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Branding and Marketing White Label Cannabis Products

Put these efforts on branding and marketing your white label cannabis products to make them your bestsellers.

12/10/2018

One of the most common misperceptions about branding and marketing white label cannabis products is that you simply take a generic product in a generic box and place your own logo on it. But that vastly understates the ways that top marketers can transform a generic, run-of-the-mill product and transform it into a “must-have” in the minds of consumers. With a little marketing and promotion, a white label product on your shelf can become an instant bestseller.

Allocate the appropriate marketing resources

However, a generic white label cannabis product does not turn into a bestselling product overnight. You will need to allocate the appropriate resources to your marketing and branding efforts. It helps, of course, if you have an in-house marketing team to handle these responsibilities, but as long as at least one person on your executive team can oversee these efforts, it’s still possible to develop a winning cannabis brand.

Remember – the key advantage to selling white label products in the first place is that you don’t have to worry about manufacturing and distribution, so you can focus all your energies on marketing and branding. If you don’t have the in-house resources to take over the marketing and branding responsibilities, you can always work with a marketing agency or freelance marketing specialist to help bring your brand to life.

Articulate your value proposition

The whole point of branding and marketing is to explain the value proposition of your product. In short, this value proposition must answer the following question, “Why should I buy this brand?” In coming up with a possible answer to this question, you should consider all the benefits of your product, and then decide on the one or two benefits that you feel are the most compelling.

Consider, for example, the rapid rise to popularity of “O Organics,” which is a supermarket store brand dedicated to organic food. The value proposition here is simple: “To make a wide variety of certified organic products accessible to more people at a great value.”  For customers looking to shop organic, but concerned about higher prices, this is an incredibly simple but effective value proposition. When customers buy O Organics, they might not even realize that this is a white label brand!

Focus on packaging and appearance

At the end of the day, nobody is going to buy a generic-looking product in a white box, no matter how strong the value proposition. Customers buy products with their eyes first, so you will want a product that looks very attractive on the shelf. This starts with the outer packaging of the product. If you want to position your product as a premium product, then the packaging also needs to look and feel “premium” as well.

This is a lesson that supermarkets and discounters have learned from their own experiences with white label consumer goods. The first iteration of consumer white label goods were bland, unremarkable products that appealed to consumers only on the basis of price. In order to capture the highest possible margins from white label products, supermarkets skimped on marketing and branding. Today, however, top retailers like Costco, Target and Albertson’s have store brands that look just as appealing as national brands. And some retailers – such as Trader Joe’s – are built entirely on private labels.

Create a multi-channel strategy

Another key to building a recognizable brand is ensuring that the logo and brand imagery works across all channels, including email, social media and print. While you may be limited in terms of which channels you can use and how you can use them (due to legal and regulatory issues in your state), you want to make sure that you deliver a very consistent brand experience across all of these channels.

One good starting point to see this strategy in effect is social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram particularly stand out as good starting points to develop your brand online. You can take a lesson here from the big alcohol beverage companies, many of which use a similar type of white label strategy (involving bulk wine & spirits) to create very compelling brands online. The focus of these social media platforms should be sharing how your white label cannabis products can be used as part of a social lifestyle.

Cater to your core demographic

When developing your overall brand, you need to keep in mind your core demographic. Trying to be “all things to all people” is rarely a winning strategy. That might work well for a huge national retailer like Walmart or a huge online retailer like Amazon, but it doesn’t work well for a dispensary or stand-alone brick-and-mortar retail outlet. Instead, you need to drill down on your core demographic and find the right types of marketing messages that will resonate with them.

One example here comes from the world of cannabis-infused beverages, one of the fastest-growing segments of the cannabis market. If your core demographic is the young millennial drinker, you might position your beverage as the fun, social and non-alcoholic alternative to beer or wine. Images on social media might then show young millennials hanging out at summer backyard BBQ parties, or relaxing around the fireplace at a mountain ski lodge.

It all depends on your brand, of course. If you are choosing to focus on the CBD rather than THC components of your cannabis product, you might want to emphasize the health and wellness aspects of your product. On social media, you’d show people enjoying oils and tinctures in environments that look healthy and welcoming.

Be strategic about brand extensions

Once you have created a compelling brand experience for one product, it’s time to think about brand extensions. The best options, of course, are those products that make a natural fit for each other. You might complement a bestselling oil, for example, with an entire line of tinctures. Or you might complement a bestselling cannabis-infused sparkling beverage with one or more new lines of teas or coffees.

Brand extensions are designed to appeal to new segments and demographics that you are not already reaching – not to keep serving the same demographic. Think about how retailers often have several brands, each designed for a buyer at a different price point. (Think of how Old Navy, Gap, and the Banana Republic are all owned by the same company, but all serve a slightly different demographic). This type of demographic segmentation holds true even in the world of private label wine, where a retailer like Trader Joe’s might have a low-end private label wine (Charles Shaw), a middle-range private label wine (TJ Coastal), and a higher-end private label wine (Trader Joe’s Reserve). You can apply that same type of thinking of building out your various brand extensions.

By following the steps above, you can develop a marketing and branding strategy for white label cannabis products that are both successful and scalable. You will soon be increasing your revenue and expanding your offerings at the same time.