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Achieving brand continuity with a few simple hacks

“Make sure everything is aligned- colors, tone of your message, consistency and an up to date logo. Your brand needs to be a direct reflection of you, your mission and your business.”

-Reagan Hatch, Cannasite Co.

Last week’s blog was super focused on putting your personal stamp on your space, how to customize your interior and make your customer’s journey all the more personal. If you missed it, you can read it here. This week we are taking the customer journey a step beyond and talking about some common areas where branding can go wrong.

Here are some common areas of disconnect when it comes to branding and interiors.

Name vs. Reality. This one is huge. So many times I’m asked to design a high end, luxury interior that caters to yoga moms and the chosen name of the dispensary is something like Skunkpot 420. This is a huge disconnect. We can make Skunkpot a fun and urban cool shopping experience, but then your ideal customer isn’t likely a yoga mom. Maybe she’s a college student, but if you’re looking to appeal to a different customer, your name had better reflect it. The name has to appeal to the neighborhood you’re in as well as who your customer will be. If it doesn’t, your customer will initially be confused and subsequently be uncomfortable. As you know this does not lead to repeat business.

Branding Vs. Interior. Same deal here. Sometimes I see dispensaries where the interior is beautiful. Lit shelves, high end flower tables. Magazine worthy lighting. And the current logo, color scheme and sign on the exterior looks thrown together and unpolished. The branding is appealing to one audience and the interior a completely different group. Spend a little money on a branding professional, a graphic designer and of course a cannabis retail interior designer. Continuity of the shopping experience matters, and can go the other way too. You can have beautiful branding and a lackluster shop. In this case, maybe the customer googled you and checked out your website. They like what they see. Drives to your location excited for a luxe experience and instead is greeted by a thrown together interior, dimly lit space and cluttered shelves. Not a win.

Pro tricks to make it click

  • Hire a professional. I can’t say this enough but as a retail cannabis interior designer, I LOVE working with other professionals. We should all be working in tandem to create a cohesive, shoppable, beautiful space whatever your vibe may be. We really do take the weight off of you (lots of tedious decisions for you to make) and work together to bring a beautiful result.
  • Start with your reason why. Why did you get into this business? What is your story? What are you hoping to change in the industry? This is the starting point to creating your brand and this is what should come through in your name, logo, packaging, merchandising and interior design.
  • Revisit your merchandising at least yearly. See what is working, what doesn’t and come up with a plan to make the needed changes. Is your merchandising not looking polished and customer friendly? Hire a pro to evaluate what you have going on and suggest changes. This can be done at many levels of investment. Again, this is about the customer journey. Cannabis sales may seem like an easy slam dunk, but remember you do have competition and if someone else is giving a better customer experience than you are, your sales will eventually suffer.
  • Think of your favorite places to shop and copy what they do. Like the Apple store? Copy how they show and sell the products. How everything is within a color palette. minimalist style and the sales team wanders in a 1:1 customer to employee ratio.
  • Put one person in charge of managing your customer experience. Too many cooks in the kitchen leads to chaos and it is true for retail management as well. This person will oversee how the store presents itself to the customer and community.

Did you rush to get your doors open in time and had to make some hasty decisions when it came to the interior? Did your cousin draw your logo on a napkin? And now you feel like it’s too much of a hassle or financial commitment to make the changes? Are you worried you’ll have to shut down the shop for a few weeks to make it look the way you originally planned?

You may be surprised to find out what we can accomplish after business hours or with minimal down time. Frequently I work on an hourly consulting basis to help owners make simple changes to their space with major results. Quite often we don’t have to start from scratch or make major renovations. A few simple changes to the finishes or fixtures makes a huge difference in enhancing the customer (and often the employee) experience. I recently had a client with a dead zone. (An area of the store where nothing sells.) I revamped the merchandising a little (lucite risers, reducing back stock by half) and added some wall sconces. Guess what? It’s now the hot spot in the store.

Great things can happen with little changes!