By Jordan Bentle
The cannabis industry is a turbulent but burgeoning industry not only in the US, but globally as well. This is a natural occurrence in an industry that is in its neophyte stage and needing to quickly mature. Countries around the globe are looking at the outdated drug laws on the books related to cannabis, and deciding to come to the table in a measured and fact-driven way instead of through fear and propaganda.
With countries like Uruguay who will begin selling cannabis in pharmacies in July, Australia legalizing medical marijuana last year, and Israel decriminalizing recreational use of cannabis and leading the way in medical marijuana research and study, it’s clear that attitudes are changing and people no longer want to shove their heads in the sand on a plant that clearly has medical applications.
The wildly unsuccessful US “War on Drugs” helped steer global drug policy for decades. That being said, the future is positive for cannabis regardless of what the current administration does in relation to legalized cannabis markets in the U.S. In a welcome surprising move Friday, The administration proposed to massively cut funding to the drug czar’s office. An amendment has also been added to the Federal budget proposal by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that would give Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department no money for enforcing Federal laws on medical marijuana states, at least through September.
Regardless of how the fight plays out over the next four years in the US, cannabis is going to be mainstream, legal, and global. Period. It’s just a matter of time. Companies that choose to look at the bigger picture and take a larger growth mindset will make the strategic branding and marketing choices needed to become the global players in the cannabis industry. You see it with clear companies that stand out and are differentiating themselves in the in concentrates, edibles, pre-rolls, and of flower.
While there are clear global implications at play for the cannabis industry, thinking about what it would mean for your brand being global is worth entertaining. Global companies go through very strategic planning and develop brand mapping guidelines. These determine the how and why they run advertising and marketing campaigns. This strategy helps determine how successful they will be and how difficult they will have to fight for growth.
Whenever we help brands create a strategy that will help them on a global stage, we go through extensive brand mapping and strategic planning. We put together some of the top keys to a high-level branding strategy that will prepare your cannabis company for global growth:
Step 1: Get 20/20 Vision. Step 2: Profit
This doesn’t mean getting lasik or wearing glasses (although my more frequent squinting says otherwise), it means how developed is your vision of your company? How big are you thinking? What do you want to be the best at? If you are able to easily attain your vision, or you’ve already reached it, then it wasn’t big enough.
What’s The Point?
The mission of a company is it’s entire purpose, it’s entire reason for existing. All companies have value offers that will make their buyers’ lives better in some way. If you don’t have a good grasp on the why you do what you do and how it improves the lives of your customers, then it makes it harder for your company to tell its story, attract talent, and build a fulfilling, but ultimately successful business.
Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why, outlines in this Tedx talk on why companies like Apple are innovative year after year. He discovered that all of the amazing and inspiring figures and organizations throughout the world have one thing in common: they all act from the inside out. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you don’t know why you do what you do, or why people should buy from you, then how can you expect to be loyal or engage with your brand?
Make Your Voice Heard
How do you want your company to be perceived? The language that is broadcast on social media, email campaigns, collateral, and advertising all need to fit the values and tone of your company. Putting out messaging that doesn’t appeal to your audience, or doesn’t fit your company will come across right away, which doesn’t instill trust. People ultimately do business and buy things from people they trust. Find your voice, and make it heard.
As the cannabis industry continues to mature and grow, the industry as a whole needs to embrace the mindset of making a global footprint if they really want to thrive. Companies that thrive on a global stage don’t make their branding strategy an afterthought, but an integral part of every single marketing strategy they implement.
Jordan Bentle is a Growth Hacker for The Cannabis Creative, a brand strategy consulting firm that helps cannabis companies (primarily medical and tech) develop global growth paths through strategic brand mapping and planning in order to drive effortless growth. Follow The Cannabis Creative on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and connect with Jordan on LinkedIn
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