If you aren’t entirely sure WHAT branding is, or even what it includes, be sure to check out this article right here.
If you’ve read that, or you already know what branding is, then keep on reading. In this post, I’m going to highlight 15 of the most effective ways of making your cannabis brand STAND OUT from the rest.
Why does that matter?
Well, for one thing, there were more than 966 MILLION websites as of 2016.
That’s a hell of a lot of websites.
Additionally, there are at least 103 retail cannabis stores within the state of Washington, and 261 of them in California.
If each of those cannabis retail stores had an online presence, then the competition would be pretty massive. You’d have to focus on creating and maintaining effective branding that would help you stand out from the rest of the cannabis retail stores in your state.
With so many other stores in the cannabis industry, it’s ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT YOU IMPLEMENT WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BRAND STAND OUT, AND NOT JUST BLEND IN AS YET ANOTHER CANNABIS RETAIL STORE.
Because, let’s face it, blending in means being overlooked. Forgotten. Empty.
And empty, with no customers, means no sales. Obviously, that’s not all that great for business.
Keeping all that in mind, what are some things you can do to raise your brand as high as your customers?
You know, to elevate your brand and make sure it really stands out among all the other cannabis business brands out there.
What makes your brand different? What draws in your target audience? Why do customers keep coming back?
Here are 15 ways to make your brand stand out!
15 Cannabis Branding Tips
1 - FOCUS ON FLEXIBILITY
In this rapidly changing, ever-evolving cannabis industry, business owners must remain flexible in order to stay relevant and ahead of the game. As difficult as that may sound, it does grant opportunity for you to get creative with your marketing.
Now, you may be thinking, “Hold up. How am I supposed to be both consistent AND flexible?”
Well, I’ve got an answer for you.
Consistency is what directs the standard for your brand, whereas flexibility is what enables you to tweak and adjust your branding to generate new and continued interest, as well as to distinguish your business from the other cannabis businesses around.
Basically, you want to be consistent enough that your content is recognizably yours, while also switching things up enough to stay fresh and authentic.
Example: Let’s say your cannabis business has pretty much been a staple for stoners all around the city since it first opened YEARS ago. Today, it’s one of the most popular brands for stoners of all types.
The secret? Your cannabis business has remained flexible.
By paying attention to the industry and being aware of the need to do something new in order to maintain its place at the top of the market, you team up with a content marketer and position your brand for a new (or even just expanded) customer base and audience.
We’re talking new social media ads, new website content, new packaging, new inventory, new specials, and even new swag. By doing all of this and implementing a full re-brand like that, your cannabis business was able to attract the attention of a new audience, as well as spark new interest with your current customers.
By making these strategic adjustments to your already strong brand, you breathe new life into your business.
If your current marketing tactics just aren’t really cutting it anymore, it may be time for a brand overhaul. Things that have worked in the past don’t necessarily work now.
So, take this chance to engage with your customers and social media followers in fresh, creative, and authentic ways. What are some “step outside the box” collaborations you can make? What are some product highlights you can focus on that haven’t been previously given attention?
Look for ways you can refresh your brand to connect with your new audience and remind your existing customers and followers why they love your cannabis business so much.
2 - DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
What is it about your cannabis business that makes it so unique? What are your quirks?
Find ways to incorporate these into your brand!
For example, Army of Dankness is run by people with nerd culture interests, such as comics, sci-fi, tabletop gaming, and vintage horror. The names of their products, their packaging, and their brand art all reflects this. Think punk meets nerd culture, and you’re on the right track.
They’re rad as hell. Check ‘em out!
For another, back when I first started freelancing, I incorporated my love of academics, books, and learning directly into all of my content! Erudite, scholarly, and serious was pretty much where my branding was at. Very serious.
But, things changed as both my business and I changed and grew. I’ve infused quirky parts of my personality into my writing style here on this blog, in my social media content, and in other aspects of my online presence.
And, there’s more I can do with that.
What makes your cannabis business different? What makes YOU different? What about YOUR TEAM?
Use your quirks, and dare to set your brand apart from the crowd.
3 - MAKE EVERY DETAIL COUNT
Pay close attention to all of the seemingly minute details that usually go unnoticed by everyone else. This is one of THE MOST effective ways to make your brand stand out!
We’re talking things like:
→ The way you dress
→ Your social media profiles
→ The way you respond to emails, comments, texts, and other forms of communication
→ The interactions and experiences you offer your clients
These are just SOME of the things that should reflect consistency in your branding - - and you want it to be unique!
Examine all the different facets of your cannabis business.
What can you personalize to better reflect your branding? How can you create consistent branding throughout all the teeny-tiny, nitty-gritty details others tend to overlook?
4 - SHARE YOUR BRAND STORY
No two brands have the EXACT SAME story. It’s the fingerprint for your cannabis.
Sharing your brand’s story helps your target audience connect with you, which helps forge consumer-brand relationships. With most of the initial interactions with brands taking place online, this connection has become more important than ever before.
Basically, if you want to sell product, you need to create that connection. And it needs to be authentic.
Share your story with your audience, and let them in on what inspired you to create the cannabis business you did. What drives you? What motivates you?
Just as cannabis-infused edibles are ever-growing in popularity, so is content that has been infused with a brand’s stories and experiences.
How can you show the human side of your brand, and show that your cannabis business is more than just a faceless organization.
It’s a living, breathing, and thriving brand - - just like your audience will continue to thrive with your products.
Oh, um. . . remember those content marketing services I offer? They’ll help you with this, too.
5 - BE CONSISTENT
I seriously cannot emphasize how ESSENTIAL consistency is when it comes to branding.
The strongest brands are the most consistent brands.
One more time.
THE STRONGEST BRANDS ARE THE MOST CONSISTENT BRANDS.
Your business needs to be using the exact same fonts, colors, filters, etc. on everything. Additionally, you also need to maintain consistent tone, voice, overall vibe, etc.
You don’t want to start out on a whimsical, light-hearted note in one section of your website, only to be serious and stern in another part.
It looks like you’re confused, and don’t know what your brand is about.
You need to position your brand the way you want your audience to perceive you. Which means choosing consistent branding to reflect that.
6 - KNOW WHAT YOUR COMPETITION IS UP TO
Figure out what the other cannabis businesses in your niche are doing . . and then switch it all up.
Put your brand’s personal spin on everything you can.
Especially look for things that annoy you about how people are doing things, and then find ways to do it better.
What are they doing that you aren’t? Find out, and then do it better.
Above all: DO IT YOUR WAY.
Again, the content marketing services that I keep mentioning will help you with this. :P
7 - NOT JUST CONSISTENT, BUT ALSO COHESIVE
Your brand should not only be consistent across all of your platforms and other marketing collateral, but your brand presence should also be cohesive.
This is SUPER important!
All of your branding elements (aesthetics, vibe, voice, colors, fonts, graphics, filters, angles, etc.) should all fit together to form one clear, cohesive brand that is recognizably yours.
If your customer was scrolling through Instagram, your picture should stand out from the crowd AND should be easily identified as your cannabis business brand, even without looking at the name or logo.
Otherwise, if you keep switching things up, your customers will find your brand confusing.
And you know which strong brands are confusing?
None of them.
8 - ARCHIVE YOUR BLOG PAGE
First: If your cannabis business doesn’t already have a blog, you need to change that. Without one you’re missing out on numerous opportunities for growing your brand, boosting your sales, and improving customer retention. In fact, businesses with blogs that publish 16+ posts per month tend to receive an average of 3.5x more website traffic than those with blogs that only publish 0-4 posts per month.
Once you’ve got your blog going, it’s important to remember to secure those thousands of blog posts you’ve written and published.
Make it easy for new website visitors to find those posts, rather than having to sprain their thumbs from scrolling. . . and scrolling . . . and scrolling. Because, let’s face it. . . most people are NOT going to just keep going.
Instead, create archives for ALL of your website content. This will make it easy for new readers to see everything at once, as well as make it easy for all readers to keep going back to a post they’re referencing or saving.
You can take things one step further in terms of convenience by adding a “Start Here” page for new visitors, wherein you can suggest different links to your most popular (or your favorite) blog posts.
Example: Let’s say all of your cannabis business blog posts are archived. A website visitor clicks on “Blog” from the navigation menu, and are shown a list of blog categories. Once they click on a category, they will be shown all of the relevant blog posts relating to the selected category.
9 - CHALLENGE YOUR CUSTOMERS
Not in a hostile way, or anything like that.
Creating a challenge for your customers and social media followers is not only a fun way to spread the word about your cannabis business brand, but it also gives you a way to demonstrate your brand’s unique value - - which creates that consumer-brand connection you’re going for!
Example: Create a challenge for your customers that helps them master blunt rolling.
Call it Ignite Your High, or something like that, and split it into a four-part video tutorial series. When someone subscribes to your email newsletter list, they’ll get those tutorials with specific action steps, advanced rolling styles, and even some extra bonus content - - all delivered right into their email inbox.
The videos can walk viewers through all the exact steps on how to do things like …
- How to roll the perfect basic blunt, so you can roll, spark, and go on about your day without needing bongs or pipes. [BONUS: This will provide value and attract the RIGHT people to your cannabis business (and email newsletter list!), including customers and new vendors.
- The fastest ways to roll a joint (without having to settle for something flimsy and thin!)
- Step-by-step instructions for some more advanced blunts, such as a plus sign or a geometric shape
Want to boost your email marketing game? Then it’s time put together a regular, engaging newsletter with a compelling subject line that’s too intriguing to scroll past.
Which goes along with the next tip . . .
10. UP YOUR EMAIL MARKETING GAME
Why should you care about that?
Well, because you need to be giving each and every customer the most kick-ass experience possible!
That’s what’s going to make your brand stand out.
Make sure your branding stays consistent, and that you don’t cut corners or skip out on any of the most important steps - - creating a customer workflow sheet.
It may sound like just another thing to take up more time, but it’s anything but.
From the very first email you send out, to the very last “thank you for ordering!” note, you want to be documenting every single step you of the sales path you take with each customer.
Even if you have a huge audience and can’t interact with people one-on-one, you can STILL create an effective workflow for the customer experience you want your brand to be providing!
Example: When someone enrolls in online ordering, they go through a specific workflow (they get enrolled in a particular discount or promotional sequence, they get put into a segmented email list, etc.)
Taking the time to document each step of the different sales processes your business has will not only guarantee consistent branding, but it will also save you massive amounts of time later on.
Furthermore, you’re taking steps to ensure your brand remains relevant and at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Next time they need to re-up, they’re more likely to stop by your shop than call up the plug.
11. PERSONALIZATION IS EVERYTHING
This is a big one.
It’s also an easy one.
How can you let your personality shine through your brand? What personal touches can you add?
From including hand-written notes in the orders for your clients and / or customers and simple thank-yous when receiving comments on social media, showing your brand personality goes a long way!
Example: Reach out to past customers on your email list and say “hello!” with a special offer. Contact previous clients and ask what you can help them with.
Or, get creative with it. Add personal touches to your cannabis business website. For instance, you could take your own styled an branded stock photos, or have doodles and graphics unique to your brand.
Do you like emojis? Use them appropriately and whenever it would fit your brand.
12 - CONDUCT INVENTORY AUDITS
Really, you should be doing this at least once or twice a year!
The more focused your branding is, the more effective it will be.
You may very well have ALL KINDS of different interests and passions. But, including all of them in your business will just lead to watered down branding.
Appealing to absolutely everybody is the same as being appealing to absolutely nobody.
Because what is it that makes them like you better than the other brand? What’s different about your store?
Rather than just catering to every single cannabis user in your area, focus on products that you’re MOST into and passionate about. Maybe it’s offering more obscure producers. Maybe it’s offering exclusively flower and extracts. Maybe it’s hosting Vendor Days that are more involved events, rather than just a sales person behind a table.
Stock up on the products that further your brand and brand positioning. Focus on events, sales, and other promotions that create a customer experience specific and unique to your brand.
Whatever it is, find what makes your brand different.
13 - CHECK OUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Just like you did with your inventory audit, you want to look at everything.
Examine your entire brand presence, both online and off, and then consider:
→ Is my branding visually consistent in terms of colors, graphics, fonts, images, and everything else?
→ Is your brand statement on, or represented on, everything?
→ Is your content directly relevant, interesting, and valuable for your followers and customers?
→ Does each piece of content produced by your brand further the core purpose of your business?
Oh, and . . .
I wrote an article, focused on how to create content that sells, that you may want to check out. It’ll be a good starting point or a good resource for when you refresh your content.
14 - DOMINATE SOCIAL MEDIA
Seriously. Make social media your bitch.
Social media gets OVERWHELMING AF.
(Speaking of which, here’s a post on creating a social strategy that attracts customers. Having a documented social strategy helps avoid burnout!)
So, first you’re going to take a look at your target audience and make note of which social media platforms they use the most. Use that information to choose which social media channels YOU want to dominate.
And, no, you’re not going to want to do them all.
Sticking to 1 or 2, maaaaybe 3 platforms and just absolutely kicking ass on them is far more effective for branding and sales than spreading yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once.
Ideally, you want to be as targeted as possible.
There’s your audience, and there’s your target audience. Where do your ideal customers hang out the most?
Choose those platforms, and then take the time to completely master each of them. Interact with your customers and followers, showcase new products, respond to comments and leave your own, etc.
But, once again, just start by picking 1-2 social media platforms to focus on first. This will also make it easier to remain consistent with your branding throughout all of your content.
15 - DO WEBINARS
You know who’s out there blogging?
You know who’s out there doing short videos on YouTube and Instagram?
You know who’s out there doing webinars these days?
Webinars are prime real estate when it comes to ways to make your brand stand out.
→ Aren’t super popular
→ Showcase your brand’s personality by giving your customers and followers a chance to interact with you
→ Further position your brand as a cannabis industry authority and resource, rather than just another brand trying to sell product
Basically, webinars kick ass at truly making your brand stand out, and for connecting with your target audience.
It doesn’t cost anything to get started.
I mean, you need a computer and Internet, but that’s about it.
It can be about anything from strain reviews, product highlights, Vendor Day features, tutorials...the possibilities are virtually endless!
BONUS - DO REGULAR BRAND CHECKS
You’re going to want to check your brand and brand positioning on a regular basis. We’re talking at least once a year.
As you grow, change, and evolve as a cannabis industry business owner, so does your brand. You just want to make sure your brand is growing WITH you.
So, at least once a year, take some time out to ensure all of your content (both online and offline) and all aspects of your branding are consistent and on point with both you and your brand objectives.
And there ya go...15 ways to make your brand stand out!
I hope you found ‘em helpful.
AND, IF YOU DID, BE SURE TO FIND ME ON INSTAGRAM!
Are there some things you’ve tried that have really made a big difference in your cannabis business brand? Do you have any questions about cannabis branding?
Just drop any questions / comments / requests to grab coffee and smoke a blunt down in the comments below!
(Okay, you don’t have to meet for a smoke sesh, but please feel free.)