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Monday September 16, 2019

By Matthew Mongelia

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Quick, think of any way of turning THC into an initialization (that’s the thing that isn’t an acronym but does the same thing). Any combination, we guarantee there’s a dispensary with that name. There are probably a few. Dispensaries have been opened with every formulation possible referring to themselves as “THC”: The Healing Center, The Herbal Cure, The Health Center, The Healing Collective, The Herbal Connection, Therapeutic Health Center, Therapeutic Healthcare Collective, Therapeutic Hemp Center, Tetra Hydro Center, Trinidad’s Higher Calling, Tenderfoot Health Collective, and many, many more. We have a saying around the PotGuide offices that there’s a new cannabis company formed every minute, and that’s unlikely to change for a long time. Some will thrive and go on to become lasting, successful presences in the market, and others will become forgotten as “a dispensary we used to go to.”

It’s becoming apparent that in order to thrive in the market, cannabis companies must create a unique way of branding and marketing themselves.

However, in the fast and demanding pace of the marijuana industry, growers and retailers rarely have the time to keep up with these important elements. Don’t worry though, we’ve compiled some tips to help your business stay on top and stand out.  

1. Utilize the Expertise of a Consulting Firm

In such a popular and growing market, dispensaries and cannabis business owners can have difficulty in distinguishing themselves from the competition. Thus, creating a branding strategy is key to a lasting cannabis business model. Now more than ever, professional consultants are getting into the cannabis market, and it’s a good idea to think about utilizing the services of one. 

While non-cannabis specific branding services are starting to dip their toes into the space, their familiarity with the realities of the market can often be disappointing. Utilizing a cannabis-focused company with experience in the market like Higher Yields Cannabis Business Consultants can help sidestep those risks.

Higher Yields Cannabis Business Consultants
Utilizing professional consultants like Higher Yields can help guide your brand to success. photo credit

Higher Yields’ team of expert business consultants have a variety of marketing and branding services to help guide your business toward success. From SEO to web design all the way down to packaging and wholesale options, Higher Yields is truly a one stop shop for all your cannabis consulting needs – especially in the marketing and branding realm.

Additionally, it is also key to understand the importance of not only good branding, but to have a strategy for implementing that branding on the market. Finding a consulting company that both listens to you and knows the needs of the cannabis market will help bring out what makes your brand unique. When going at it alone, many dispensaries and canna-businesses lack intersectional understandings of the market at large, and wind up spending time, energy and resources on ineffective strategies through trial and error. Because of this, it’s usually best to go with someone in the know.

2. Maintain Your Online Presence

Word of mouth and print advertising only go so far in the modern tech world. Expanding your reach with a highly trafficked and professionally managed online directory (like PotGuide) not only helps you engage with customers and spread your marketing, but also helps to foster a positive image of your brand as credible and accessible.

Cannabis markets aren’t just local markets, but attract visitors from near and far. Use your online presence as a bridge to connect consumers to your business from all parts of the world.

Two of the most sought-after elements of an online presence are deals and accurate menus.

Customers want to see how they can save, and what they can save on. Look for a directory that offers automated or easy to use menu integration and make sure someone is keeping on top of it (whether at your business or as a paid concierge service). Dispensary staffing can rotate pretty often, so consider paying for service to keep them consistent.  We of course recommend ourselves, but regardless, when shopping around for listing services, be sure to avoid any that have dubious reputations for listing unlicensed retailers, or questionable web practices. It can damage the reputation of a business and negatively affect the branding long-term. Do your research, talk to a representative, and find something that meets your needs and budget.

3. Have Good Inventory Practices

It’s difficult to keep your menus up-to-date if you don’t know what’s on your shelves. Part of building good branding and market presence is to maintain customer confidence, and few things turn a customer off more than showing up to a retailer only to find out they don’t have what they’re looking for. If you’re finding that there are gaps in inventory, look for ways to improve inventory procedures, with a focus on accuracy.

Additionally, while every dispensary has its staples, it’s important to keep some things fresh, and to analyze what isn’t connecting with customers. Fine-tuning the details of inventory practices may not directly seem to impact the larger branding of a company, but rest assured, those of us that have worked in the field know that good inventory practices are the backbone of cannabis retailers. When you say people can rely on your brand, this is a large part of what you mean, so be sure you are on top of inventory.

4. Keep Your Social Media Up to Date

Love it or hate it, social media plays a vital role in a cannabis company’s market impact. Building and maintaining a positive social media presence can be tricky in the current landscape, as social media platforms have convoluted, and often inconsistent practices in regards to regulating cannabis content. However, with a little persistence and monitoring, having a consistent social presence on the information superhighway is possible, and somewhat necessary to a successful cannabis brand. It’s a good practice to assign someone to keep an eye on a cannabis company’s social media presence, and to have a robust content strategy. This can be done in-house, or again, left in the much more experienced hands of a professional service.

Social Media
Whether done in-house or with a professional service, maintaining a social media presence is necessary for a successful cannabis brand. photo credit

A comprehensive cannabis branding and marketing firm like Higher Yields Cannabis Consultants should be capable of wearing many hats for their clients, and that extends to social media. Social media is where a large section of the market makes their purchasing decisions, thus, it is important to have a social presence that is an extension of the larger marketing message. If social media has been a hassle to your cannabis business in the past, consider re-examining your social strategy, and contacting a professional to manage it. A little money spent in the right places can make all the difference for profits. 

5. Publish Fresh, Original Content

Most of the big edible companies like Incredibles, Dixie and Blue Kudu have at some point undergone significant rebranding. Not for lack of progress or presence within the cannabis market, but to keep up with modern trends and stay at the forefront of exposure. A new look, an expanded product line, or just a new way of talking about your company can keep customers engaged (and more importantly making repeat purchases). Always be thinking of what keeps your brand special, and look for ways to keep that special something from fading in the mind of the consumer. And of course, as with anything in cannabis, if you don’t know, it’s usually worth paying someone a little bit to help out, rather than sinking money into what you keep telling your accountant is “R&D.”

Overall, creating a distinctive brand that communicates its value to consumers requires some extra attention and effort. Cannabis companies that want to have lasting success in the market should keep ahead of the battle for customer attention, and consider in investing in services that can maximize brand recognition as part of their core business model.  

What unique ways have you seen cannabis brands brand and market themselves? Share them in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Austin Distel (license)


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matthew Mongelia is the Content Manager for He holds an MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA in Creative Writing from CUNY Brooklyn College. He has worked in the industry in numerous roles for over 5 years while covering cannabis content from coast to coast. Like so many in the industry, he first became acquainted with cannabis as a medical patient, and has been a passionate advocate for the plant ever since. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.

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