Effective marketing and advertising are imperative to the success and growth of any business, especially new businesses. But with the current status of cannabis still in flux, many marijuana startups are finding it difficult to navigate the tangle of advertising restrictions that state legislators have placed on new business owners. \
It’s even harder to build national awareness across the varying limitations of state and federal laws. What can you do for your marijuana business to reach and build the audience of cannabis consumers your brand is hoping to attract?
Although our industry is severely limited in the type of marketing and advertising it can utilize, there are still various tactics cannabis businesses can implement to legally increase awareness of their brand.
Mind these three top do’s and don’ts when crafting a marketing strategy for your cannabis business.
Don’t: market your cannabis business to or near minors
Be smart about the branding you use and the locations you choose to advertise at, keeping age restrictions in mind. Our industry is growing quickly, but its still in its early stages, which means a lot of people are raising questions and concerns about cannabis legalization’s impact on minors. Marijuana businesses should do their part in assuaging those fears and make appropriate marketing a top priority.
Cartoon mascots à la Joe Camel and other messaging that appeals to minors are not only going to hurt your business’s image, it’s also harming the overall perception of the cannabis industry.
Don’t: infringe on any existing brands’ copyrights, regardless of the industry
Established mainstream companies probably aren’t going to be keen on having their brands and trademarks mimicked by a cannabis company. Look back no further to last spring, when Hershey’s sued a dispensary for trademark infringement after the dispensary began carrying edibles called “Reefer’s Cups” and “Mr. Dankbar.”
These big brands have the money to go after a small, newly established cannabis company, and they will if they want to disassociate themselves from marijuana.
Do: think about what you want your cannabis brand to stand for
Consider how your company can help squash the stigmas that years of prohibition and propaganda have placed on our industry. Maintaining fair labor practices and avoiding sexist and derogatory messaging will go along way in building a successful cannabis brand, as your efforts will attract a broader audience and diverse demographics who feel more comfortable supporting your brand over a business that perpetuates stereotypes and does little to improve the negative or wary perception of the marijuana industry.
Just because cannabis businesses are limited in their ability to advertise through the standard, mainstream channels doesn’t mean you should give up!