At this phase of the cannabis industry, brand recognition and brand differentiation are two of the most critical elements of a successful business. Today, dispensary store shelves are stocked with an endless array of highly-sophisticated cannabis brands and products. In an adult-use dispensary, you will see lifestyle brands, celebrity brands, wellness brands, and many more.
When crafted effectively, your cannabis brand should leave a lasting impression on customers. Your initial branding work will serve as a blueprint to be recreated in important marketing avenues like your website and social media. Let's walk through the five steps to a successful cannabis branding project with these notions in mind.
Cannabis Branding in Five Steps
- Brand Aesthetic
- Market Assessment
- Brand Strategy
- Final Deliverables
To kick off a successful branding project, you must first learn more about the intended direction of the business. During the discovery phase, a designer or head of the branding project should work hands-on with your team to uncover essential business goals and brand values.
Strategically placed as the first step in branding, the discovery process is structured around a question-and-answer session. The discovery session's purpose is to identify and gather critical information about your vision for the brand and to guide the next steps in the project/
Some common things discussed during discovery include:
- Business overview
- Product/service description
- Business goals
- Key challenges
- Consumer traits
- Closest competitors
- Product/service pricing
- Company values
Once your project manager has helped you flesh out critical information from discovery, you are ready to take this information to the creative team.
2. Brand Aesthetic
The brand aesthetics phase is when creative marketers like Art Directors and Graphic Designers get a chance to shine. During this step, the creative team takes the information conveyed during discovery and uses it to create an overall aesthetic for your brand.
This phase in branding also includes a creative give and take between the creative team and your company. To help nail down the specific feel you want for your cannabis brand, creative teams sometimes present other brands in hopes of matching the aesthetic you are looking to convey.
Another tool that creatives use during the brand aesthetics phase is a mood board. Designers typically take colors, fonts, icons, and images to match your brand’s feel and arrange them in a PDF or JPEG file. Mood boards often include written words as well – such as elements and feelings associated with your brand.
Key deliverables of the brand aesthetic phase include:
- Color palette
- Business card design
The end goal of the brand aesthetic phase is to create a unique mood for your business.
3. Market Assessment
The market assessment phase is when business-minded advisors help you understand exactly how your brand fits into your target market. Notably, the market assessment phase is not a generic overview of the cannabis industry. Instead, it is a highly strategic analysis of your brand goals within a specific market niche.
Key components of the market assessment segment include:
- Competitive landscape
- Buyer personas
Buyer personas provide a semi-fictional example of the types of people who will be interested in your brand. Using buyer personas to understand what motivates your customers is a great way to develop your brand's value proposition further while clearly showing your sales team what types of people to target.
Buyer personas commonly cover things like:
- Social life
- Interest in cannabis products.
4. Brand Strategy
With brand strategy, you take the vital information uncovered with the market assessment phase and put it into action. During brand strategy, marketers describe in further detail how your cannabis brand will engage your target market - now, as well as into the future.
Key elements of the brand strategy include:
- Brand story
- Mission statement
- Tone of voice.
The brand story describes your business goals and values in a concise narrative of about 300 words. The brand story explains the context of your chosen cannabis market segment and what differentiates you within this context. It also covers essential elements such as brand values, founding members, product offerings, and your vision of the future.
The brand story exercise is important because it ties several elements together in a single, cohesive narrative that helps communicate the brand's purpose.
Tone of Voice
5. Final Deliverables
Brand Strategy PDF
With brand strategy PDFs, marketers take all of the work from the previous phases and put it together into a single document. This PDF will represent every element of your brand, from aesthetic considerations to strategic, go-to-market strategy.
Your brand strategy PDF is an important tool to be used with such parties as potential investors or business partners. You can use it to educate new hires on the ins-an-outs of your cannabis brand.
Website and Social Media
Your website and social media accounts are some of the premier avenues through which to promote your new brand. Your website and social media pages will be colored with your aesthetic appeal, tone of voice, and brand positioning.
By carefully following the elements laid out throughout your branding project, you will create an online presence that is uniform, consistent, and engaging.
Bring Your Vision to Life
While effective branding is an integral part of building a profitable cannabis company, it is no easy endeavor. The company's that are best equipped to execute branding projects have teams that are comprised of both business-oriented and highly creative people. It takes this eclectic mix of personalities to create branding that is both aesthetically appealing and strategically relevant.
At Most Consulting Group, our team is a balanced blend of cannabis business veterans and creatives. Contact Us today to discuss a rebrand for your company, or to help finally bring that idea you've had in your head to life.