New World Packaging

How to Build a Cannabis Brand with Story, Message and Design

The best cannabis brands have three critical things in common – they have compelling brand stories, messaging that sets them apart from other brands, and creative design elements that effectively communicate their brand personalities to target audiences. Does your cannabis brand do all of that?

The best cannabis brands have three critical things in common – they have compelling brand stories, messaging that sets them apart from other brands, and creative design elements that effectively communicate their brand personalities to target audiences. Does your cannabis brand do all of that?

Why Branding is Important

Branding helps consumers recognize your products. As your brand becomes known, it instantly communicates to consumers. A brand sets expectations. Consumers know what they’ll get from products with a known brand on the packaging. That’s why people choose Coca-Cola rather than a generic store brand – they know what they’ll get from the Coke product. 

Branding is also why people choose a Mercedes rather than a Kia if they want a luxury vehicle or why they choose Outback Steakhouse rather than Morton’s to get a decent steak at an affordable price. Customers know the experience they’ll get from each of these brands. They may want to be associated with certain brands or they may simply like the brand’s products.

Sometimes, a brand name usurps consumer reason. Do people really need a new iPhone? Nope, but having the latest phone with the Apple logo on it gives many people a sense of achievement and belonging in the “cool” Apple community. Consumer psychology plays a big role in branding and is baked into good storytelling, messaging, and design.

The Top Cannabis Brands Have Great Stories

Don’t underestimate the power of a great brand story – especially in the cannabis industry! The first place to tell your brand story is on your website about page. In addition, your story should be integrated into your brand identity. 

Cannabis brand stories are often based in one or more areas that resonate with target audiences. Some examples include:

  • Health and wellness
  • Organic and nature
  • Sustainability
  • Quality
  • Luxury
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Science and technology
  • Culture
  • And more

For example, Coda Signature is a well-known luxury cannabis confection brand. The brand story explains, “Coda Signature creates delightfully crafted cannabis experiences featuring luxury edibles and topicals that complement a well-lived life.” Rather than just saying it’s a luxury brand, the story identifies the main consumer characters – people who want a well-lived life. 

On the other hand, the brand story for New York’s Empire State Cannabis Clubs is quite different – “Dedicated to supplying the best cannabis products at prices you can afford.” Instantly, consumers know the company provides trustworthy products that are affordable and accessible. 

Of course, your brand story will be longer than one sentence. The important thing to understand is that a brand story can be encapsulated into a small number of words. That’s the goal because consumers remember succinct, truthful branding.

Cannabis Branding Requires Differentiated Messaging

Your brand story is the foundation, and it guides your messaging. The key is to create messages that differentiate your brand from others on the market. For instance, anyone can say they offer the best luxury products. Your brand needs to go a step further by creating messages that offer proof. The strength of your messaging comes from the details that support it.

Let’s use Coda Signature as an example again. This brand’s story is all about luxury and a well-lived life. The messaging supports that claim. For example, the brand story page explains, “Coda Signature represents decades of collective experience ranging from organic chemistry and classical French training to industrial design and entrepreneurship. Our team embodies many elements-knowledge, passion, courage, and whimsy- working in concert to achieve proper execution every time.” There’s the proof – decades of experience in organic chemistry and French culinary experience leads to high-end confections. 

The trick is to be consistent in your messaging and make sure everything you say, write, and do accurately reflects the brand story and how you want consumers to view your brand in the marketplace. 

Not many companies can claim to have the same story or proof as Coda Signature. The company has carved out a position in the marketplace that is differentiated from other brands. Yes, there are other luxury cannabis confection brands, but Coda Signature has established its position and consistently communicates its brand through all of its messaging. 

This should be the goal for your cannabis brand. Determine where you can carve out a position in the cannabis market and ensure your brand story and messaging consistently communicate why and how your brand is the “owner” of that position. In time, your brand value will grow.

The Best Cannabis Brands Use Unique Design

Design is essential to branding and includes all visual elements, such as your logo, website, packaging, signage, marketing materials, and more. What do you think of when you see the Mercedes logo? The Toyota logo? The Kia logo? The Jeep logo? These are all car brands that own specific positions in the automotive market, and they each elicit different feelings and reactions from consumers. The same is true in the cannabis industry. 

Let’s use the Empire State Cannabis Clubs brand as an example again. Below are images of two product packages the team at New World Packaging helped Empire State Cannabis Clubs create. Both packages feature the brand logo, bold color palette, and skyscraper design, including the Empire State Building. 

cannabis brand packages

When consumers look at these packages, there is no doubt what brand they’re from. Anyone who is familiar with the Empire Cannabis Clubs brand will instantly know the type of product they’ll get if they make a purchase – quality, affordability, and accessibility. The design matches the Empire Cannabis Clubs brand identity in its dispensaries, on its website, in the company’s social media profiles, and so on.

To distinguish different types of products, secondary and tertiary colors in the brand color palette can change, but the logo, skyscraper visuals, and other brand elements are consistent. Again, there is no doubt that the package below comes from Empire Cannabis Clubs.

cannabis brand packaging

Design is crucial to branding. If the three packages shown above used completely different images, it would not be obvious that the products come from the same company. As a result, consumers would be confused, and it would be much more difficult to build brand awareness and recognition.

Instead, create your brand identity elements, including your logo, brand color palette, iconography, visual elements, typography, and so on. These elements should reflect your brand story and personality. They should appeal to your target audience(s), and they should be used consistently – everywhere your brand appears. 

Key Takeaways about How to Build a Cannabis Brand

Cannabis branding is so important – not only to secure market share today by owning a position in consumers’ minds but also to prepare your brand for future growth when interstate commerce is finally allowed. The brands consumers know, trust, and prefer are the ones that will win in the future.

Ready to build your cannabis brand with amazing packaging? The team at New World Packaging can help you create the perfect design to communicate your brand story and messages. Contact us and let’s start creating your brand!

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