Roll ’em, roll ’em, roll ’em…Branded

Posted by Stoney on January 2, 2016 in News |


Oh, wait that’s Rawhide…oh well, this is about branding. Logos, trademarks, names…a Rose by any other and all that.

Names are important. A strong name can make or break a company. Long names are OK if there is a catchy way to shorten it up when need be. Especially in the digital age of icons and apps and digital shorthand. Common names should be avoided, General Cannabis or National Hemp would work for the first ones in the game, General Electric, National Broadcasting Company, Acme Widgets…you can get lost in the crowd and it is hard to establish a distinct identity. Something descriptive of what you are going to be doing, distinctive enough to stand out from the rest of those doing the same thing and not so esoteric that people just scratch their heads and wonder. Consolometrivon might have some deep meaning to you but nobody is going to bother to find out who you are or what you do so you’ll end up having to spend a shit load on advertising.

There will be a plethora of Canna(add word here) companies. CannaLab, CannaCare, Cannatronics and Cannaboost…CannaCafe is sure to show up. The same with Denali, Alaska, Northern Lights, Aurora, Arctic…yea, we get it, Alaska Hemp is about Alaska. Oh, wait, that’s mine…yea, that’s a good name. And a lot of the others will be good names as well they just won’t stand out. Midnight Sun…there must be 100 “Midnight Sun” something or other businesses in Alaska, when Sara and Tina were deciding on a name for their company they dropped the sun, Midnight Greenery is certainly more distinctive than Midnight Sun Greenery would have been. And MG makes for better iconic logo than MSG which might be confused with a Chinese Restaurant food additive.

You will want to keep in mind that the name you select will usually be your domain name, Facebook group name and will be used on business cards, letter heads, logos, hats and any number of advertising material. Imagine having to tell your clients over the phone that your website is http://www.lastfrontierarcticwastelandcannabiscompany.com or trying to convince your graphic designer that it will fit on your business card he’s just not doing it right! And there is an email using that name as well. The shorter and more memorable your name is the less you have to spend on advertising it later.

OK, you have the ideal name, not too long, catchy, distinctive, memorable, does not abbreviate into a curse word and isn’t already taken by someone else. Now you need a logo. Not all companies have or need logos, many are recognized simply by their name alone, but having a distinct graphic that taken alone can represent your brand will pay dividends in marketing. And here again simple is almost always better. There are a few companies in this area that use the Chugach Range as part of their Logo, and many more that use Denali, and almost all of them just start to look like the same general logo after a while.

Sure, everyone is going to want a pot leaf on their logo, that is the one universal identifier for a cannabis business, but try and make it distinctive from all the other pot leaves, give it some flair! And while you are designing your logo try and bear in mind there might be places where you will want a single color or a vector graphic so again keeping the design elements simple should be a consideration.

It is a good idea to bring in a professional very early in the planning stages of your business. They can help you with names, logos, graphic design, even if you already have a name and logo getting a second opinion can often show you something you might have not otherwise considered. If you like what they have to say and they seem a good match for your company they are worth the money, and if not, don’t hire them.

OK, got the name and logo, now you’ll want to protect your brand. Registering your trademark will keep someone else from deciding that “Arctic Chronic” is selling really well and using the name on their own line of merchandise. I think the State of Alaska will register your trademark for around $100.00, the Feds will do it for around $400.00. It’s a good idea to have them both. You might need to hire a trademark lawyer to research your name and , the more common your name the more likely that will be. Expect to drop a grand or two once the suits get involved.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your prospective company, and should you need any help with branding, designing a logo or setting up a website I am available for consultation and have over 40 years experience in graphics and 25 years providing website design and hosting.

You can reach me at bill@webmusher.com and you can see some of my previous and current clients at http://www.webmusher.com/clients.html

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