Cannabis and Your Personal Brand


Cannabis and Your Personal Brand

We are constantly being perceived online; whether we post thoughtful, ticker-moving posts on LinkedIn, trending sounds and dances on TikTok, or even the message we send by being absent from social media altogether. 

Day and night, we’re assessing one another’s qualities and attributes, and if and how we align with them. 

Personal branding 

The act of creating and curating our own online presence is personal branding. We may decide we want others to see us as an authority in our field, as a knowledgeable reformer, or simply as someone kind and gregarious. 

Twelve years ago, Anand Giridharadas wrote in the New York Times, “The Internet-connected class worldwide faces growing pressure to cultivate a personal brand. Ordinary people are now told to acquire what once only companies and celebrities required: online “findability,” thousands of Google hits and Twitter followers, a niche of their own, a virtual network of patrons, a personal Wikipedia page and dot-com domain.”

And in the past decade, it’s only gotten truer. 

If you’re in a leadership position, your personal brand is how people determine whether to work for your company, how media and event producers decide whether they want you to speak on a panel, and often whether customers think they can trust your company. 

A good personal brand can be a tool for building trust, loyalty, and community. It can help grow customer relationships and drive repeat business.

Personal branding in cannabis

By virtue of simply existing in the cannabis space, people may approach your personal brand with some residual prejudice, like: 

  • everyone in your office sits around and smokes all day
  • you have an easy job that’s ✌️super cool✌️
  • your job is in some way sketchy or illegal or 
  • that you’ll be aloof or flaky 

Other people in cannabis will know these are tired stereotypes and that it takes an outsized amount of work to be successful in this sector, but that doesn’t help when you need to work cross-industry, when you’re a freelancer or influencer working with different types of brands, or when you need buy-in from investors who aren’t familiar with the work. 

How to regain control of your personal brand

If you want to break away from cannabis cliches, it’s almost like you have two concurrent branding jobs. One to create a nuanced and robust personal brand, and the other to elevate cannabis as a category. 

Take two weeks for self-reflection

Your best personal branding content exists at the centre of the Venn diagram, ‘things you like talking about, things people like hearing about, and things you’re good at or know a lot about.’ 

Then it’s a case of committing to this niche with a style that’s unique to you. 

To flesh out your style, use a couple of weeks to think about:

  • What adjectives would people who love being around you use to describe you?
  • What could only you add to the conversation in your niche?
  • What content do you wish people were making in your niche?
  • How do you communicate with others when you’re at the top of your game or in a state of flow?
  • Who are the people you see online that you never tire of?

Commit to showing up and testing

It will take time for you to find your space online. Unfortunately, a well-curated personal brand is a time investment. Make sure you’re not just talking into the void by tracking which type of content receives the most engagement and using the results to create goals to grow your brand across platforms. 

Plan your content in advance and use your most high-energy days to batch-create. 

Anticipate people’s perception of what you do

In early recreational use legalization, there was an era where brands would try so hard to distance themselves from the stereotypes of cannabis users, they overcorrected with super-clean Apple-like branding that didn’t appeal to their base and seemed inauthentic to new prospects. 

Do a little bit of social listening (read blogs, look at comments of posts from brands like yours, scroll through social media on your topic) to find out how people are talking about cannabis and use it to strike the balance between educating people about what it means to work in cannabis, and showing your passion and pride for what you do.

Aim for charmingly lo-fi but with good lighting

We’re not looking to our peers to make cinema-quality content, but video content does need to be well-lit with clear audio to keep our attention. 

Try partnership content 

Partnership content has the benefits of helping you reach new people, aligning your personal brand with someone you like or admire, and also showing people that cannabis is a sector that other people are taking seriously and thinking about. 

If your niche is cannabis and wellness, invite a local yoga teacher to do a lunchtime live discussing cannabis and meditation. If your niche is cannabis and sustainability, do a meet the grower podcast alongside a sustainable agriculture expert. 

Keep learning, and get your information from varied sources 

One of the many criticisms of the modern media space is that we’re constantly recycling one another’s content. 

Can you find new angles on topics on overdone topics through networking, reading source materials, watching documentaries, or reading how they’re reported from other countries?

Authentically you, kind of

There’s a little about expressing yourself in an explicitly curated way that feels grubby or calculated. 

The oft-touted antidote to this is more authenticity online. It’s true to a point that we enjoy seeing people who are fallible, enthusiastic about what they’re talking about, who are self-deprecating. We like to peek behind the curtain of manufacturing and learn a little about each others’ day-to-day. We like to see that other people experience frustrations or hurdles on the way to success. 

It wrestles, though, with the need for consistency in personal branding. Our true moods, interests, and opinions are much more malleable and complex than to be easily digested and understood by our target audience. 

To address this, you might like to ask yourself: 

What’s authentically you when you’re in your groove? What’s the simplest way to tell your story?

How have your experiences informed the opinions you’ve come to? Have you made mistakes you’ve learned from? 

Is your gut feeling about the content you’re making good? Would you be happy if this went viral that it represented the best of you? 

Forbes suggests

“Get a handle on your personal brand, and then tell your digital story before you start expressing your point-of-view and exuding your brand. Starting with the real you is the key to ensuring that your online branding yields maximum value for you and your career.”