Branding is the creation of a distinctive design, unique name, and specific image to promote a company or product. A good brand will be recognizable and attract and retain loyal customers. This is going to be extremely important for you going forward. Why? 

What is Branding?

Everyone is already familiar with branding, whether they know it or not. If you are driving down the street looking for a place to have lunch and you spot those familiar golden arches, then you know about branding. If you are thirsty and you see a red can with distinctive white writing, recognizing it immediately, well that’s another example of branding.

Cannabis is making big waves, and it seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. This is an industry set to grow at a remarkable rate, but it is also suffering from its years as a banned substance. For many, cannabis will be forever linked to a certain lifestyle. In that regard, it is already branded, and not in the way that you might like.

Although cannabis can refer to either hemp or marijuana, it is the latter that people usually think of when they hear the name. Thus, for many there is an automatic reaction and assumption that it is strictly in the domain of hippies at Woodstock, or illicit activities.  

Re-branding, and How it Helps You

We’ve all seen products come and go—immensely popular one moment, then mocked and dismissed the next. Sometimes, a product can come back into vogue again as the result of re-branding. Branding affects perception, and perception is a powerful thing.

Cannabis will need to change perceptions because while it is now becoming known for its therapeutic uses, for many more, it is still something that is connected to a negative lifestyle—whether that be of “lazy, unmotivated kids” or worse, criminals.

Changing People’s Perceptions

So how, exactly, does one go about changing the way people view and react to cannabis?

For one thing, it means simply being visible. When you have nothing to hide and are in the public eye, it is harder for negative and false information to endure. Social media has proven an excellent tool for this, providing a way for companies to interact in a more personal manner with their potential audience by presenting information and answering questions. Social media should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Treating the cannabis industry like any other will allow others to see a different side of it. Make yourself visible and available to your audience. Let them see you and know that there is nothing to hide, and soon they will understand that there is nothing “wrong” with cannabis. 
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Don’t Overdo Things
While you will want to maintain a professional appearance, with a well-designed website and business-like approach, you don’t want to go so far that you appear to be a large, faceless corporate entity.

As mentioned above, let your customers see that there is a face behind the business. This lets them relate to you and gives them an idea of what your business is all about. Show some personality and connect with your audience.

Branding is more than a fancy design that looks good. It is about personality and projecting your company’s spirit and mission. 

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be open
By responsive, we mean your site need to adapt to the device being used to view it. More than half of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. If your site is not designed to display correctly on those devices, you will find that your business suffers, both in terms of Google ranking and customer response.
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Competition is on the Way 
While you may have the best product available, the simple fact that the cannabis market is set to explode means that competition is about to do the same. You may have a fairly comfortable niche at the moment, but in very short order, competitors will be popping up left and right, offering similar products and related products. The general public is probably not yet educated enough to differentiate between levels of quality, so your branding needs to be able to appeal to them. Remember, an inferior product with superior branding will be a significant threat. 
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Dealing with Prejudice 
You are going to find that at the moment, there is still a hurdle to overcome due to the negative view that some have of cannabis. Facebook, for example, has been known to block posts dealing with cannabis. Google has also put restrictions on cannabis and related products. This will be a challenge initially, but as time passes and perceptions begin to change, there will hopefully be a shift away from this sort of behaviour. 

The Boom is Coming

Some would say that it has already begun, and that is probably accurate, considering the growth in sales that some companies have experienced over the past year. It is difficult to estimate just how big this will become, but estimates are suggesting a range of $3 billion to $22 billion, and that’s just in Canada!

With that kind of outlook, major companies will be getting involved in this industry—companies with significant funds and resources that will allow them to enter the market in a big way. This will be a challenge for smaller companies to deal with, but the good news is that you can establish yourself first. Effective branding will give you an edge when the competition arrives. 
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