Client Case Study: Brand Build, Visual Identity, and Brand Strategy with Viridis Cannabis
In the midst of the burgeoning cannabis industry and as Canada approached legalization last year, we had the opportunity to collaborate on building a brand for a craft cannabis company based in Edmonton, Alberta. As cannabis businesses excitedly scrambled to prepare for October 18, 2018, we got to be one small part of the hustle and bustle taking a cannabis brand to market — what an experience!
Not only was this a new challenge to tackle, but it was special because of the collaborative opportunity that came with it. The folks at Social Lite spearheaded the team for this cannabis company’s brand build and subsequent website and marketing execution. This project was a true example of co-creation between small businesses — an approach we love and always advocate for!
“Collaboration over competition.”
Here is the project we embarked on and the creative approach we took to help build Viridis Cannabis:
Nearly every project we do starts with an intense Brand Discovery process. This one was no different. We met with the Viridis leadership team four times over a few weeks. While the discovery consisted of many, many deep-dive branding questions, it also included branding exercises using archetypes and brand characteristics. We love incorporating branding exercises into the process because it gives clients a hands-on experience, allowing them to become even more integrated into the brand build. This discovery process also involved discussions around visual identity, which provided insights into the creation of the visual elements for the Viridis brand.
The tangible deliverable of the Brand Build process is a multi-page document called the Brand Guide (some clients call this their “Brand Bible”). This guide becomes a company’s most important brand communications document as it contains every key message, narrative, and value ideal. For the Viridis Cannabis team, the foundation of their brand exists in the ideals of a small-batch producer and their unique growing method. It was critical to the team that the communication for their brand focus on the values of careful harvest, growing through natural methods, and the thoughtfulness of the producer. The brand needed to feel warm and earthy, not cold and mass-produced.
One unique aspect to this project was having to work within the standards and guidelines for marketing and communications within the cannabis industry created by the Government of Canada. Because we built this brand as the rules were being created, special care had to be taken to ensure we met the communication requirements. Ultimately, a greater number of revisions were required for this Brand Guide as the rules for the cannabis sector became more clear. This attention to the regulations also impacted the development of the Visual Identity for the brand, and in part dictated what we could and could not do to communicate through imagery.
As with most projects, the Brand Discovery process helped inform the visual identity for this brand. The incredible creativity and design work for Viridis was done by the talented Dustin from MainStay Graphic Design. Dustin took the client’s vision for an earthy, natural, Alberta-based brand and ran with it, creating the logo, visual identity system, packaging, merchandise, and more. It’s always so exciting seeing a brand brought to life through visual elements, and this was no exception!
The final stage of the project with Viridis Cannabis was to build a lite Brand Strategy that would provide the client with ideas for beginning to execute on the brand we’d built together. For Viridis, we incorporated the Brand Strategy into the Brand Guide giving them one all-encompassing document for their new business. This Brand Strategy included one, five, and ten year goals, social impact initiatives, social media presence, and in-person engagement plans for potential customers.
The project for Viridis Cannabis was not only a fun exercise in collaboration, but also a challenging one for having to build a brand within guidelines set by the government. Viridis is currently about to launch their first batch! We wish them all the best as they reach this exciting milestone.