Brand Awareness: How To Stand Out In The Cannabis Industry

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Photo: StickerYou

As legalization spreads across multiple states, competition for businesses in the cannabis space is stiff. Investors injected $10 billion into the industry in 2018. Over 250,000 people are employed in the cannabis space handling marijuana directly, with an untold number of tangential jobs. Many businesses in the green gold rush are struggling to make a name for themselves in this bustling space.

So how can a cannabis company build brand awareness and a loyal customer base?

Craft A Strong Logo
Think of your logo as your company’s calling card. It needs to make an impression, and represent the core elements and values of your brand.

Some of the simplest-appearing logos take the longest to think of, plan and create. You are not going to create an effective, visually-arresting logo on Photoshop with no design experience. Professional graphic designers are expensive, but for something as key as a logo, they are a necessary expense. Before you engage with a designer, do some research. Choose some logos of companies that stand out to you, and look for common design elements among them. Pick out what you love and what you hate, and bring these examples and your list to your first meeting with the designer.

Then Give It Away
People love free stuff. Once your logo is ready, you can begin building brand awareness by placing your logo on everything from custom stickers, labels and decals to clothing, packaging, bumper stickers and other swag to give away. Put your logo on things people are likely to carry with them and use in front of others, such as lighters, tissue packs or water bottles, and give them out at events, at your store or as prizes in contests. Your brand message is spread every time someone pulls out that lighter or water bottle.

This doesn’t have to be expensive. At StickerYou, we provide affordable ways for small-to-medium sized businesses to create customized die-cut sticky products, including stickers, labels, decals, temporary tattoos, magnets and more, in any size or quantity needed. Users can either upload their own logo to an easy-to-use online app.

Work with relevant businesses in your community for sponsorship opportunities, and bring your branded items to give out at events and tradeshows to get your brand out there in front of the crowds.

Build Authentic Trust
Successful brand-building is more than a professional product logo and tagline. When done right, brand-building creates a consistent, reliable experience for customers that engenders a sense of loyalty and trust. It’s hard to overstate how key these two qualities are to the success of a brand. According to a Nielsen survey, 59 percent of people prefer to buy products from brands they know and trust. Trust equals conversion.

Don’t Forget To Get Social
Love it or hate it, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase a brand’s visibility. According to Blue Fountain Media, more than 90 percent of businesses saw positive results when using Instagram or Facebook as marketing tools. Over 60 percent of Millenials show increased loyalty to brands that engage with them on social media. And savvy companies are already thinking about Gen Z and getting in on apps like Tik Tok.

Engaging with customers on social media goes a long way towards building authenticity and trust. It shows that you want to meet your customers where they are, and want to connect with them personally.

Keep An Eye On Your Customer Base
You might think you know your target demographic, but the numbers can always surprise you. That’s why monitoring your customer base – who is actually buying your products versus who you think is buying – is absolutely essential, especially in the beginning stages of building brand awareness.

Your initial assumptions of who would be most interested in your products may have been off, or you may discover a new target market to engage with your brand messaging. Knowing who you are marketing to will affect everything, from the visuals you use for ads and the language you use for copy, to what discounts you offer and where you choose to advertise your brand.

When I first founded StickerYou I thought that the product would appeal to kids. I was right, but after monitoring purchases, I discovered it that it was small businesses that were purchasing, and they outnumbered the expected target market by roughly 4-to-1.

The cannabis industry is competitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build a strong brand that stands out from the rest. By building a solid logo, taking steps to get your brand out there, building authentic relationships with your customer base and making sure you know who your customer base is comprised of, you’ll have a solid base from which to build a successful cannabis brand.

Author Bio: Andrew Witkin, Founder & President
As the founder of StickerYou, Andrew believes in the enormous power of customization. With over a decade of StickerYou success, he is one of Canada’s leading experts in e-commerce, customization, startups, marketing and the tech economy.

He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Witkin has previously served as VP North American Licensing for Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and Director of Marketing for MegaBrands/Mattel.