The cannabis market is exploding. So much that spending on legal cannabis products is expected to reach $57 billion by 2027. But, that growth also means you have competition. What should you do to stand out from other brands?
Great product and service are a no-brainer. But how you tell customers about your top quality isn’t. You need cannabis branding.
One of the most important aspects of branding is a consistent image and message. Everything from your packaging to press releases should have the same look, tone, and feel. You want everyone who comes interacts with your company to recognize and remember it.
If you want to succeed, you must do more than offer your product for sale. Keep reading this guide to learn how important branding is to your business.
Cannabis Branding Basics
If you look different each time you present your brand, customers won’t recognize you. They won’t know they’re buying from you. A consistent look and message are vital to building customer recognition and loyalty. You need to consider every aspect of your business when it comes to branding.
Your company brand is more than your logo. It’s everything about your business. Your website, products, and staff. It’s how people feel when they interact with your company. Your brand should be the same when you serve a customer, talk to the media, and interview an employee.
The benefit of a consistent brand message is making an impression. People remember your name and logo. Give them a positive experience, and they’ll seek you out to do business.
Follow the guidelines below to boost your brand recognition.
Consider Every Aspect of Your Business
As mentioned, branding begins with your name, but it doesn’t end there. It’s part of everything you do. The first step is to decide how you want to be perceived. Who is your audience, and what do they like? What is most important to them when buying cannabis?
If you sell medical marijuana, like Medical Marijuana, Inc., you want to convey reliability and knowledge. Choose a brand name that tells consumers your focus is on medical marijuana.
Do you sell CBD oil for pets? Your brand should convince pet owners you’re trustworthy. Let them know what’s best for their animals. If your audience is recreational users, aim for a friendly, laid-back, fun-loving vibe.
Make your brand name unique. So much of the cannabis industry chooses overused cliches for their names. Try not to use the same old terms like blunt, canna, cannabis, weed, bud, blossom, 420, smoke, leaf, joint, and herb. Avoid the expected terms and you’ll stand out.
Make your company and product names unique. Make up a name that no one else is using. Choose something that’s easy to say and remember. Check to see if you can get a website domain for it.
Before you commit to a name, check the US Patent and Trademark Office database. You don’t want to spend time or money on a name and logo you can’t use. Research a trademark for your brand. A unique name is easy to trademark. An overused common name is not.
Bottom line: match your name and branding to your target audience. Then, infuse your brand personality into every aspect of your company. Such as:
Train your staff so they can answer customer questions. Everyone should know what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Is the company relaxed and casual, or formal with a medical feel?
Whatever mood you convey, make sure staff are informed and courteous. That’s a big part of your brand. Customers appreciate helpful, professional employees. It creates a positive image for your company. Rude or unhelpful staff are negative branding.
Name products so customers understand what they are. Don’t call them by stock numbers or other nondescript names. Tell customers what to expect. Cannabis products include everything from skin care products to chocolate to beverages. Don’t make customers guess what your selling.
Often companies forget customer service when building a brand. Yet, it’s one of the most important parts of your business. Any interaction between your company and customers is key to building a positive brand. Don’t take it for granted. Make sure everyone who represents you knows how to convey the brand.
The key to staying on brand is a consistent message. Use the same tone, style, and mood to describe your products, your company, and your mission. A company-wide style guide is invaluable for this. Keep reading for an in-depth look at style guides below. Don’t let anyone alter or change your brand logo, colors, and message. Consistency is key to your brand image.
Everyone expects immediate information via online searches and social media. Make sure you’re easy to find online. Build a useful website with information on your products. Answer common questions. Design the site so it’s easy for customers to find what they want.
Consider an online chat option for immediate responses to consumer questions. Take part in social platforms. Try to be everywhere your customers look for products like yours.
Now you know what’s involved in your brand. Next, let’s look at how a style guide keeps your brand on track wherever it appears.
Create a Style Guide for Your Brand
Only give your logo to publications, vendors, and partners with guidance. Otherwise, you’ll lose control of your image. Don’t ignore the importance of a style guide for keeping your company and products on point.
Invest in creating a style guide so your brand is recognizable every time customers see it. A consistent brand builds trust and loyalty.
Your style guide should make it easy to track how other companies use your brand. It helps you build a relationship with reviewers and the media. A style guide helps employees represent your brand. It also protects you legally if someone misuses your brand images.
Invest time and effort in your style guide so every time your brand appears it adds value to your company.
It’s a good idea to make your style guide available on your website. This makes it easy for media and vendors to access accurate images and information.
Style Guide Contents
A style guide isn’t something you put together in a couple of hours. Have a professional designer create it. Include technical and visual examples.
Give a summary of your brand. Include your motto and mission statement. Add your vision so everyone knows who you are and what you do. Here are some essentials to include in your style guide:
Proper Logo Size and Placement
Your logo is your brand’s visual identity. Many times a logo is the most recognizable part of your brand. Keep it consistent. The guide gives rules for logo size, color, and positioning.
Give the names of acceptable fonts. This should include main and secondary fonts used for company branding. Make it clear that substituting fonts is unacceptable.
Don’t let vendors or uninformed employees ruin your brand by using the wrong typeface. Be specific about font names and styles. Include weights like regular, bold, light, and condensed.
If you have different versions of your logo, show each one. Describe when and where to use the variations.
It’s important to discuss color. Describe when the logo should be full color, 2-color or 1-color. Give specific Pantone colors. Note when a reverse logo is acceptable. State when the logo can be in black and white instead of color.
If you have restrictions on how big or small your logo can appear, note it in the guide. Most companies do this so the logo is significant and visible.
Provide illustrative examples for apparel and other products. Show how your logo should appear on garments or promotional products. Make a note for vendors to consult with the company.
After you explain the right way to use your branding elements, give bad examples. A picture with a strong warning helps you avoid bad reproductions of your company images. Include instructions on the wrong color, fonts, and proportions.
Brand Voice and Writing Style
Define and describe the writing style guidelines for your brand. Include specifics on grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
If your logo doesn’t appear next to a piece of your content, will your audience know it’s coming from your brand? Your brand voice and writing style should be as identifiable as your company logo.
Give clear directions for everyone connected with your products. Sales and customer service staff should know how to discuss your brand. Tell the staff why it’s important. If they understand they’ll follow guidelines.
Since your brand appears online, pay attention to style guidelines for digital situations. Look at how you want your brand to appear on all the digital platforms. Give detailed instructions for websites, social media, and other digital platforms.
Add a legal notification to your style guide. This protects your images from unlawful reproduction. Include copyright and intellectual property protections notices to protect your brand assets.
Succeed with Smart Cannabis Branding
A style guide for your cannabis branding helps your logo and images appear as intended. Give the media, partners, and employees what they need to showcase your brand.
It’s worth your time and energy to do things right from the start. Fixing a broken brand takes a lot of time and money. It’s much better to protect your company reputation and image from the outset.
Read our other logo design articles for inspiration on building your brand.