Just like every business needs a brand, every brand needs a story. To some, the story is the backbone and the roots of the whole brand. It informs every message, every image, and sometimes even the decisions you make internally. Your cannabis is no exception. Here, we are going to look at what your story is, why it’s important, and the best way to tell it.

What’s a brand story?

To put it simply, the brand story is a narrative that should encompass the feelings and the relationships associated with your business. It is not necessarily the history of the brand nor is it the highlight reel of all your product’s best-selling points. It can include elements of history, price, quality, customer experience and much more. But the point of the brand is the emotional emphasis it puts on all these factors. All the different messages, ads, and pieces of copy you create weave into this ongoing emotional narrative.

What’s your brand story?

The public perception of cannabis is by and large changing, bringing a huge range of customers with it and a challenge for the cannabis dispensary industry. How people thought of cannabis now is not how they thought of it even ten years ago. Markets are being found amongst men and women, professional adults and the elderly, creatives and executives. To really thrive, many cannabis dispensaries are finding their image has to evolve with the market.

Part of this evolution is the change of cannabis culture. When it was solely on the black market, the dazed and confused nature of marijuana’s image was everywhere. When it first exploded, you could get posters and t-shirts of a plethora of cartoon characters and brand icons clearly stoned. The “stoner” niche is still very much alive in some cannabis brands, but it’s not the only option. Many of the old clichés are losing favor fast amongst the consumers.

Now, many are instead trying to tell the story of a lifestyle that cannabis can play a positive role in. From relaxing you after a stressful day to inspiring creative thought to helping take you to a deeper, more introspective level. There’s a lot more room to tell a brand story that is emotionally honest and resonant with the larger market.

Naturally, your brand depends on a few things. For one, you have to consider your market. Do you live in a city or town of high-powered professionals who could better respond to the relaxing effects of cannabis? Or a hub of artists where inspiration and creativity could be the key? The other major factor is honesty. What appeals to you and your team about cannabis? Do you focus on the quality of the product, the customer experience, the cost, all of the above or something else?

How to tell your brand story

Now that we have explored definitions and some food for thought about what your brand can be, it’s time to take a deeper look at methods you use to tell it. The way you tell a consistent, believable brand story tends to be the same across all industries. However, we are going to look at specific ways to apply the practices to the world of cannabis.

Create a brand persona

Every story needs a storyteller. When listening to a great anecdote, joke, or tale, the person doing the telling matters as much as the story itself. They need to have personality and charm all their own. Preferably, they share some of the values and attributes that the audience does. To tell a brand story well, tell it with a brand persona.

So how do you build it? Try boiling your brand story down to five or six key emotional touchstones. What are the core values of the brand persona? You can focus on the cognitive effects of cannabis or how it can lead to a more relaxed, positive lifestyle. Another focus can be the importance placed on customer service or accessibility in the business. You can also frame your brand story using cannabis as a social stimulant, helping people bond with friends.

Think about the tone of your brand persona, too. It can be professional, it can be authoritative, it can be informal. Choose that which fit the emotional touchstones mentioned above. Have a distinct voice that runs consistently through the brand story.

Find a brand hero

You don’t always have to look internally, either. The perfect brand persona, with their own story that coincides with yours, can be found outside the business. Most good businesses have their own success story. There is someone who has experienced real positive changes in their life thanks to your cannabis. Find them by engaging with your audience and encourage them to let you share their story. It reinforces the fact that your product works.

Show, don’t tell

The power of a brand story is in the fact that it’s something the audience can feel. They don’t necessarily have to be told it. In fact, if you spell it out for them, it’s likely to be less effective. It doesn’t matter how emotive it is.

When writing copy or creating an ad, think of the signifiers associated with those core values of your brand persona, rather than expressing them directly. For instance, if you want to show the social value of cannabis, tell a story about the lifestyle and use ads showing people socializing or conversing.

Don’t always go for the sale

The brand is a component of your marketing, there’s no doubt about that. But when you’re crafting or expressing the brand story, you shouldn’t necessarily focus on trying to close the sale. There doesn’t have to always be a call-to-action or a pitch. They are about expressing the persona and giving the audience something to identify with.

This does bleed into marketing efforts, of course. It’s just a tactic involving the long-game and building brand fans and followers as opposed to immediately closing the sale. Marketing is about convincing people, and sometimes laying down the facts and pros of your services can help. During a brand story, being that detailed can make the story boring. Focus on engaging with the story, worry about the sale later.

It works better in multimedia

The impact of the brand story has to be emotional. Although writing can be evocative, it has been shown to simply not be the most effective way of engaging the audience online. High-quality photos and images tend to see better engagement rates, and videos see even higher rates than those.

Whether through an image or in video, there are a few different ways to tell your brand story. You can show your product/service as a problem-solver, showing the ways cannabis can help improve your quality of living and thought, for instance. As a narrative form, video works much better in showing the logical progression from beginning to end.

The right choice of different media elements plays a crucial role, too. Cannabis is enjoying a much safer, cleaner image nowadays. So, a soothing voice over works better than urgent one, for instance. The choice of colors, location, and sound all play just as vital a part.

Make it shareable

It sounds like this point is all about driving clicks. While that might be a factor for your marketing efforts, creating a shareable story increases its effectiveness. This is true whether people find something in your copy or your video that resonates with them, something they can identify with, or it’s just something they find happy or uplifting. If it gets shared, then you brand story is successful, no matter how you express it.

Stories are powerful tools. Start utilizing them in your brand and you are going to foster a much deeper connection with your market than providing cannabis in exchange for money. Artisans On Fire can help you find the perfect story and find the way to shape it that fits both your audience and your team.