The Key to Success in Cannabis Retail? A Carefully Considered Brand.


What is a burrito without filling? A picture frame without a picture? A cone without ice cream? That is how important I believe a brand is to a cannabis dispensary. It is the foundation for the retail design process, and really, a fundamental element of any successful retail business. No matter how much you try to get around it—if a well-defined brand is missing, then you are lacking the substance that makes you, well you. A successful cannabis dispensary is driven by a mission, a purpose—a carefully considered and crafted brand.

So, what is a brand? For High Road, a brand is the personality, tone, style, business model, visual identity and signature assets of a company. Having a logo and saying your purpose is to provide a high-quality product is not the same as having a brand. A brand is more than a name or one logo. It is the suite of graphics, colors and typography that communicates across every customer touch point. It is a professional identity that puts a distinct signature on anything the company touches.

A well-defined brand also provides a clear-cut guiding principle, the compass if you will, for every business decision. And, it is your marketable differentiator. It is practically a religion that you and your team live by. A solid brand influences how your staff interacts with customers, what products you sell, the experience in the showroom and waiting in line, really every aspect of the customer journey at every touch point inside and outside of the physical dispensary.

In order to help you develop a brand that communicates the essence of your business, it takes a little self-reflection and careful consideration of many facets of your retail business, not just how you wish for your logo to look. When we start this process with our clients, the High Road team gathers information such as:

Who is your target audience? Soccer moms, patients, highly experienced connoisseurs?

  • What is your position on quality and price? Affordable, accessible, premium?
  • What type of setting do you want to provide? Recreational or medical? Discrete or bold? Open and browsable or consultative and one-on-one?
  • What is the personality, tone and style of the brand? Will your playlist play dubstep or adult lite rock?
  • What types of products are you focused on? Will you feature all craft brands and organic product lines? Is your focus on low-cost options or premium products?

We use the responses to these questions, and many more, to develop and refine the brand’s mission statement, brand statement and design brief as well as a style guide. These become the doctrine for how you go about implementing your brand across customer touch points.

When it comes to the design of your cannabis dispensary, a brand dictates the flow of your space, the color and finish palette, the architectural details and focal points, the tone of your communication as well as the experience of your clientele, employees, and vendors. It is not just about the customer, it is about how the employees engage, perform their work and represent the brand. It influences everything from the front of the house to the back of the house, including safety and security, product handling, order fulfillment and packaging.

To exemplify how a brand comes to life in brick and mortar retail, here are three dispensaries with three very different brand stories that dictate their various retail experiences.

Original Article by MG Retailer

Victor MadrilComment