does not have to cost thousands of dollars. That you can do a large part of it yourself. And that, if you spend your money where it matters, you can brand your cannabis business on a budget, and you can do it well.
About Lieze Boshoff
Lieze, founder of LB Cannabis Content & Copy is a Cannabis Copywriter & Content Creator that mixes her knowledge of the cannabis industry and psychology with marketing strategies to write content and copy that attracts, engages, converts and retains.
Let her help you and your cannabis business establish its brand authority and grow market share. Contact her here for a free consultation.
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