From Marijuana Business Daily: Branding Becoming Bigger Part of Cannabis Industry as Companies Look to Expand
I am so thrilled to see that this area of the industry is starting to get some traction. Finally people are starting to get that good design an thoughtful branding can change the perception of the market overall – creating more jobs, more investment, and more political momentum.
By Tony C. Dreibus | March 11, 2015
Brand marketing has finally become a buzzword in the cannabis industry as a growing number of companies look to expand across city, state and even international boundaries.
In the past, many dispensaries, retail stores, infused products businesses and even growers relied primarily on word-of-mouth in their local communities, online listing sites like Leafly and Weedmaps, and ads in regional alternative newspapers to get their names out. This worked well when the industry was relatively small and confined mostly to regional opportunities. Now, the barriers to growth are falling, and many businesses are trying to figure out how to make their products a household name.
Several established medical marijuana companies are planning to extend their brands into new markets such as Nevada and Illinois, for instance, while recreational businesses in Colorado and Washington State are eyeing opportunities in Oregon and Alaska. Opening a store or putting a product on a shelf in one state that’s recognizable to users who live in another is key to developing a successful expansion strategy, as people tend to gravitate toward what’s familiar.
What’s more, with over 90% of cannabis companies expecting to grow this year, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook, branding will become essential from a competitive standpoint going forward. “Branding is absolutely essential,” said Bruce Nassau, the co-founder of Tru Cannabis, a company that owns of five recreational shops and dispensaries in Colorado. “It’s all about customer recognition.”
“A lot of people come in and want shotgun work,” he said. “They spent all this time on the build-out of rec shop or build-out of their grow, but then they come in and say `I want a logo designed in 30 days.’ It’s just not possible. You need to take as much time to do this as you do building your facilities.”
Once names, logos and marketing efforts are established, cannabis companies that manage to build success on the branding front could become industry leaders in a short amount of time.
“As this industry becomes more mature it’s going to be a bigger issue,” said Nassau, who is “looking at some opportunities” to expand in the Pacific Northwest. “Even if you just want to be a good-sized state company, it makes sense to brand. If you’re doing your job right, people will say `these guys are great’ just by looking at the name.”
Tony C. Dreibus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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