Cannabis Branding 101: The Basics

Learn The Fundementals Of Creating A Great Brand

Bob Reilly | Highlife®
Bob Reilly | Highlife®

Branding is what your company believes in, why it exists, and how consumers feel about your business and products. Branding promotes loyalty and long-term commitment. The visual components of your brand include your company name, logo, tagline, fonts, and color scheme. These elements identify your brand and create an association in people’s minds between their desires and beliefs and your company’s ideals. In the cannabis space new brands are emerging daily. You have probably seen them. Canna this and Mary Jane that, etc. So how can you carve out a piece of the cannabis dream for yourself? It all starts with your brand.

Naming Your Brand

The first thing you will want to do is name your brand. This may seem simple enough but it could lead to finacial or legal issues down the line or become a hinderence in the marketing of your products and services. 

The words used by brands, online and offline, are fundamental. That is why branding agencies spend hours, days, weeks, even months considering the name for a new brand. They do not always get it right; remember “Insignia”?

What is it about the words of brands that make us like or dislike them? Part of the answer lies in complex psychology known as “Gestalt”. Gestalt psychology is about how we perceive the world around us, and is largely about how our brain interprets shape and form.

Selecting the best brand name is always difficult. Considering the shape of the word, however, is worthwhile because of the instant psychological impact this has. With shape and form comes sound… how does your brand sound. What emotional triggers does it invoke. what thoughts and ideas does it conjure up. Ask your family and friends thier thoughts on the name of you brand. Don’t project onto them what your brand name means to you but listen to thier views and see if it matches up with what you are trying to achive. If it does you may have found the perfect name for your product or service.

Choosing Your Brands Colors

lor pyschology is as important as the name of your brand. It is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. Color evokes feeling. It incites emotion. And it’s not any different when it comes to selecting colors for your business.

Choosing the right colors for your marketing efforts can be the difference between your brand standing out from the crowd, or blending into it. By using colors strategically for your marketing efforts, you can get your audience to see what you want them to see and help them perceive you the way you aim to be perceived. This is why understanding color psychology can be so useful to help you portray your brand the way you want to.

Cannabis Branding Colors
Cannabis Branding Colors

While choosing the right colors can enhance your brand perception, poor color selection can do damage to your brand image. For instance, if you choose the wrong colors for your content or logo, it can turn out to be less readable, and hard for your audience to understand. Or you can risk being ignored all together.

Color can be used to influence how people think and behave toward a brand, and how they interpret any information. The choice of colors can help people decide what is important. And that’s why we need to understand what different colors mean. The same color can also have different meanings that are dependent on our upbringing, gender, location, values, and a variety of other factors.

Once you have settled on a brand name and brand color go online and head over to your state trademark office or the United States Patent and Trademark Ofiice (USPTO)

Protecting your Brand With Trademarks

Establishing a strong brand is pivotal to business success. Protecting that brand is equally important. Yet many small businesses overlook an important first step in securing their brand: trademarks.

What can be trademarked. A trademark is any unique word, symbol, name or device used to identify and distinguish the goods of one seller from the goods of another–think Nike’s swoosh, for example. A trademark allows the seller to protect what’s trademarked from use and/or misuse by competitors while building brand loyalty among repeat customers. Trademarks also help prevent confusion or manipulation of consumers, who come to associate distinct attributes–in particular, quality–with a distinct brand.

From a branding perspective, the following are assets that can be protected: logos, names, tag lines and packaging. However, these assets can only be trademarked if they meet certain qualifications. A word or phrase that’s commonly used or already connected with another product or service in the same industry cannot be trademarked. For example, a generic term like “search engine” can’t be trademarked, but a unique name, like Google, can be. However, if your name is generic but used in an industry not typically related to the meaning of the term, you may be able to trademark it. A good example would be Apple Computer.

As a general rule, you can trademark your business name if you use it when advertising directly to your customers. If you don’t use your business name in direct communication with your customers, you probably can’t, because you’re not connecting your name to your brand and its attributes. If your business name will be a large part of your marketing, you should consider trademarking it.

It’s not necessarily expensive to trademark something. In the United States, whoever establishes priority in a mark is usually considered the owner of it. In other words, if you’re the first company to use a unique mark to identify your products or services, you don’t need to register your mark to gain rights to it. You must, however, add the trademark symbol, TM, to the mark you’re claiming rights to. It’s still not quite a substitute to registering a mark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which establishes ownership beyond a doubt.

Trademarks can be registered at the state or federal level. State registrations are less expensive, but also offer less protection. Trademarks are often registered within one industry, but may be registered in more than one. Your best option depends on your geographic area of operation and scope of business.

If you file a trademark application with the USPTO, it’ll ensure no other trademarks similar to yours currently exist. This process can take months. Do your homework, because if your mark closely resembles someone else’s, your application will be denied.

Keep in mind that the more you differentiate your brand from others in your industry, the easier it’ll be to protect. Choose a name and logo that distinctly identifies your business and will protect it from competitors.

Advertising & Marketing Your Brand

If branding is what your company believes in, why it exists, and how consumers feel about your business and products then marketing encompasses strategies to build awareness of your company’s products and services. It also involves promoting and protecting the brand. Every message about your company is part of your marketing. This includes all social media interactions, customer service, personal relationships, printed materials, websites, social media profile pages, and anything that contains your brand imagery.

Advertising on the other and is a subset of marketing, focused mostly on acquiring customers and driving sales. It generally relates to paid campaigns that are carefully written and designed to reach a target audience through various media, including online, newspapers, magazines, posters, television, and radio.

HIGHLIFE® | 6 principles To Follow When Advertising Your Brand
HIGHLIFE® | 6 principles To Follow When Advertising Your Brand