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Cannabis Branding Do's And Don'ts: A Comprehensive Guide

The cannabis industry is growing at an amazing rate. In fact, it's projected to reach upwards of $75 billion by 2030. With this level of growth comes the opportunity for brands to enter the market and capitalize on the trend. Of course, for legacy growers and those who have been in the industry from the start, it's imperative that you find some way to compete with these (often well-funded) newcomers. This is where cannabis branding comes in.

There are a few things you should keep in mind before launching (or rebranding) your cannabis brand. Cannabis branding is tricky. You want to be professional, but not too buttoned-up that you alienate your core customer base. You want to be relatable, but not so cool that everyone just looks right past you. It's a tough tightrope to walk, but with these tips, you'll be on your way to cannabis branding success in no time.

What Is Cannabis Branding?

Cannabis branding is the practice of creating a unique name, identity, and/or story around a cannabis product or company in order to differentiate it from others in the industry. A successful cannabis branding strategy can help a business to attract and retain customers, as well as set itself apart from the competition.

Cannabis branding is one of the most complex and misunderstood branding niches in the world. Because cannabis is federally illegal in the United States, companies in the cannabis industry have to take several extra precautions to ensure that their brand doesn’t fall afoul of the law.

This has led to a great deal of creativity in the cannabis branding world, as companies try to find ways to toe the line between legality and edginess. Some common themes in cannabis branding are naturalism, minimalism, and a focus on the positive effects of the drug.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for branding, as the best approach for your company will vary depending on your place in the industry, the types of products or services you are offering, and your target audience. When done correctly, a strong identity will ensure your branding is consistent across all platforms. Your website, social media accounts, and marketing materials should all be using the same fonts, colors, and messaging. This will help create a unified brand identity that your customers will recognize and trust.

And before you get started on your branding, it's essential that you know who your audience is. This will allow you to target your audience accurately.  It's not about guessing or taking a stab in the dark. You need to have a good understanding of not only who they are, but what they want, need and desire. Only then will you be able to create messaging that resonates with them.

Elements Of A Successful Cannabis Brand

There are many elements to a successful cannabis brand. Above all, the most important factor is trust. Consumers need to trust that the product they’re buying is safe and will deliver the desired effect. They also need to trust the brand’s values and mission.

This starts with a strong and effective branding strategy. The logo, name, and overall look and feel of the product and packaging should be consistent and reflect the company’s values. The tone of voice and messaging must be on point, too. Cannabis companies can be fun and playful, or serious and professional, but they must always be consistent. And remember that you must maintain the same level of professionalism at every possible customer touchpoint. One hastily composed social media post can undo months or even years of hard work forming a positive relationship with your audience.

A lot depends on establishing your brand voice. This is the personality that you give your company. It’s the way you talk to your customers, the words you choose, and the attitude you put behind them. Developing your brand’s voice is one of the most important things you can do for your company. It helps customers connect with your brand, establishes trust, and makes you stand out from the competition.

Think of your favorite brands. If I mention a company like Nike, Apple, or Old Spice, a very clear image of who they are and what they represent as a company comes to mind. The same is true in the cannabis industry. In fact, because the cannabis space is so new, there is a tremendous opportunity for new brands to establish themselves quickly. Decide what you want your voice to be, how you want to be viewed by your customers, and then invest in creating an aesthetic, from your logo, to your brand colors, to your social media presence, that supports this overarching vision.

Developing your cannabis brand

As the cannabis industry matures and moves towards federal legalization, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are looking to get involved. But with a crowded market and ever-changing regulations, how do you go about developing a successful cannabis brand?

The first step is to do your homework. Research the industry, your target market, and the competition. Once you have a clear understanding of the landscape, you can start to develop your brand strategy. This will include everything from your branding and marketing to your product line-up and company culture.

Next, you’ll need to come up with a logo. When it comes to marketing, your logo is one of your most important assets. It’s the first thing people see, and it sets the tone for your brand. A great logo can help you attract new customers and solidify your brand’s identity.

A cannabis logo needs to be eye-catching and memorable. It should also be representative of your company’s values and mission. Here are a few tips to help you create a killer cannabis logo:

  1. Keep it simple. A complex logo will be difficult to reproduce and may be confusing to customers.

  2. Really think through your brand colors. These will most likely be developed as part of your logo, and the colors you choose will go a long way towards establishing the style and tone of your brand

  3. Use modern typography. It’s amazing how a poorly selected font can ruin a website or brand.

In order to really ensure your brand is on point, you need a style guide. This visual document will outline your brand’s voice, tone, and visuals. A style guide is what makes it possible to maintain consistency across all of your marketing materials.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a style guide for your cannabis company. First, make sure to include specific guidelines for logo usage, color palette, typefaces, and writing style. You’ll also want to outline specific rules for photography and video, including what kind of images you’d like to use, what color backgrounds should be seen in products shots, and more.

Basically, the more detailed you can be with your style guide, the more your brand will resonate with your audience.

Mistakes To Avoid When Branding Your Cannabis Company

When creating a cannabis brand, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes. The first things we see a lot is companies not doing their research. This is perhaps the most important mistake, as it can lead to all sorts of problems down the road. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the cannabis industry, your customers, and your competitors before starting your brand.

Another mistake is focusing too much on the typical stoner stereotypes. If your brand relies too much on stereotypes, it will likely turn off a large portion of the population. Keep in mind that not everyone who uses cannabis is a 'stoner' or identifies that way. Forward-looking cannabis brands want to reach new customers, among the cannabis curious, rather than limit themselves to the heaviest consumers.

Also, be sure to do your research to make sure your branding is compliant with state and local regulations. For example, most states have a policy that strictly forbids marketing to minors. What does this regulation look like in your state? Is an animated pot leaf something that might set off alarm bells? It’s essential that you make sure all marketing and advertising is in compliance with state regulations to avoid (often costly) problems down the road.

Instead of saving money by hiring a cheap designer, invest in a professional logo design from a reputable firm. We are constantly getting asked why our design services are so expensive. Prospective clients will point out they can get a logo design online for less than $50. That’s certainly true, but then you will be stuck with a $50 logo. Cheap logos will always look cheap, and customers will be able to tell that you didn’t invest in a good logo. What does that say about your products?

The Future Of Cannabis Branding

What does the future hold for cannabis branding? How can businesses make sure their brands stand out in a crowded and ever-changing market? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

There are a few key trends in cannabis graphic design and branding that you should be aware of. First, many companies are moving towards a minimalist, modern aesthetic. This sleek and sophisticated look is appealing to customers and conveys a sense of professionalism and legitimacy.

Another trend in cannabis graphic design is the use of natural elements. While incorpoating a pot leaf into your logo may be considered cliche, many brands are using images of plants and flowers in their designs, as well as earthy tones and muted colors, to evoke the natural origins of their products.

Finally, after the last couple years we’ve suffered through, people are looking for optimism. In a market that is often associated with gritty and dark visuals, some brands are beginning to experiment with brighter, more optimistic designs. While this can take many forms, and might even involve a more vintage look, or the natural outdoorsy tone mentioned above, think about a brand style that can offer a breath of fresh air.

Partner With The Hood Collective For Your Cannabis Branding

Cannabis branding is an essential aspect of any cannabis business, so it's important to do it right. This article outlined the do's and don'ts of cannabis branding, and provided some tips for getting started. If you're ready to start branding your cannabis business, get in touch for a free consultation. We even offer customizable branding packages for farms, dispensaries, and retailers that include web design, cannabis packaging design, logo design, and more.


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