Learn to Standout
Establishing a brand to market and separating yourself from the loud noise in the industry can be difficult. The following panel discussed ways to be unique and successfully sell your product in the CBD industry. Keiko Beatie with Coral Cove Wellness moderated. With panelists Eric White, John Roelke with Extract Consultants, Scott Calliham Co-Founder and President of Collective Hemp Brands and Colby Watkins COO at WherezHemp.
Starting a Brand
To stay competitive and innovative in the continually changing CBD industry it is essential to have a brand that is established and easily recognizable in the market place to ensure longevity in your product and business. Developing a brand can be a challenge but following these recommendations you can create a long lasting brand.
When creating a brand it is important to define your target audience. Be specific on where your customers niche is and continually speak to people in that sector. Relate to them and earn their trust, once you have mastered your base niche you can open your brand up to other audience sectors to continue building your brand awareness. Having a story to convey your message will always have more impact than a simple logo or slogan. Selling the story to your niche creates an emotional connection and relatable aspect that is essential for long term customers.
Make sure to always stay authentic and accessible to your consumer niche! Especially when starting out a brand. Being present and able to make those customer connections is the defining success of brands. Even those contributing to the establishment of your brand, specifically vendors and those creating your product, need to understand what you are representing and aid in your brand creation, even in the lab!
For example bringing a base product into the lab with a strong set of standards can bring that brand to life. Things like terpenes or tinctures can take CBD itself and turn it into four different stress relief options. With the idea of selling a health and wellness program not just simply a product. Establishing your brand as a part of a vitamin regiment that is take daily will create returning customers that are loyal to your brand. This then can help when you are ready to expand into new markets and customer niches by protecting what you already have with accepted flavors and products. To then have trusted customers willing to try your new products.
A strong core belief you can always reference is important to continually focus on your goals moving forward. Connect and understand what is important to the customer. Going the extra step with white labeling and certifications to differentiate yourself in the market. Having a base line to always reference when entering the market holds your brand to important standards that can be beneficial, especially in a federally legal substance market.
Your Brand is…
A living breathing thing that you must continually nurture and grow. The brand will take its course to success if you build a base the brand will continually have success. While always staying vigilant on what your brand is representing. Always understand the pain points in your segment and how the story your brand is telling alleviates those pain points. (Literally or figurately)
Brands that are willing to accept and pivot their goals while maintaining their standards are the legacy brands that have been in the industry for years. Top CBD companies have rebranded multiple times throughout the years! Remember CBD is just an ingredient. Having the right brand is what creates the longevity of a company. A continuous narrow demographic you succeed in creates a mechanism to bring others into the brand and keep them in your ecosystem. Even if they are not buying they are aware of what your brand is doing. Understand and keep the story of what you are alive will continually stay on the mind of your target niche and those entering.
A distinct base line level of quality set standards you accept and sell your product brand at is one of the easiest ways to create trust with your customer base. Having certifications, whether cGMP, USP or FDA level credentials, institute a value proposition of high quality at a reasonable price. Assisting in what the customers needs and building long term trust for repeat buyers that see your brand as a lifestyle not just a product.
Brand + Marketing
Developing your marketing is how you continually build and create your long term brand. Always remember that the “riches are in the niches” and making sure you are continually defining what consumer segment you are in and which ones you want to enter into. Use focus groups to meet your consumer where they are and getting a temp check on where your brand is falling through your marketing campaigns.
The amount you invest in marketing and outreach at the establishment of your brand can have incredibly positive outcomes further down the pipeline. Always being prepared to fail fast but know that the perseverance of figuring out what works within your niche will change the game of your brand years from now.
Long Term Marketing
Once you have a product and established brand, defining how you are going to market the brand to the public is essential. Having a cause and effect message with specific brand colors, flavors and lifestyle ads can convey a product that will have an impact on the public and stand out to consumers. Branding for colors and flavor association is nothing new and if established well at a base level it can create global recognition that ensures you’ll be in the marketplace for a long time.
Think Apple products, Kleenex or even toothpaste brands. Toothpaste can be made in different flavors i.e. children’s bubblegum flavors. But it has been so established that mint is associated with the feeling of being clean that for another toothpaste brand to enter the market as peanut butter flavored would be doomed to fail.
Make sure you are also aware of geographically where your customers are. Some states don’t have a baseline knowledge of cannabinoids. Therefore, having little understanding of what they can achieve for the body. Educating your consumer niche on what to expect from a product can also make sure that the consumer looks to your brand for education on the whole market of CBD products. Building long term value by meeting the customer wherever their education level is and knowing knowledge on CBD is another important aspect of your brand.
Customer Feedback and Testimonials
If you aren’t sharing your customer feedback and testimonials you’re missing out on a fundamental aid in the marketing of your brand. In this day and age many filter out the enormous onslaught of ads they see in a day. Instead going to recommendations of their friends or reviews on a product. Having testimonials easily accessible on your website can be incredibly beneficial when entering a new market niche. Referencing previous wins can increase brand loyalty for the long term.
Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. Always be welcoming of criticism in how you can improve your brand. Customers appreciate when you respond to negative reviews and don’t shy away from a bad comment. Simply take it in stride and take what is useful for improving the brand moving forward. They also provide a window into what your brands strengths and weaknesses are for your brand from the customers perspective.
Reviews can be a double edged sword at times so be wary! Especially if posting reviews on your website make sure they don’t connect your brand to medical or dangerous claims. Both could put you in hot water with the FDA or FTC. To read more about claims and descriptions of what you should or shouldn’t say check out our panel here.
Create the story of your brand. It is the lifeblood that will continually propel your brand moving forward.
Put the fundamentals in place now. Have a level of standards that you will never change will establish customers trust moving forward.
Don’t let anyone else tell you what your brand should be. Do the work to establish what you are selling and stick to it.
Remember that your brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What else does your customer have in their shopping cart and how are those brands selling to your customer?
Protect your brand. Keep the vision of what you represent in front of you. Don’t be swayed by cheap discount prices or shortcuts in the supply chain. Don’t let the difficulty of something take away from the quality of a product.
Follow the toughest regulations in the country as a frame of reference. For both short and long term guidelines so you know you are continually branding a compliant product.
Own your backyard and where you’re selling.
Don’t be afraid to go to industry events and ask questions.
Teagan is the Communications and Engagement Manager for 710Spirits® and Rocky Mountain Reagents. While continually learning about the cannabis industry and all the possibilities it has to offer she creates content for The Canna Consortium both for blog posts and social media. Make sure to check out @thecannaconsortium for all industry updates and news.