Brief summary of the Purple Noodle Marketing Podcast – Episode 5: What is Cannabis Brand Strategy?: A Cannabis brand strategy is a foundation upon which all other aspects of your company’s online presence are built. It determines how you communicate, what content you produce, how it is distributed and measured, and who will work with each aspect of your business. The most important thing you can do if you start your marketing strategy is to pick your goals first

Once you know what you’re looking to accomplish, developing an effective strategy to bring you closer to your goals becomes much easier.

Main topic #1 – A successful brand strategy builds trust by communicating three key things: 

Main topic #2 – Five essential elements must be considered when building your brand strategy: 

Main topic #3 – Important in effective cannabis dispensary brand building: 

[Episode 5 – What is Cannabis Brand Strategy? – Episode transcript]

Steve: [00:00:00] You should have him on the show, Berner is to me, he’s a controversial figure. Some people hate Berner, but the majority of people love Berner. I’m a love Berner kind of guy. I love, I think Berner is the man. He revolutionized the Cannabis industry in a way. He revolutionized the Cannabis industry in a way. He revolutionized the Cannabis industry in a way.

Ed Higgins: Episode five. What is Cannabis brand strategy? Welcome to the Purple Noodle podcast, helping Cannabis businesses grow organically. A brand strategy is a foundation upon which all other aspects of your company’s online presence are built. It determines how you communicate, what content you produce, how it is distributed, and measured, and who will do the work associated with each aspect of your business. The most important thing you can do if you start your marketing strategy is to pick your goals first. How you doing, Steve?

Steve: Awesome.

Ed Higgins: Awesome. I’m doing awesome too.

Steve: Awesomes [00:01:00] Good..

Ed Higgins: Awesomes good sales, right? So obviously you’re, when you’re creating a dispensary or an e-commerce business, first you want sales, but in order to get those sales, you have to have other ways to get those sales, whether it be email subscriptions, lead generation, foot traffic.

Can you think of any other methods that you would utilize in your Cannabis brand strategy, your sales strategy in order to get, to make that money, make that cheddar..

Steve: Signage. If you have signage outside, that also helps. If you’re in a place where you’re completely legal by the book, you should definitely make sure that you can maximize your signage out front.

Ed Higgins: Signage , yep. Because your signage has to be on point. It has to be attractive. The people have to understand what they’re getting.

You have to understand pain points, right? You have to understand if you’re going to serve somebody in a in a sales free market fashion, capitalism, you have to understand their pain points. You have to have potential [00:02:00] solutions for those pain points. And then you have to solve the problems differently than others in the market, otherwise they can just get the same thing down the street. They wanna buy from you because you’ve presented your product, yourself in a certain manner. And we’ve talked about the bud tenders before, which bud tenders are part of the Cannabis culture. They’re kinda like baristas.

They serve you, they are hopefully educated in the medicine that they’re giving you, and they are pleasant to deal with. Anything else you can think of?

Purple Noodle Marketing Podcast – Episode 5: What is Cannabis Brand Strategy?

Steve: Yeah they’re basically your brand representatives. Someone walks into your shop and that’s the first point. The first point of contact will often be the, Whoever, if you have security will be there.

Somebody’s checking the in and then it’s gotta be your bartenders. Like they’re the ones that they build a relationship with, and when they think of your shop, a lot of what they think about it’s gonna be based on their interaction with that budtender. So there’s two different kinds of bartenders that you can have.

You can have one [00:03:00] who’s highly knowledge. Everything about the strain, and especially for medical needs, like how it affects your ailment, and then there’s those that are, are the face of your company. They make the customers or your guests feel good about themselves, your patients feel good about themselves.

Ed Higgins: I’ve seen a lot of dispensaries, start out with the educational bud tender and then move towards the pretty face. The person maybe doesn’t understand the product, doesn’t understand the medicine, but is attractive.

Steve: That’s the way everything is in America.

 Did you ever see the A team, those, the one guy they used to call face. Yes. Yeah. He was the face, he was the face of the operation. And you know that lot of times that’s what people identify with.

They come in and they want some, they want some Cannabis, One guy comes in and he’s coming in just looking for recreational. Even though you might be a medical dispensary, he’s just, looking for something and they’ll go, he’ll say, I’ve, I’m having trouble sleeping.

They’ll go, oh my God, I tried this. You [00:04:00] should try this. It make me fall wide asleep. And then he’s okay, if it worked for you, it’ll work for me. Okay. Okay. And so they happily take whatever is recommended to them, and it’s like that and everything. Even with like bartenders. You have bartenders who know how to pour a good drink, they know what it is.

And then they have bartenders who just have certain drinks they like, and they go, Hey, let me make this for you bar. Cause a guy comes in and goes, I don’t know what I want. What do you recommend? I recommend this because for that bartender, that’s what’s easy to make for them. They can make 20 of those a day.

Bam. Just popping right out. And, That guy drinks that drink, and guess what? He’s gonna get drunk. He’s gonna be happy. The guy comes in and he orders, wants a certain type of butt, makes him fall asleep. If he smokes enough, he’s gonna probably fall asleep.

And so he is yeah, I completely passed out. It worked. And they’ll go, or you might wanna try this edible. It’s so many milligrams. It’s a gummy bear. I don’t eat, I don’t really eat candy that much. We have it in this kind too. It’s not really, there’s no sugar in it.

Oh, cool. But then again, there’s some who have, who come in with real medical needs and they need [00:05:00] real medical advice. Because doctors that give prescriptions don’t necessarily know a lot about strains. They’re just giving you a prescription to get Cannabis. And maybe it’d be great if a doctor came and gave you your prescription and said, okay, so you should go down to the dispensary and you should ask for, headband.

This is what you’re looking for. This is the exact, I haven’t ever seen that, but it would be great. Good if we get to that point someday when doctors are actually prescribing strain.

Ed Higgins: Oh, Absolutely, with the new medical research bill that was just passed, that will eventually come to pass because the doctors will have the information they need to be able to offer the strains.

Right now, they don’t,

Steve: Your budtenders are the one that kind of guide people, if they’re very knowledgeable they can recommend this or that. If not, they’re gonna go off of what their experience has been. People are happy to engage with that person and they’re gonna listen to what they say and they’ll figure it out in time.

You wanna make sure that [00:06:00] your bartenders are leaving a very positive impression upon your guests, your clients, your patients,

Podcast – Episode 5: What is Cannabis Brand Strategy?

Ed Higgins: right? Otherwise, your perception of your company goes down the tubes. I’ve dealt with many of dispensaries that have a challenge of a budtender and may be very knowledgeable, may be very pleasant, but sometimes comes off to as abrupt or, is having a bad day.

Then the client will go home and light up the Google reviews. One of our tasks is Cannabis public relations. We manage reviews for clients if they wanna pay for that service. And it’s never a fun day when you’re going to Cannabis dispensary reviews and it’s all one stars and complaints and yeah, it’s no fun.

As far as foot traffic in your dispensaries what would you say were some of the things that you guys did in order to get more foot traffics or in order to get more profit in your business?

Steve: How you market your Cannabis, how you market your [00:07:00] dispensary is gonna have a lot to do with that. We used to use weed maps. Are you familiar with them?

Ed Higgins: Yes. Love weedmaps. They are one of our partners we utilize and we’re gonna talk about them on the Cannabis web design podcast episode.

Steve: Finding online sites that get a lot of traffic, where people go to looking for information on the nearest dispensary to them is a very good way to increase your traffic. You can also try something if you’re on a busy area, you might consider hiring a person temporarily to go outside and I’ve seen it in car insurance or taxes, maybe something like that. Tax places where they have a person out front spinning a banner around sometimes pointing out to come here. It’s even easier with Cannabis. People want to come to a dispensary and if there’s one that’s on their way home, it makes it so much easier for them.

Location. If you can get them to know that you’re there, and it might take a little bit, don’t think it’s gonna happen overnight. It, I think it takes about 30 days for it to really sink [00:08:00] into people. Hey, I just saw that, I saw that place today. Next day. Yeah. That’s right there. And then, in about a week or so, they’re like, oh, I need some buzz right now. They remember That’s right. On my route home. And now they look for parking is to go by there and if there’s parking is available, they know where it is. It’s the location signs available.

You’ll see people start slowly coming in there faster and faster.

Ed Higgins: If you are not aware of the Cannabis industry, you might not know what to look for. You might not look for that green cross that a lot of dispensaries or a lot of pharmacies in Europe utilize. You might not know what it is. And some places they wanna keep it that way. So they don’t get the unwanted eyes of the law on them. It depends on what state you’re in, if you’re fully legal, like you said, and what you’re trying to convey.

But the, one of the, if you’re in a totally legal state, you better have signage that lets people know what you’re absolutely doing. Otherwise, what are you even doing? Why are you in business? [00:09:00] Because you’ll get no foot traffic all day long. And the foot traffic is the people that are walking through the stores. In retail, we call it foot traffic. It’s your amount of door swings, the amount of people that are coming in to stores. I used to manage a electronics retail location and we had a door buzzer in the front door that would go off every time a customer would come in and it basically was counting door swings.

They would look at the tickets and they would look at the door swings and the pencil pushers or the economists would tell us that we needed to do better because we have so many people walking out our door, but we’re not selling ’em anything, or we’re not selling ’em enough and we’ve talked about this before, having high ticket items or being able to grow your tickets, your receipts, there’s two ways to do it is it’s either you raise your prices on your product or you add other items.

You said before that you had gotten a tobacco license. That’s a pretty ingenious way of adding those items because in order to have things like blunts or wraps or different bongs and stuff, you have to have a [00:10:00] tobacco license and you’re able to add those extra items to the ticket because you have them in store. Otherwise, what else are you adding? You have to add more Cannabis and if somebody’s already bought the amount that they want, they’re not gonna wanna buy more, especially if the dispensary’s right down the street.

Steve: I’m gonna disagree with you on that one. If you have the set strains that people want like these are the strains that you have in my book, you can’t have enough strains. You should have a minimum of 50 strains. A minimum of 50 strains.

Ed Higgins: I agree with that. In our state here, we are not marketing strains yet, and I’ve seen strains marketed in Colorado. I’ve seen strains marketed in California and in Washington, but here we’re not marketing strains yet. Yeah I agree a hundred percent.

Steve: What you’ll get is you’ll get people who come in for the regular strain, but some people get burned out. I’m an OG guy. I can never get burned out on OGs. But every once in a while I do want some lemon kush and when I say OGs, I consider girl scout cookies. [00:11:00] All the cookie strains go under that umbrella as well. Anything that has an OG in it is part of the OG family, I consider the OG strains, but a lot of times people want to try, to mix it up a little bit. So if they’re set, they have the exact strains, these are the four strands that came in. I wanted to get quarter ounce in each one of these today. I’m good.

What is Cannabis Brand Strategy? – Continued

And by the way, have you tried this? This just came in. And you might get them to buy, here just get a gram, just get a little gram of this, little gram of that. Try these new four grams you’re gonna, and see which one you like. This one right here is brand new. We’re not gonna have a lot of it.

Again, if you have a knowledgeable grower, talks about what the strain is, this is a cross between this and this. Oh, that’s my favorite strain right there. This is across between that and this one. Definitely try this out. This gives you a nice relaxing high or this makes you hungry or this can help to induce sleep.

That’s what I recommend, people can never have enough Cannabis in my book. It’s just, but beyond that, the next thing is, they’ll say, do you have a lighter? You should always. Those little add-on sales. Yeah, we have these little gimme lighters right [00:12:00] here, but, and then we also sell those ones over there.

Ed Higgins: Lighters, batteries, vape pens, stuff like that.

Steve: Yeah. All those things like that but if a person’s, it is just a flower person, let’s just say, for example, I’m still wanna make sure that I’m finding out how they’re consuming it. Are you using a vaporizer? Are you using a bong?

Are you using a glass pipe? Are you rolling? How are you consuming your Cannabis? And try to incorporate that. Over the course of time you’re gonna build up and realize I’m able to sell more pipes than anything else. You should try to have a little bit of everything for people.

That helps to build your ticket. For a while our average ticket was like $70, 65, $70. And soon bumped to a hundred bucks. But again, the way that happens is you have to have those little extras that people want. That’s not even including having edibles.

That’s not even including having like drinks and stuff like that’s just having the accessories that they needed to consume their product. And then also, as far as part of your branding, have free gimme lighters that have all your [00:13:00] information on it, like the URL code so that they can scan to see what the new strains are that week or that has your information on it.

Also you wanna make sure that you have the shirts, have mugs, have anything, have little trays where they can grind their butt up with your information on it. Anything that you can brand. You need to do that, and those were all add on sales.

Ed Higgins: That’s a good point. That’s a good point. Defining your product or service that’s what you have to do.

One of the ways to sell more products is by having that merch, having the other items in the store in order to add the ticket. Otherwise you have to raise your prices on your product and you could raise your prices so high that people stop coming. If you have to, because of market conditions, we get it. But you really want to add other items and teach your people how to add other items to the ticket in order to sell them on other items in order to raise those tickets. The profit per ticket.

As [00:14:00] far as distribution channels, so you had the dispensary, did you guys sell online or anything?

Steve: No we didn’t sell online. It was a brick and mortar at that location, but I strongly recommend if you can get into doing deliveries as a shop, definitely get into deliveries. And the reason why is that once you get those delivery systems going there, it can be difficult to set up at first.

But once you get those going, if for some your shop moves, your shop shuts down for whatever reason, you can still continue with those online delivery sales. That still helps you to continue to bring in revenue.

Ed Higgins: Especially in your state too. If you have the online store you can ship.

Steve: Definitely take a good look into that. We like to think that there’s not gonna be any more respiratory viruses that go around and shut the economy down. But if it does happen again, you should be prepared and the best way to be prepared is to already have a delivery system set up.

It’s already going. And when all [00:15:00] of a sudden they’re like, Hey, we’re get, you get to, everyone’s gotta shut their shops down. You’re not gonna be that affected by it. You’ll see an increase in your online sales, which has already been established.

Ed Higgins: As far as brand building for your or logos or brands what are some of your favorite brands in the marketplace?

First of all, lemme go back a little bit. If you’re gonna do a brand, do it right, find a professional that can help. I had a guy that could help us make brands, and weed and other stuff, he was involved in the club scene.

He was pretty well versed at it and that was the guy that I got to help me with my branding. Branding is so important. Make sure that you and at least look around, have an idea of what you want. Make a small budget to get a company. You can go to a local college if you don’t know anybody, and go to a design course class and just ask around, or you can actually get a real professional to do it.

But just get somebody who knows about branding to make you a nice design to start with and to have some examples. [00:16:00] It’s not that much of an investment and your time or your money to do it right from the.

You want to get it right the first time. Especially if you’re going to have your logo on all types of different advertising, all types of different product in your store, it will be a very expensive Change if you have to change anything.

It can get real expensive quick and you wanna make sure that you also file it with like we’ve used swift filings in the past, we’ve used Rocket Lawyer. You want to use a service that you can do a customary search to make sure that you are not getting a brand that somebody else already has because that will also be very expensive as well.

Steve: The three ways that exist are, you can do it on your own. You can go to, like you said, swift filing , right?

Ed Higgins: Swiftfilings.com. Rocketlawyer.com. I’ve used both of those. There’s a bunch of ’em out there. Legal Zoom.

Steve: That’s the second tier. And then the third tier is you can actually get a lawyer. Now, definitely that costs a little bit [00:17:00] more, but of those three tiers, the lawyer is going to be the closest to assuring that it’s done right. In the end what you don’t want is that you file for it.

Somehow it goes through. But come to find out that, there’s actually somebody that already has that. Which is the biggest problem that you can have if you do it by yourself. Or it goes all the way down the road and they kick you back and go. By the way, there’s somebody in your town, matter of fact, in your very city that already has that logo and what, I’ve never seen that before. Do it right from the beginning, the first time, especially if you’re gonna take it seriously and you’re sure that you’re gonna be in this for the long haul, and get a professional to come in. Make sure that it is original, and then it’s yours, it’s trademarked, it’s yours. It’s one less problem that you’re gonna have to worry about.

Don’t kick the can down the road. Just make sure that it’s done the first time.

Ed Higgins: One of my favorite brands. I have two favorite brands. One’s local, it’s Retro Bakery, but the other one that I like is cookies by Berner. It’s it’s pleasant to look at. It’s [00:18:00] a great brand. There’s a great story behind it and we’d love to have Berner on to talk to him sometime about this.

He’s launched a new social club app that’s all Cannabis. You won’t get shadowbanned, you won’t get shut down. You can talk about Cannabis anytime. Your speaking sometimes to the choir cuz everybody on there is talking about Cannabis but with a good creative marketing plan, you can come up with some creative posts and put ’em on there and hopefully get yourself some business.

 This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle Marketing, llc, helping Cannabis businesses grow organically. We are a Cannabis marketing firm specializing in Cannabis seo, Cannabis eCommerce, and Cannabis marketing.

Check out our new book on Amazon. We have a link tree in the description of the podcast post. You can sign up to get a free book for Purple Noodle Marketing, helping Cannabis businesses grow organically.

Steve: We were talking about Berner, right? Is that what you, that’s what you said, cookies, right?

Ed Higgins: Cookies by Berner. It’s got cookies.co is the [00:19:00] website.

Steve: So how did you hear about Berner? Or how’d you hear about both?

Ed Higgins: I went into a cookies in Las Vegas when I went to Las Vegas to pitch those businesses. I walked into cookies and then I happened to be on the internet somewhere searching about this business, doing some research, and I learned about Berner.

Steve: You should have him on the show, Berner is to me, he’s a controversial figure. Some people hate Berner, but the majority of people love Berner. I’m a love Berner kind of guy. I love, I think Berner is the man. He revolutionized the Cannabis industry in a way.

There’s a story about him. Cookies is based off of the strains and the first one that he did was called Girl Scout Cookies. Berner’s from the Bay Area. I’m from San Francisco, so I knew of Berner for about two years before I knew who he was.

I had heard his music, but I’d never seen a picture of him or anything like that. I hadn’t seen a video or anything. He was up in San Francisco, he was working for a dispensary and he was a hiphop artist. He was [00:20:00] already doing music and according to legend or word on the street, however you wanna put it, but according to what I had heard, he was working as the door guy at first at this club. People would come in, and he’d get him in the club, sometimes he’d get check, make sure they dump a weapon on doing pat down.

A lot of times the vendors would come. Vendor like most dispensaries, this is pre prop 64, legalization in California. Most dispensaries had a guy called a vendor who would come out of the mountain and he came down with like a hundred pounds or so, and he would go around to the different clubs and he would try to sell the product. He’s the intermediary between the farmer and the dispensary. Berner would meet these guys at the door and he would check the buds and he’d be like, okay, this is good. This is good. This is a little moldy. What’s this? And the guys were like, we don’t have a name for yet.

And so he kinda smelled it and he’s ah, smells like girls scout cookies. They all start laughing. Yeah. Cause they didn’t have a [00:21:00] name for the strain and they take it in there. And the strain was a cross between OG and Durban Poison. And they had that strain and they crossed that plant with a granddaddy purple which was also the cut, used to make a thing called cherry pie. So it was called the cherry Pie cut. They brought it to him and he took it to the club. And it’s sold fast. It sold out almost instantly. He says, I’ll take all that you got. That was the first that it just come off the mountain on it.

Then they come back and they bring, another round of that down. And they’re selling it for 85 and eighth or a gram. I don’t remember which one it was. Wow. The thing about it, it sold out almost immediately and there’s this huge buzz and they sold those pounds to the club for 4,000 bucks a pound and that’s a lot. Yeah now pounds is going for 200 bucks a pound. Okay, so just to show. He was like, I can do something with this. This strain is a game changer. He took [00:22:00] that strain and he started working with these guys.

And after a while, Berner, according to word on the street, he became the buyer for this dispensary. After a while Berner was like, let do my own thing. And so he started working With Growers.

He would go up the Emerald Triangle that’s what I’m calling the hills. And he would start working with farms and they would, cultivate certain strains and. I do believe that Wiz Khalifa went to him cuz he got some og he got some Girl Scout cookies.

He’s yo, dude, what is this made of? Berner tells him, he goes, help me get my own strain. Wiz Khalifa bought the OG that he used for the original Girl Scout cookies. And that’s what became Wiz Khalifa OG.

Ed Higgins: He signed a Wiz Khalifa label.

Steve: What Berner did he changed the game because he really started to brand his stuff. He opened his own store called Cookies, and Cookies isn’t Just Girls Got Cookies. That was the original one. It’s also grandma Sugar Cookies, which is also. The same initials as Girl Scout cookies. There’s also [00:23:00] gelato. And from what I understand, gelato was a Girl Scout cookie plant that they hermaphrodite d. They took the seeds that, and they planted those seeds and that’s what became gelato. Gelatos also a very well known strain on his roster. But part of his branding was making music for each strain. He made a song about girls scout cookies and you can go pull up Berner’s music and check it out, and you hear all these Cannabis references.

That’s all he really sings about is growing in, in, the Cannabis industry. But he mentions a song strain like lemonade or. Girls scout cookies or like, cookies are like gelato and then people hear that music over and over again. They brand, they wanna get it, they gotta have that strain.

 You’re driving the market that way. Like you’re getting this name, this brand new recognition out there and then people want it. Now one of the bad parts about that is like a lot of times cause girls got cookies, didn’t leave the Bay Area for [00:24:00] years. It never made it out of San Fransisco, it’d be sold out that fast then it went down to LA eventually three or four years into it. once in a while, a pound or two might get back east someplace and it goes, someone would have it and they lose their minds. But everyone knew the words to the song. They knew about girls scout cookies.

A lot of times you get these guys back east and they would be like, what is this? And it’s a new strain. He says, he smells, it smells sweet. And he goes yeah. This is Girl Scout cookies. Some people back east have been buying what they thought was Girl Scout cookies for years.

It’s not, it’s the brand name’s made it so popular, everybody wants to say that they have the Girl Scout cookies or cookies now. Branding is everything, and when you’ve done really good, when there’s more of a demand than there is supply for your particular brand.

He’s into everything now. He’s into Delta eight. He’s into THC o, he’s into all the CBDs.

Ed Higgins: I would love to have on talk about it.

Steve: Yeah, you should. He can really tell you where the industry is, where [00:25:00] the industry is going. But because he’s one of the main guys who really drove, I would like to say single handedly, but he was a big influencer. He collaborated with everybody. And he learned to work, with to his left and people to his right. And they’ve done a lot to bring Cannabis into the pop culture, into hip hop culture, by namebrands, and that’s what branding’s all.

That’s what it’s all about. See you guys next week, later.

“This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle Marketing LLC, Helping Cannabis Businesses Grow Organically. We are a Cannabis Marketing firm specializing in Cannabis SEO, Cannabis Ecommerce, and Cannabis Marketing. Check out our new book: https://www.amazon.com/Purple-Noodle-Marketing-Organically-Entrepenuers/dp/B09ZCVYW7H

Our Website is; https://www.purplenoodlemarketing.com

List of resources, suggested materials, and social media handles:

Resource link #1: Set up your brand. I would use a partner like https://www.swyftfilings.com/ or https://www.rocketlawyer.com . I have used both in the past. 

Resource link #2: Cookies.co : Berner company and strain. Check out his music as well as his new social media app Social Club

Call to actionSign up on our linktree to receive a free copy of our Book, Purple Noodle Marketing : https://linktr.ee/purple_noodle_