Working with a Creative Agency: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

For businesses that have never worked with a creative marketing agency, realizing such services’ value can be challenging. The often hefty price tags that come with abstract terms like “discovery” and “creative” can seem quite daunting. Yet, in the vast expanses of the cannabis startup culture, there is perhaps no better way to make your mark on the industry than by creating a memorable brand.

When forging a new business from scratch, entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of doing it all themselves. Consequently, these business owners push forward with critical branding work while lacking an understanding of aesthetic appeal and overall market context. While this bootstrap mentality is commendable, it does not always translate into profitability.

Whether you are looking to launch a cannabis startup or rebranding an established business, there are several criteria you should consider when engaging a creative agency. By walking through these criteria, you will gain a clearer understanding of the value of creative marketing agencies in cannabis.

Diverse Skill-Sets

One of the most significant selling points on working with a creative agency is the diverse skill-sets that come with such partnerships. Notably, most startups do not employ a team of graphic designers, brand strategists, digital marketers, and professional copywriters at the onset of operations. If you choose to engage the right creative marketing agency in cannabis, this rare talent pool is exactly what you will get behind your brand.

By bringing diverse skill-sets to the table, creative marketers put their collective energy together to realize important brand creation goals. In doing so, they work with you in bringing your vision to life – from the discovery phase to brand launch. These teams harmonize their diverse talents by following step-by-step protocol in brand development.

First, the design team will develop a mood for your brand that will be recreated throughout your business. This aesthetic includes a color palette, company font, and logo design. Once this design phase is complete, the team moves onto the critical process of brand strategy. Finally, with the conceptual work complete, your creative team will apply the brand aesthetic to essential components like product packaging, marketing swag, and your company website.

Cannabis Industry Knowledge

The fact that the cannabis industry is brand new and always changing provides further motivation for working with a creative agency. Nobody knows the business and those marketers who have been working hands-on with cannabis startups in the early days of the industry. One of the real selling points of creative agencies in cannabis is the fact they provide valuable business guidance.

The best cannabis marketers must be as business savvy as they are creative. On a daily basis, these individuals critically assess the cannabis industry when conducting strategic brand development. In doing so, they help new business owners in the industry take the guesswork out of such complex notions as brand differentiation. Make no mistake about it; this process requires some serious business acumen.

When it comes to brand strategy work, creative agencies in cannabis go far beyond marketing and delve into the realm of consultancy. By developing such critical concepts as brand positioning, competitive landscape, and consumer personas, these marketers literally provide a pathway to follow in building a successful cannabis business.

When you weigh the fees from top cannabis consultants against those of creative marketing agencies, you will begin to further understand the value of such partnerships.

Relationship Management

Another beneficial attribute of creative agencies is the fact that they know how to maximize working relationships. To this end, professional marketing agencies have dedicated Project Managers who will strategically guide the relationship for productivity.

The goal of the best cannabis marketers is to nurture your original vision and reshape it in a fashion that makes sense in the business world. This process often takes place through a pointed question and answer, or “kick-off session,” where the marketing team pushes you for pertinent information. Once they have the required information, Project Managers then direct the various departments about the next moves in brand development.

Once the Design Team and Brand Strategists develop content, the Account Manager will bring it back to you for feedback. This step in the process provides a great opportunity for constructive criticism. Even more, feedback gives you the ability to ensure that the new product still honors your original vision.

The best marketers will guide you specifically through the feedback process on a carefully choreographed timeframe.

Big Picture & Vision

The final point to consider about creative marketing agencies has to do with tying it all together in the big picture. To this end, a “bird’s eye view” of the final product should include a distinct brand narrative that is interwoven in the finest details of the business. This narrative should mutually complement all of the creative processes that went into building your brand.

The Project Manager is often the conductor of the overall workflow and final product. Throughout the branding process, they allow each department enough room to be creative while also ensuring each team sticks with established brand guidelines.

While each component of creative marketing work is essential, many would argue that big picture capabilities are what set the industry leaders apart from the rest. This ability allows them to grasp how all the creative components will intermingle in a finished product.

Summary

If you are trying to decide whether a creative agency is a good fit for your cannabis business, a great place to start is with your own skill-sets and availability. By critically assessing these important factors, you will likely come to the conclusion that delegating branding work to professionals is a good idea.

Not only do creative teams put a diverse team of talented individuals behind your brand, but they also provide practical business advice. These teams should always honor your original vision while also giving the brand the vitality it needs to leave a lasting impression.

When it comes to creating a memorable cannabis brand, the learning is tough, and competition is fierce. If your financial situation allows, I recommend that you invest in an agency to properly position yourself in this increasingly competitive market.

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