Anyone with experience in the burgeoning cannabis industry knows that there is a serious perception problem with companies in this fast-growing field. This is partially due to unfair public perceptions of what cannabis is and the variety of products that now contain it, but it is also partially the fault of the industry itself. Many cannabis and cannabis-adjacent businesses continue to embrace the rebellious and even illicit associations that plagued it before the current wave of legalization. While this can appeal to certain demographics, it limits the overall reach of your company and can ultimately inhibit growth.
Although there is nothing wrong with continuing on a path that has been successful so far, this article will present several suggestions for marketing a cannabis business that will stand out from the crowd and present a mature, professional image.
Avoid Traditional Marijuana Imagery
Traditional marijuana-related imagery is rampant within the cannabis industry. While this may seem logical, the truth is that much of this imagery has associations that can seriously limit the appeal of any marketing campaign. Imagery that has been embraced by amateur marketers across the industry despite its negative connotations includes the marijuana leaf, bong-related images, references to 4:20, and so on.
On the plus side, these images act as a shorthand that both appeals to specific demographics and immediately identifies a business as being cannabis-related. This can be useful for campaigns that are intended primarily to reach existing users, but it can make the acquisition of new customers difficult. Usage of this type of imagery works well in targeted campaigns, but less so when it features prominently in branding that will have a permanent association with your business.
Focus on Modern, Professional Design
Whether you are working on print marketing materials or a website, a focus on design that emphasizes professionalism can help you break through to new demographics. New customer acquisition is one of the toughest challenges faced by the cannabis industry, and if this industry is to grow into more than a niche market, it is vital that companies learn to appeal to demographics other than those traditionally associated with marijuana use.
How can you apply this directly? Look outside of the marijuana industry for inspiration in branding and material design. Consider the demographics that you would like to target as well. Are you focusing on higher-end consumers? Then your marketing campaign should emulate luxury brands. You shouldn't be attempting to disassociate yourself with cannabis (after all, having pride in your product is an important part of successful marketing), but rather the negative associations that exist around the cannabis industry.
Stick with a Consistent Brand Strategy
Although this is solid advice for any industry, it is important to develop a clear, consistent brand strategy early on. Many marijuana companies fall victim to haphazard brand development, which makes both acquiring and retaining customers difficult. When working on your branding strategy, keep the above points in mind.
Not only is it important to avoid these common pitfalls to project a mature image for your brand, but it is also important to create differentiation between your brand and other companies. Since traditional marijuana imagery is used so commonly, it can be difficult to establish your company's unique identity using it. By avoiding this, you can build your own identity so that your customers can recognize and associate with your brand.
Contact a cannabis marketing agency today for help implementing the above tips.