Building a cannabis business in California is no easy feat. There are near- endless regulations, and the rules are always evolving. For your business to be a success, you not only have to obey the law, but you also have to become a master at branding and marketing which has its own rules and regulations.
To steer clear of unintended violations, it’s best to work with an experienced marijuana business lawyer. Jessica McElfresh, the founder of McElfresh Law, has been working in the cannabis industry since the beginning. She helps businesses navigate laws surrounding recreational and medical cannabis at all levels of production and sales. Contact us or call (858) 756-7107 to schedule your consultation.
But to help you get started, here are some tips to brand your new cannabis business.
7 Tips for Branding Your Cannabis Business
1. Get to Know the Marketing Restrictions
There are some clear-cut marketing restrictions for the cannabis industry. For instance, your branding and advertisements must focus on audiences who are 21 years or older. You can get into trouble for any marketing strategies that seem to target anyone too young to buy marijuana lawfully.
In that vein, avoid any cartoon-like branding, because this can appeal to children. Also, be mindful of using cultural fads in marketing because this might appeal to teens who are most involved with those phenomena.
Another critical regulation is truth in advertising. Make sure everything you publish is accurate and not at all misleading. This is particularly important with health or medical claims.
Don’t imply or assert there’s a health benefit to using cannabis that isn’t thoroughly backed up by publicly available scientific research. One way to protect yourself is by having a marijuana business lawyer when you’re setting up the business.
2. Get to Know Your Target Audiences
If you’re opening a cannabis retail shop, you need to identify your target audience. People who buy cannabis encompass a wide spectrum of race, age, education, employment, and other demographics.
After researching the audiences in your geographic area, you’ll have to decide which consumers you want to target and how. You might decide to focus on a specific demographic, or you might choose to use different marketing tactics for different groups.
3. Establish a Marketing Budget
When you’re first starting a business, you’ll be tempted to pinch pennies. The drive to save money wherever you can is smart. But skimping on your marketing budget could hurt you in the long run.
It’s helpful to commit a certain percentage of your budget to branding and marketing, particularly in the first couple of years of business, when you want to solidify your brand and start gaining loyal customers.
4. Craft Your Story
Authentic branding comes from telling a story. Write the story about how you came to appreciate cannabis and gained the motivation and ability to open a cannabis business.
From your story, you can create a memorable logo and publish unique marketing content. You can and should consistently bring back your marketing to your origin story.
5. Design an Original Logo
Before opening for business, you should have a logo and brand guidelines. What are your colors, fonts, and design preferences? Unique and mature branding is essential to stand out from similar and nearby cannabis businesses.
You want to be recognizable and memorable, which you can do by using consistent imaging across your marketing channels, like store signage, website content, and social media content.
You might be tempted to design everything yourself, but unless you are a graphic designer, this is the right time to ask for help. Hire an experienced designer to create your logo and corresponding icons and images you can use on your website and social media. Work with your designer to solidify important aspects of your brand image, like colors and fonts.
6. Use Social Media Right Away
A marketing strategy isn’t complete without at least one social media channel. In most cases, you should have profiles on several platforms your audience uses the most, whether those include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or something new. Use social media to educate consumers about cannabis and your offerings.
7. Take PR Seriously
Public relations is related to but different from marketing. It’s helpful to learn how to connect and talk with journalists and how to write and publish press releases. This can help get your brand mentioned on popular cannabis platforms.
Solidify Your Branding Before Opening Your Doors
Cannabis businesses in California are part of a challenging industry. If you want to start a cannabis business and grow a loyal customer base, you need thoughtful branding and a strong marketing strategy. It helps to work with an experienced marijuana business attorney to start your marketing efforts on the right foot.