From the Blog

Cannabis Branding: How to Smoke Your Competition

 

It’s 2020, and legal cannabis brands are popping up like wildfire all across the country. Competition is fierce, and it isn’t showing signs of slowing as more growers, retailers and entrepreneurs are vying for a stake in the “green rush”. 

In fact, the global legal marijuana market size is expected to reach 73.6 billion USD by 2027, according to a new report published by Grand View Research, Inc

Today, in the United States there are over 170,000+  searches for “cannabis dispensary”, “cannabis store”, “weed dispensary” and other related terms each month.

 

 

As cannabis culture continues to grow, consumers are no longer forced to choose between a select few businesses, and they aren’t restricted to the same old products. 

Cannabis consumers desire high-quality, new products. Cannabis consumption at large used to be consumed in two ways: smoked, or basic edibles. Now, cannabis comes in the form of pop, pixie stixs, lotions, roll-on oils, bath bombs, and so much more. 

It can be consumed in more ways that you could imagine. All of this means that you can’t just open a dispensary and expect to be successful. Savvy marketers know that they need a killer brand strategy to stand out and beat the competition. 

Continue reading and find out how we are doing exactly that for a local cannabis retailer in Michigan. 

 

Arcanna 

 

Arcanna is an emerging cannabis brand in Ionia Michigan. Combining extensive experience in marijuana cultivation and hydroponics, Dean St. Peter, Nicholas Nover, and David Bye formed Arcanna to be the leading cultivator, processor, and dispensary of fine cannabis products in the State of Michigan. 

With unsurpassed experience sourcing the best cannabis genetics, tending plants to produce the highest quality flower, and maintaining absolute purity of the consumer’s experience, Arcanna brings the craftsmanship and expertise cannabis connoisseurs crave.

The problem: 

Because of the “green rush”, Arcanna was struggling to differentiate themselves and stand out from other cannabis brands in the market. They had an okay logo and a few design assets, but overall they lacked a cohesive brand—one with personality, unity and professionalism, one that could accommodate multiple product lines and sub-brands. 

That also didn’t really have a well defined marketing strategy to expand their brand to new customers and generate in-store traffic.

Arcanna is a dispensary, but it is also a grower and a processor. It crafts its own flower, and the individual product brands need a reason to exist and an identity that benefits from the affiliation with ArCanna, while also needing to be distinct enough that the products feel like a different company when sitting on the store shelf.

The key strategic question, then, is how does the ArCanna brand relate to the product brands? What brand hierarchy strategy will ArCanna employ? And how will it develop product brands within that strategy? 

On top of figuring out our strategy for Arcanna, we had one more obstacle we had to face. In fact, it’s a major problem the entire industry faces—cannabis marketing is banned on major social media networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. 

One single cannabis-related social media ad could get a business’s entire profile removed without warning or the ability to get it back. Perhaps unsurprisingly, social media giant Facebook has consistently deactivated pages of marijuana companies, many times without a proper explanation.

Faced with these handful of challenges, our marketing team went to work to discover and strategize a brand identity and marketing plan that would work best for Arcanna’s goals, and their budget.

 

The Results

 

While ArCanna is poised for rapid growth, as a start up its brand and other communication assets were relatively undeveloped and needed careful definition in order to support its ultimate goal: fast growth followed by acquisition by a larger, better capitalized national producer. Arcanna will need to build both a strong parent brand as well as create distinctive and charismatic product brands that each have a strong following of their own.

ArCanna’s marketing mix is complicated by the several distinct audiences it needs to serve. It needs to build a following among cannabis consumers, propensity to recommend with bud tenders, and distribution relationships with dispensaries.


After putting Arcanna through our proven process, it came out with:

  • A brand archetype that is able to drive creative decisions like logo design, messaging, and more. 
  • A brand strategy in place for introducing new sub-brands (product lines) under a parent brand.
  • An assessment of any existing branding and marketing assets. We documented what existed and what needed to be replaced.
  • A clearly defined marketing strategy. Our experts made recommendations on when and where Arcanna could get the most bang for their buck when it came to advertising and marketing channels.

When it comes to advertising for Arcanna, the restrictions on cannabis advertising proposed some challenges for us to get the brand in front of customers. So we decided to take it back to the basics with traditional advertising, and we created billboards. 

That’s right. Billboards. 

 

 

Unique, bright, bold, and highly engaging billboards were placed strategically throughout central Michigan.

On the digital advertising side, Weedmaps campaigns were launched, directing users to an Arcanna profile with their physical address and contact info.

 

arcanna weedmaps

 

The results?

One month after the new brand had been launched and marketing channels were active, Arcanna reported a 30+% in store traffic, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

 

Conclusion

 

Branding and advertising challenges are unfortunately not the only battles new cannabis companies face. Other challenges such as a lack of access to traditional sources of capital like debt and equity add to the challenge as well.

That’s why it’s so important for cannabis brands to build a strong, unique brand, and have an effective strategy in place that makes the most out of your marketing and advertising dollars.

Because we did our homework and created a strong brand with a marketing strategy that makes sense, the increase in store traffic is allowing Arcanna to grow and scale their operation, which is a costly endeavor!

Are you planning on launching a new cannabis brand of your own? Reach out to the experts here at Deksia! We’d love to connect with you and talk about opportunities for your business.