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The cannabis industry is exciting. Cannabis consumers are creative and constantly developing new businesses. Yet, a problem exists for most new entrepreneurs: “How does one with zero business experience get started?” The list below outlines five things you need to know when launching a new cannabis brand. This information should also prove useful to anyone who has a little business experience but wants to learn more about branding.

1. Define your cannabis brand

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If you talk about yourself as a dispensary, an edible product or a grower, you need to realize that there are thousands of others doing the same thing as you. And this means you need to know what makes you different.

For example, a company focused on making a micro-dose edible product for athletes will stand out to a specific group of people within the general cannabis edibles crowd.

2. Give your definition a name

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If your business makes high-end edibles for the downtown hipster to take out on the town on Friday night, it would be wise to target him with a brand name that suits his energy and lifestyle. “Whiskey and Cosmo Recreational Edibles” is a far better cannabis brand name than “BombzAway.”

You are going to need a lot of options, so don’t stop at one. Whiteboard or post-it notes sessions with your friends and some creative consumables are in order.

3. Back up

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Once you’ve come up with a name that works, check the trademarks and URL. Here is where you will need some patience and creativity.

Most of the names you like will already have a trademark or a web domain. You need both. Head back to the naming board. By now, you should begin to see the fun side of doing this – you get to have another creative brainstorm party!

4. Got a name? Now it needs a face

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It’s logo time. Make sure you start with a black and white design because it’s important that your final design looks great when stripped of color.

There are exceptions to this rule, but if you or whoever makes your logo isn’t a professional graphic designer, you are going to make a big mistake.

Again, stay black and white. All of the best logos are black and white first.

Next, you need typography, which is the personality of your words. Choose a typeface that has numerous font variations, like ‘light’ and ‘bold’.

More fonts means more options. Rather than going into it blind, it’s helpful to research what the professionals are using and what brands that share your vibe are using.

Now you need a color palette. Refer back to your definition for guidance and remember who you are trying to talk to so that you can show them what they already like.

5. Build a style guide

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A style guide is a pdf or booklet that features all of the above items and also gives guidelines for how the look of your brand is applied to touch points like packaging, advertising, website, merchandise and more. This is a difficult task, as there are a lot of details that can be easily missed.

Whatever you do, consider hiring professionals for all this work, as it will nearly always end up far better than if you do it yourself. Have fun and get busy creating!

About the Author

Jesse Barney is the Founder and Creative Director of Honeycomb Creative, a marketing firm specializing in brand identity systems and websites for cannabis clients. He creates function-first designs that help businesses effectively communicate their stories and reach their goals.

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