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Is Your Cannabis Brand Ready For New York’s Rollout?

The New York cannabis marketplace is expected to open for business later this year. And it looks on track given Governor Hochul’s provision for hemp farmers to begin growing marijuana this season to ensure there is supply for the demand in the fall. And she set aside the first 100 licenses for those convicted of marijuana felons to kick off the licensing process.

In a new and coveted cannabis marketplace the size of New York, you have to stay ahead of the crowd to be competitive in the licensing application process. You need to establish a professional brand and website landing page to demonstrate that you are a “real player” in the market and serious about your license application.

The time is NOW for brands to begin implementing website development and marketing strategies if they wish to compete for a New York cannabis license. Many people miscalculate the timeframe to accomplish this and find themselves rushing through the process.

In-depth thought should go into your brand strategy to clearly and compellingly communicate a differentiated, relevant, and lasting impression. It’s not as simple as hiring someone on Craigslist. You need to enlist the services of an experienced and cannabis-centric web design and marketing agency that understands the industry’s nuances.

It Starts With Market Research

When developing a product or launching a retail location, you should start with market research to fully understand the target market you wish to attract. Are you looking to reach the canna-curious, canna moms, business professionals, gamers, stoners, fitness community, elderly, urban dwellers, rural living, etc.? Different archetypes require different brand and marketing approaches.

Ask the following questions to help hone in on your ideal audience:

  1. Who is the target market? Their interests, wants, needs, pain points, age, gender, hobby, job, and salary?
  2. How big is the marketplace?
  3. Who is the competition? What are their sales and marketing strategies? Who are their customers?
  4. What is your brand’s positioning in the marketplace? Luxury? High THC? Customer Service? Fast service? Inexpensive? Mass market? Craft?

Use this knowledge to amplify your brand’s positioning in the marketplace.

Brand Style Guide: This process starts with defining your brand and creating an instruction manual on how to communicate it. A style guide should be a concise, easy-to-read document that contains the standards required to represent your brand correctly both internally and externally.

A brand style guide typically includes the following:

  1. Tone/Voice
  2. Typography: font, styles, sizes, and spacing
  3. Logos: full logos, secondary logos, icons
  4. Color palette: primary and secondary colors
  5. Other imagery photos, illustrations, and artwork
  6. Examples of use and unacceptable uses

A brand style guide will steer logo and packaging design needed before website development can begin.

Custom Website Development:

Like the importance of branding, your website landing page needs to speak to your mission and strategy for the NY market to keep your messaging uniform. A good website design involves both art and science, two complex skill sets to master and execute in harmony.

Website design has a proven structure on where to place images and a call to action to encourage visitor engagement and ultimately a conversion-boosting website. A professionally written, compelling, and concise website copy will inform, engage, and draw visitors to explore your site further.

Good information architecture will create a user-friendly and intuitive website that is easy to navigate and quickly leads customers to what they are looking for.

Technical aspects like website SEO, quick loading time, mobile-friendly, and UX testing require experienced developers to build an efficient and high-performing site.

Websites serve as essential communication points where you can connect with your marijuana customers and leverage your relationship with them to keep them engaged. The most comprehensive and detailed information is presented the best through your website. The complexity and layers of information you can present through your website is virtually unlimited compared to other options.

Marketing Strategy

A multi-channel strategy is required to give your business the ultimate exposure and push to reach consumers where they are and guide them on their cannabis journey from brand awareness to purchase.

Depending on the company goals, a typical marketing toolbox includes email marketing, SMS, programmatic advertising, blog posts, sponsored articles, public relations, affiliate marketing, review sites, billboards, direct mailers, radio, etc.

Building brand awareness begins before you are open for business. It takes at least five touchpoints with the consumer before processing a brand’s messaging.

Pre-business launch marketing tactics are just as important as the tactics used to promote a business once it’s up and running.

Since many of these tactics require time to execute, a marketing strategy should be implemented in tandem with website development, give or take a few weeks, to align with the business launch.

Personal Branding

Personal branding should be in every company’s marketing arsenal. A company’s mission serves as the foundation for a brand’s story. It tells who they are, what they stand for, goals, and values. CEOs and the leadership team are the company’s public-facing representatives, giving them a unique advantage to emotionally connect with consumers and impact how they perceive the brand.

What Will a Personal Brand Accomplish?

  1. It will help differentiate you from the competition.
  2. Build trust with your intended audience.
  3. It’s a vehicle to amplify your company’s mission, control messaging, and influence public perception.
  4. It will provide more exposure for the company.
  5. A personal brand will build a meaningful connection to your intended audience and build a loyal following.
  6. It will increase your visibility in the industry and open doors to new partnerships.
  7. Increase your reputation as a leader.

7  Steps To Build A Personal Brand

  1. Define your personal brand in a written statement that ties into your company brand. Be authentic. Fake is transparent.
  2. Know your audience to ensure your message and tone are spot-on.
  3. Research your competition to make sure to stand out.
  4. Use it to network and build relationships!
  5. Be consistent in messaging and frequency.
  6. Support your community. It’s the soul of your company.
  7. Build trust. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.

The conclusion? Don’t wait to build brand identity, web design, and a marketing strategy for the New York marketplace. And hire a seasoned cannabis-friendly web design and marketing agency to get your business off to a head start. The time is NOW if you plan to compete.

Pam Chmiel

Pam Chmiel is a contract Marketing Director currently working with Studio 420 and based in New York, NY. She works closely with delivery services, dispensaries, and canna-businesses to define and develop their identity, position, and online presence in the marketplace.
As The Mary Jane Society podcast host, she interviews leaders, innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs from all areas of the cannabis industry. Pam is highly focused on the cannabis industry and shares her insights in a bi-monthly newsletter sponsored by the Studio 420 Agency.
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