Once your business has been around for a while, it can be tempting to redesign the brand.
For many startups- and even some established companies- a rebranding can be the perfect solution for growing pains. But sometimes, a redesigning will do more harm than good.
Since your brand is deep-rooted in the way others feel about your cannabis business, it’s important to consider WHY you want to rebrand before jumping in. Here a guide to help you make the decision:
When to Rebrand Your Cannabis Business
You’ve Never Gone Through a Branding Process
It’s not technically a “rebrand” if you’ve never branded, but that’s obviously not the point.
The point is that many startups fail to realize they don’t have a full brand, because they have a logo.
Yet while a logo is a great start for new businesses with limited funds, it isn’t going to pull the same weight as a fully-fledged brand.
When it comes to attracting customers and building an emotional attachment that keeps them coming back, you need a carefully thought-out, well-designed brand identity. So if you’ve never gone through the process of solidifying your color scheme, fonts, voice, and competitive positioning, there’s no better time than now!
Your Brand Is Outdated
In all industries, businesses need to update their brand every-so-often in order to keep up with shifts in societal trends.
You can see this just by looking at the history of popular brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Ford. If these businesses kept using the same advertising approach since their inception, do you think they’d still be relevant today? Definitely not!
Although the marijuana industry is much newer than the auto or tech industries, it’s still no exception. Today, the cannabusiness definition of “outdated” lies in a heavy counter-culture vibe. It’s clear that the consumer market (especially recreational) is shifting toward polished, nondescript cannabis brands- so if you’re sticking to cheesy visuals and stoner references, it’s probably time for an update!
When to Consider Rebranding Your Cannabis Business
You’re Not Getting the Right Response
So, you’ve been on the market for some time… but you can’t seem to get the reaction you feel your business deserves.
Maybe your social media engagement is lacking, or maybe too few and/or the wrong types of people are becoming interested in your cannabis product.
If you’re actively promoting your product or service, and there’s no buzz growing around it, your brand is likely the issue.
But if you’re having success in some areas, and there are only a couple that underperform, it may not be the brand. It may be a problem with those specific strategies.
Rebrand or Not?
Take a moment to consider what the ideal reaction to your marijuana brand would be. Then, compare to what it currently is.
If your business is performing way off base, then it’s time to move the brand in a new direction.
If it’s close, but not quite there, start looking for new marketing strategies instead that can help push you the rest of the way.
Your Business Has Noticeably Changed
For a consumer, there’s nothing worse than building a rapport with a brand, becoming a loyal customer, and then suddenly have that business fail to meet expectations.
This usually happens if the business makes a big change that affects the customer experience, such as with a shift in ownership or product offering.
If someone buys a dispensary, for example, and they want to remodel the entire store, I would probably suggest rebranding.
If that person was also planning on moving up to higher-end cannabis products with a higher-end price tag, I’d insist on rebranding!
Rebrand or Not?
This one is tough, because it depends on a wide variety of factors. But the decision should really rely on your customer base, and the reasons that your brand has given them for staying loyal.
Is the thing you’re trying to change a big factor in why your customers choose you? Is it something that would motivate them to reconsider buying from you?
Even for something as simple as a return policy- if it plays a large role in why your brand succeeded, you’re better off starting fresh than trying to convince customers to change their habits.
(Most importantly, never think of it as “losing customers” if you do make the change. Because if it’s the right change, you’ll be bringing MANY more in!)
You’re Expanding into a New Market
Whether it’s entering a new state or offering a new product, a shift in your target market can mean a lot for your brand.
Sometimes, that shift simply means attracting a whole new group of people.
But other times, a brand will need to adjust itself to match the difference in demographic.
A successful company from Washington may not perform as well when it enters the market in Colorado. Despite their similarities, both states have very different cultures, and the brand may not speak to both of them.
Even for marijuana growers looking to expand into concentrates: depending on your audience, it may be better to rebrand- or create a second brand altogether- than to force a big change under the current one.
Rebrand or Not?
Again, this decision should be based on the reasons your brand has been successful.
If customers love your brand specifically because of your product, it’s usually best to keep only that product associated with that brand.
If your customers love your brand because of its marketing and emotional appeal, then you’ll need to consider if the new market will respond the same way as your current market.
If not, you may want to consider a rebrand, or even a separate brand, for the new market.
Your Direct Competition Is Doing Better
Is everyone else around you growing at a much faster rate? Are you spending more advertising dollars than you’re getting back?
You will either need to rebrand, or you’ll need to restructure your marketing approach.
Rebrand or Not?
If you look around and your competitors are all doing something VERY different than you, then rebranding is a good idea.
Yes, you want to be unique. But if there’s something that all your competitors are doing that you’ve resisted, then that’s probably the reason they’re doing better. Some things just work, and so they’re done repeatedly.
Now, if you’re doing things similar to your competitors and STILL not gaining on them, then it’s time to really compare the performance of your brand vs your marketing strategy.
If you’ve created a professional brand, and none of the other situations I’ve mentioned apply to you, then you should focus your attention on marketing.
But if you’re also experiencing any of the situations listed above, then rebranding is probably the best strategy for you.
When NOT to Rebrand Your Cannabis Business
You’ve Rebranded Recently
If your business has gone through a rebranding in the last couple of years, I wouldn’t suggest going through another.
Changing your brand too often can create a lot of confusion in the market. And it usually irritates your customers.
Unfortunately, it is possible that you hired the wrong design team for your last rebranding, and it totally missed the mark.
Even then, I don’t recommend doing another rebranding. Instead, you have two options:
- Slowly shift your brand over time to move in the right direction.
- Revert back to your old brand (but only if you can prove that the new brand is underperforming on your old one!)
If you do have to go back to your original brand, you wouldn’t be the only one. In 2009, popular juice company Tropicana attempted a rebranding that cost tens of millions in lost sales. They pulled the new brand two months later.
Your Brand Isn’t Actually the Problem
As you’ve read through this post, you’ve likely formed some of your own opinions about rebranding your cannabis business.
If you’ve continued to question whether rebranding is really the best option, then maybe it isn’t!
Instead of rebranding, you also have the option to start a new marketing campaign, update your packaging, redesign your website, and much more. Because no matter what pain-points your business might be experiencing, there is always a good solution.
The bottom line is- if your brand isn’t actually causing the issues, don’t change it!
Just like everything in life, my advice in this article has its exceptions. Nothing in marketing is black-and-white, and some of the greatest strategies were born out of breaking the rules!
If you’re having trouble deciding if redesigning your brand is the right solution for your business, our team here at KindTyme would love to help. We’re happy to provide an honest analysis of your current brand, and can help you find the right strategy even if your brand isn’t the problem!