Ultimate Guide to CBD Marketing & Branding

Ultimate Guide to CBD Marketing & Branding

Ultimate Guide to CBD Marketing & Branding

Building a business is challenging enough, but adding CBD to the mix makes things even more difficult. Laws and regulations put in place to monitor CBD don’t just pertain to the physical products themselves, but also to how a business brands and markets them. If you have a CBD business, these rules can significantly impact how you promote your brand.

You need to market your business so that it stands apart from other CBD businesses. However, it would help if you did so without violating any laws, regulations or guidelines set by the government or other entities such as marketing or even social media platforms. Believe it or not, even Facebook has a say in how you market your brand.

You need to be aware of many pitfalls when getting your brand out there, but you don’t need to panic. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about branding and promoting your business within the law so that you can avoid making mistakes that may cost you money or even your company. 

Branding and marketing your CBD business is a difficult path to navigate, but it’s not impossible. And, at the end of the day, it is so worth it

branding

What is the difference between CBD branding and CBD marketing?

CBD branding is the marketing practice that identifies and distinguishes one business or product from another. It tells the story of a company through features such as:

  • Logo
  • Font
  • Tagline
  • Slogan
  • Colours
  • Tone of voice
  • Webpages
  • Business cards 
  • Packaging

A solid brand identity helps you stand out from your competitors and gain loyal customers. 

Branding lets you clearly define your brand and what its values are. Ultimately, if implemented successfully, it creates a bond between you and your customers.

CBD laws and regulations

As a CBD business, it can be overwhelming having to ensure you stay within the law and follow all the rules and regulations. Laws surrounding CBD are stringent and forever evolving. They also differ depending on your location. For example, the US and UK have different laws regarding the use and sale of CBD, which regularly change. You constantly need to research and ensure you stay informed in case of any changes. And this goes for both CBD products and the marketing of CBD products. 

CBD law in the UK

CBD is legal in the UK as long as you follow the proper guidelines. A CBD product must be exempt from the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 or fall under the medical marijuana umbrella. CBD products may not contain more than 1 mg THC (the psychoactive compound), and the CBD must be sourced from certified industrial hemp containing no more than 0.2% THC.

CBD marketing laws

When branding or marketing your CBD business and products, you must comply with stringent laws. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that sellers of CBD products cannot make any medical claims about their products unless these claims are backed by science. According to UK CBD law, Medical claims are:

  • Claiming CBD can cure medical conditions
  • Claiming CBD can treat medical conditions
  • Linking to any sources or studies that say CBD can cure, treat, or help medical conditions
  • Claiming that doctors recommend CBD

Examples of medical claims are:

  • ‘Suggested treatment for depression/anxiety’
  • ‘Cures insomnia’
  • ‘Alternative to pharmaceutical drug’

All statements about CBD products must be backed by evidence and not exaggerated. Otherwise, it will be considered deceptive marketing. 

Furthermore, make sure you include a medical disclaimer in your marketing and branding communications. Find out more by looking at appendix 10 in this document from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Don’t give organisations such as the FDA a reason to target your business. Convey your message ethically and don’t mislead your customers. It’s not fair to them and is highly damaging to your company if you are caught. Instead, call attention to the potential uses and benefits (backed by science), but don’t make any guarantees.

Ensure you know all the CBD laws and regulations (including any changes) and that you follow them at all times. Your business depends on it.

Roadblocks your CBD business may face

Besides all the rules and regulations you have to navigate through in the CBD industry, there are various other challenges that your CBD business can face, namely:

  • The stigma of CBD
  • Finding a bank or payment processor
  • Confusing target market

The stigma of CBD

Even though the public’s perception of CBD is improving thanks to scientific research and positive anecdotal evidence, there are still many people who think CBD is a drug meant to get you high. This is why you need to educate potential customers and steer clear of particular words which would associate CBD with recreational drugs. But more on that later.

Finding a bank or payment processor

It is common for CBD businesses to struggle with finding a bank or payment processor willing to work with them. They classify CBD companies as ‘high risk’ thanks to questions of legality, and are therefore reluctant to work with them. Luckily, there are banks and payment processors that are more understanding and willing to work with CBD businesses. Don’t give up after being stonewalled once. Keep trying until you find one happy to assist you.

How to use CBD branding to promote your business?

The purpose of branding is to give you a competitive advantage and help you increase your customer base. Every business has a brand, even if they aren’t putting any effort into branding. Unfortunately, it can be the opposite of what they want it to be. This is why branding is critical to the image of your business - you can actually use it to shape customers’ perceptions of your brand.

Here are some effective ways you can use branding to promote your CBD business

Understand your target market

To brand effectively, you need to study your target market. Who will you be selling to? What are their values, likes, dislikes, needs and wants? You need to know your target market inside and out to effectively fulfil their needs through your products and attract them through branding that is in line with their values.

When deciding on your target market, you need to consider the following:   

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Occupation
  • Disposable income
  • Needs

For example, suppose you plan on selling CBD products that can fulfil the needs of young businesspeople who are into healthy living. In that case, you definitely won’t use psychedelic branding that alludes to drug culture and draws from the stigma of CBD as a cousin to marijuana. Instead, you’ll go for simple, elegant branding that will attract professionals. 

To create a strong brand, take all of this into consideration and draw on the values of your target market to make it easy for them to relate to your business. Otherwise, you will end up alienating the very group of people you want to attract.  

Start branding ASAP

Ideally, it would be best to start branding before you launch your online store. This will save you the trouble of constantly changing things to match customer expectations. Present your business as professional and trustworthy right from the get-go to instil trust in your customers and show credibility.

However, branding attracts not only customers, but also investors. If you do it properly, that is. Having a solid brand shows that you believe in yourself and makes you seem more committed. This will motivate people to invest in your business.

branding research

Consistency is key

You have to be consistent with your branding. Consistent branding across all marketing communications is vital when creating a strong perception of your business. This means that features such as the logo, tone of voice, and imagery must be uniform throughout every point of contact, be that email, website, business cards, or even customer service.

Consistency in branding familiarises the public with your business and makes it easily identifiable.

Craft your brand identity

Your brand identity is your business’ public persona. Once you understand your target market, it’s easy to create a brand identity that will resonate with them. Use what you learned about them to decide on what will attract them most, asking yourself questions such as:

  • What images will attract them?
  • What tone of voice will command their attention?
  • Do they prefer specific colours?
  • What language will suit them?

Once you’ve answered these questions, build your brand according to what your ideal customer desires, and ensure your persona is in line with their values.

Create your CBD business website

Your business’ website is where all your branding comes together, featuring prominently on each webpage. Having an e-commerce website allows your customers to purchase your products and will enable you to give them more information.

Create your own content

Creating your own content such as descriptions, posts, and images gives you the chance to educate visitors about CBD and your products. Fill up your website with content that will establish your brand as trustworthy and valuable, and that will help convince visitors to buy your products. Blog posts are incredibly effective, and you should include posts such as:

  • What CBD is
  • How to use CBD
  • The benefits of CBD
  • How your brand uses CBD

Firstly, think about what your audience wants to know and write it in an easy-to-understand yet exciting way. But don’t waffle. No one wants to read an essay just to have one question answered.

Secondly, you must ensure all your post are backed by science with solid evidence. Don't ever make false claims or give false hope. Besides being unethical, it is cruel to claim CBD can completely cure a medical illness.

Avoid the stigma

You need to avoid saying anything that will associate your CBD business with drug culture or getting ‘high’. While many people use CBD in its various forms and understand that it cannot induce a high, there is still a stigma surrounding it. And if you aren’t careful with how you present your brand, you could end up accidentally associating your brand with recreational drugs and ultimately ruin your business.

Avoiding the negative associations with so-called ‘stoner’ culture can be tricky, especially when it comes to the language you use. When branding, pay special attention to what you say and avoid words that could link your brand to recreational drugs.

Instead, educate customers. Focus on the positive aspects of your business, such as:

  • Potential benefits of your CBD products
  • How to use products
  • Ingredients products are formulated with
  • Why your products are the best.  

Avoid being associated with recreational cannabis by being transparent and proving your trustworthiness as a brand.  

How to use CBD marketing to promote your business?

Now that we’ve covered branding, let's look at another way to highlight your CBD business: effective marketing strategies. The main purpose of marketing is to increase your business's visibility, thereby increasing its customer base. Let’s look at some marketing techniques that will help you promote your business and products successfully:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Email marketing
  4. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  5. Search engine marketing (SEM)

1. Content marketing

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable and attractive content that targets a specific audience. It allows you to reach your audience naturally (inbound), providing the content they want without forcing your business or products on them. You can do this by telling a story, instead of just blurting out boring facts, and by making your content more engaging and enjoyable for your audience. 

There are many types of content marketing you may want to implement, but here are some of the most common:

  • Blog content marketing
  • Video Content Marketing
  • Paid Ad Content Marketing

Decide which type of content marketing would be best for your business, and develop a strategy that will grow awareness of your CBD business and build relationships.

2. Social media marketing

As its name suggests, social media marketing is promoting your business and products on social media platforms such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn 

Having an active presence on social media platforms is a great way to showcase your brand and products and allow you to communicate directly with your customers. 

cbd marketing

Use social media to share engaging content with your followers to build your brand and show that you are trustworthy. Transparency is key here, so use the various platforms to show how your products work and encourage customers to send feedback. Besides leading to them engaging more with your brand, feedback is also a way to figure out what works and what you need to change to keep customers coming back.

Social media will help customers feel more connected to your business and instil trust, thanks to open communication. 

3. Email marketing

While you may think email marketing is an archaic and spammy way to promote your business, you are only half correct. Yes, email marketing has been around for some time, but that’s only because it works so well. True, many marketing emails are spammy, but only if they aren’t done correctly.

There’s no denying it - email marketing helps you connect with your audience and increase engagement. With emails, you can create a customised experience for your target audience that helps improve brand awareness and increase sales with new and existing customers. It is a more personal way to reach out to your audience - not to mention cost-effective, with high ROIs.

4. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

In simple terms, search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility in organic search results. Organic search results are the unpaid results that appear on a search engine after you have searched for something on Google, and are not affected by paid ads. Let’s take a deeper look at this.

Search engines aim to match each search query with the most relevant results from trustworthy sites that will answer your question. To do this, they use crawlers to go through all the information online that relates to the searched topic. The content and links on web pages allow crawlers to index each site. When a user searches for something, the search engine uses algorithms to display what it believes to be the most accurate results. 

Many factors go into how the algorithms rank pages, which are constantly changing. You need to follow the rules to have Google display your website in a prominent position - not tucked away on the 3rd page of search results. People rarely go further than the first page. 

While many resources online can help you learn more about SEO, it can get tricky, especially since it is evolving rapidly. A lot of work goes into SEO, making it challenging to do it all by yourself. It would be best to hire a professional SEO specialist or copywriter with experience in the CBD industry, as they know how to get your brand out there without breaking any rules or regulations.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

On the other hand, you’ll also want to use search engine marketing (SEM), or paid search advertising. These advertisements appear as results on search engine results pages (SERPs). These advertisements, also known as pay-per-click ads, allow searchers to see the most important information at a glance.

SEM is one of the best ways to grow your business and promote your products in an increasingly competitive industry. 

Conclusion

Branding and marketing go hand in hand, and a thriving business effectively utilises both. Once you have clearly defined your business through branding, you can create a successful marketing strategy that will take your CBD business to new heights. Hopefully, this article helped you understand the various steps you will need to take and strategies you need to implement to promote your business and products using branding and marketing optimally.

If you are just starting in the industry, it can be difficult to successfully promote your business by yourself and get everything else set up to be a success. You may need a bit of help from outside your company. Luckily, we can relieve some of that burden for you. 

If you're interested in starting your very own CBD skincare business without having to fuss about creating or obtaining premium products, Poko has the perfect wholesale opportunity for you. All you have to do is fill in and submit our wholesale form to find out more, and we’ll get back to you. We’re more than happy to help you along on your journey to becoming an elite CBD brand.

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