Fostering brand recognition is not for the faint of heart. It requires strategy, know-how, and the ability to follow the rules while simultaneously thinking outside the box.
It is a game.
Branding cannabis is also a game. It’s just a whole lot more complicated.
The demographic is huge and varied. So too are the multiple types of products. And there’s the need to reach out to both businesses and consumers.
Plus – and this is a big one – there are all sorts of regulations and restrictions.
So What’s the Best Way for Branding Cannabis?
That IS the question.
Branding and marketing for cannabis companies means getting familiar with a different playbook. Not only to achieve success for our clients, but to stay out of trouble when marketing what’s still considered an illicit drug on the federal level.
In fact, as marketing experts early to the cannabis branding game, you could say that we now know the playbook inside and out.
Here are the top five plays we follow when branding cannabis.
You may be the world’s biggest animation fan, but you can’t use any cartoon images when marketing cannabis. This isn’t just a “don’t do it.” It’s actually prohibited in many states.
It turns out that marketing cannabis to kids doesn’t go over so well. (Never mind that cartoon Joe Camel was helping peddle cigarettes from 1988 – 1997.)
But it isn’t just about steering cannabis away from the kids. Marijuana – both recreational and medical – provides substantial relief to a huge chunk of its demographic. To dumb it down with Cheech and Chongesque branding is disrespectful.
And frankly, it wouldn’t even appeal to the majority of cannabis users – the median age of which is just under 38.
Give Them Something to Remember
This is especially the case when a cannabis company is looking to establish their brand using their logo.
For branding to be successful – both cannabis and otherwise – there must be a story behind any images. Then a connection between the two must be firmly established.
If a cannabis company doesn’t have a story, they’re likely to settle for a bland and generic logo that either fails to connect with the desired audience, or simply baffle them.
Dazed and confused may make for amusing film characters, but it’s not the reaction you want from a potential customer looking at your cannabis company’s logo.
Wrap your story into a logo and provoke people to learn more and ask questions to learn the brand’s story. The story can be wrapped into marketing material. Soon, the connection to a brand becomes emotional and instantly recalled.
Keep It Simple
This is straight-up Branding 101. It’s as true for cannabis as it is for toilet paper. Or dog food. Any imagery design should be simple and colors minimal to make it memorable and uncomplicated.
So forget the clichéd tie-dyed marijuana leaf juxtaposed by your company’s name in a trippy Pot Land or AlphaSmoke font. Speaking of which…
Skip the Clichés
You might think it’s campy that your marketing material evokes the stoner subculture. But it’s lame. You’re actually perpetuating the stigma of marijuana making people dull and stupid.
Rather than pigeonholing your brand, you’d be better off creating a product line within your brand that caters to a specific cultural niche. It’s a much more respectable way to pay homage to a certain genre.
Or turning to brand ambassadors to tell your story in a meaningful and educational way is also a great way to honor the cannabis culture. And your brand can still be taken seriously. Imagine that.
Address a Wide Spectrum of Consumers
There is more than a handful of cannabis business owners who were never part of the counterculture – despite their keen appreciation for the product now.
As such, they may be tempted to degrade the image of regular (non-medical) cannabis users as weirdo hippie stoners who don’t know up from down. As cannabis marketing specialists, we must absolve them of this notion and remind them that it was this group that was key in the drive toward the legalization of marijuana.
In other words, you don’t want to alienate them. Or really any potential cannabis consumers – regardless of your beliefs about them. Because once you start to look at the many reasons different people consume cannabis, you start to see common threads along the entire broad spectrum.
And that’s a really cool thing. Seriously.
Does Your Company Need Better Cannabis Branding?
Successful cannabis companies commit 20 – 30% of their budget to branding and marketing. So you want to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment.
If you suspect you’re not getting the most out of your cannabis branding, then contact us today. We know the strategies required for winning this complicated game.