News and Best Practices

Follow Basic Procedures in Branding Your Product

November 29, 2016

The days of cannabis products packaged in poorly labeled clear plastic bags are long gone. Efficient, safe and standardized branded packaging is now available in every market. The same brand can sometimes be found in several states, which is achieved by setting up cannabis cultivation and processing facilities in each state. More professional cultivators, processors and store chains are embracing the art of branding their products.

Remember that states highly regulate standards for cannabis packaging and labeling, so that they’re designed not to appeal to minors and that they provide all required information in the appropriate manner. Understanding and following federal, state and local regulations will help ensure that your packaging and labeling are legal.

Branding for the world to see

A branded package design will help your product stand out, and help convey the quality craftsmanship your company offers. The brand is your company’s “face” to the public, so it should be recognizable but unique. The more often that customers see a branded product, the more familiar it is for them to buy and the more comfortable they feel choosing it repeatedly. Be sure to follow these basic procedures to create a more successful brand:

Step 1: Plan the brand: Making the leap into professional product branding takes commitment, planning and diligence. After you commit to your product’s brand and packaging designs, stick with them. Otherwise, making significant changes after releasing the product can confuse customers. So, take your time until you’re completely satisfied.

Step 2: Design the logo: Successful branding hinges on a great logo that people remember and identify with on a personal level. It should communicate both the product and the company it represents, and it shouldn’t resemble the logo of any existing product. The concept of a logo is to say as much as you can without feeling cluttered or confusing.

When designing your logo, make sure you’re conveying your product and your goals. If you’re using an outside designer, be clear about what you want and ask to see a few options. When producing the design yourself, develop several models for objectivity. Then use trusted colleagues, friends and family to examine and critique your designs. This can give you an idea about what others consider valuable. If you’re getting positive feedback on the idea most favored by you or the designer, that’s a good sign.

After you think the logo is finished, put it away for a few days. Then re-evaluate everything. Stepping away from it can help you discover anything you might have overlooked.

Step 3: Buy in bulk: A best practice is to produce your packages in bulk; the more you buy, the less you’ll spend per package. There are many packaging suppliers online, and your research will uncover various options. But until you know precisely what you want, don’t order thousands of containers, bags or boxes.

Once you find a company to print and produce your packages, ask for samples. For the cost of shipping, many reputable companies will send you samples to choose from. They may also print or include your logo as well as give you a complete overview.

Step 4: Make the decision: Choose the best packaging for your product. Some things to consider include:

  • How easy is it to insert the product into the package?
  • How will each package be displayed in a store (hung, stacked or leaned in a row)?
  • Does it comply with all regulations on cannabis (and other) product packaging and labeling?
  • Will the product be refrigerated?
  • Is the product crushable?
  • Is the product perishable?
  • Does the package with your logo stand out?
  • Do you like it?

When products leave the store and others see them, your logo and packaging become advertising—ideally, becoming interesting enough to create a conversation about your brand. In addition to including all required labeling and compliance information, place your website and social media links on the package to increase traffic and product visibility.

Achieving product recognition

A good marketing plan finds its roots in traditional cold calls, meetings and timely follow-ups. The best action for success hinges on your time in the field, meeting clients and connecting personally. Plan on spending time each week to visit the dispensary and rec stores you’d like to work with.

It’s always best to call first and set up an appointment with the person in charge of product purchasing. Ask about requirements that the store has, such as testing samples or setting a schedule for orders and deliveries. A favorite product needs a steady supply to ensure that it doesn’t fall out of customer favor. Providing an accessible, concise supply schedule will keep you on top of a purchasing agent’s list.

For your initial meeting, bring samples to show. “Sample day” is always a hit with everyone. Always ask for permission from the store manager when giving out samples to staff members, and make sure that no regulations prevent you from doing so.

Meet with the person in charge of purchasing. Describe your product, your company and your customer service. Review your wholesale sheet, test results and delivery schedule. Keep your time productive, friendly, and focused on the business at hand.

Showing up in person to sell your product connects you as an individual and your product as a brand. Budtenders, managers and store owners are more likely to recommend your product if they feel connected to your company. Over time, you won’t need to visit every week; ordering by phone or online can streamline access to your product. But visit the store periodically or send a representative to keep relationships active and productive. These visits also help you judge how your product is performing from one store to another.

After your brand takes hold in the community, keep it visible with advertising. Your brand’s worthiness will grow as familiarity sets in. Advertising on social media and wherever your state allows it is a great way to penetrate a market.

By Eric Stone
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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