Lightshade is Colorado’s premier marijuana dispensary with five locations and growing. Established in 2011 as a single-location medical marijuana dispensary, Lightshade’s owners approached dfine for branding assistance during their target market expansion when Colorado recreational marijuana sales became legal in 2014. dfine has since provided ongoing strategic branding, marketing, design and communication support with a wide variety of projects to Lightshade as they’ve grown their product offerings and locations in an extremely competitive industry.
Brand identity refresh, Website redesign, copywriting, blog, SEO + e-commerce, Social media marketing + reputation management, Email marketing, Collateral, publication + advertising content, design + print, Packaging design + print, Merchandise + apparel, Environmental branding, Event branding, Fulfillment + Logistics
BRAND IDENTITY REFRESH
When dfine Branding began working with Lightshade, the dispensary had an established logo and tagline, but was using an assortment of colors and fonts that lacked intention and cohesiveness. The resulting brand extension looked cluttered and busy, and was no different than many of the other 600+ marijuana dispensaries in Colorado that have run-of-the-mill branding. In such a highly saturated and competitive market, dfine felt it was important for Lightshade’s visual identity to convey a clean, modern, sophisticated look and feel to set it apart from its competition.
dfine Branding designed and developed a new website for Lightshade as one of the first extensions for the brand’s updated identity. The key visual elements we focused on in the design included the dynamic visual nature of the product using big, bold, vibrant macro photographs and parallax images to highlight Lightshade’s various strains. The website was designed to grow with Lightshade as they continue to add new locations and functionalities.
We also provided copywriting support and a comprehensive search engine optimization integration, researching keywords and writing website content that was optimized for organic search to keep Lightshade competitive in a highly saturated market. We’ve seen positive results, including drastic keyword ranking improvements for several of Lightshade’s target keywords. We continue to support Lightshade with an ongoing website, blog and SEO strategy. Informed by quarterly website analytics reporting, monthly SEO keyword tracking and product sales insights, our ongoing strategy delivers recommended design, content and functionality updates that allow the dispensary to continue delivering relevant information to their target audiences to help reach their strategic marketing goals.
E-COMMERCE-READY MERCHANDISE STORE
One of the newest features we’ve added to the website is an e-commerce-ready merchandise store. Although Lightshade is not able to accept payments for products online yet, dfine manages inquiries received through the online store for their collection of branded retail merchandise and apparel, which dfine designed and produced. We handle all of the order logistics and fulfillment on behalf of Lightshade.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING + REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
dfine Branding also cleaned up Lightshade’s fragmented social media presence and began managing the dispensary’s ongoing social media marketing and online reputation management. dfine consolidated and took over Lightshade’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to create a more professional and consistent voice and image across all platforms.
In addition, dfine implemented a presence for Lightshade on the industry-specific social media platform MassRoots. We also manage the dispensary’s online reputation on Yelp and Google. Our social media and reputation management strategies for Lightshade are informed by monthly analytics reviews as well as the ever-changing rules, laws and regulations governing online advertising for the marijuana industry.
To help keep Lightshade’s audience informed about announcements, news, special promotions and upcoming events, dfine Branding established a MailChimp account for Lightshade and manages the dispensary’s email subscriber list of more than 14,000 contacts. We continue to write, design and distribute HTML email marketing blasts on behalf of Lightshade to help communicate key updates to the recreational customers and medical patients that comprise Lightshade’s target audience. As social media and internet marketing regulations become more strict for the marijuana industry, Lightshade’s email marketing platform continues to grow as a more prominent tool within their marketing mix.
Lightshade requested an updated product information system for display on their website, as well as a print version for customers to flip through in the waiting areas at the stores. We recognized our client’s need for regularly updated information to share with their customers, and recommended a digital flipping-book catalog complete with brand and product information and photos, which could be loaded to the website and to iPads secured in the waiting areas of each dispensary location for quicker turnaround on ongoing updates and a better user experience than a print catalog.
dfine took professional photographs of Lightshade’s products—including edibles, concentrates, vape pens, topicals, tinctures and merchandise—and macro photos of their strain flowers and buds at different zoom levels in their three grow houses. We then laid out and designed the catalog using our photography and product information that is provided and audited monthly by Lightshade’s inventory control team.
dfine has conceptualized, designed, written, edited and printed a variety of marketing collateral for Lightshade. We designed, wrote and printed location-specific promotional “blitz” cards for each of the store managers to distribute to neighboring businesses and at nearby events to increase awareness of the dispensary with a one-time promotional offer for first-time customers. We also designed and printed collectible baseball-style cards for each strain, complete with education on strain effects, genetics and phenotypes, featuring our strain photography, as a giveaway and educational item that customers receive with their purchases. The strain “baseball” cards also feature a special-edition lenticular print once per quarter.
dfine also manages Lightshade’s print advertising. We strategize, brainstorm, conceptualize, research, write and design creative ad concepts and campaigns and manage ad placements of various types and sizes in a number of publications. Some of these publications include Westword, Culture Magazine, OutFront Magazine, Dining Out Magazine, Urban Life Magazine and local directories.
JOINT BOX PACKAGING DESIGN + PRINT
dfine Branding designed, produced and printed custom cigarette-style joint box packaging to hold five of Lightshade’s pre-rolled joints. Our design and merchandise team collaborated on this project, and after researching several concepts, we designed and produced a custom-sized box that featured the established Lightshade brand imagery. The inside of the box features a securely constructed, custom sleeve that holds the joints in place.
MERCHANDISE + APPAREL
dfine Branding has sourced, designed and produced various retail merchandise and apparel items for Lightshade, ranging from full-color T-shirts and hoodies in a variety of styles, designs and imprint methods, to water bottles, lighters, magnets, stickers, hats and custom full-color pouches and kits. dfine not only produced the merchandise, we also set up the retail displays of the final items for sale in each Lightshade location throughout the Denver metro area, later managing internet sales of the retail merchandise and apparel through an e-commerce enabled website merchandise store.
EVENT BRANDING + FULFILLMENT / LOGISTICS
Lightshade sponsored Icelantic’s 2015 and 2016 Winter on the Rocks—a winter concert with artists such as Major Lazer, Damien Marley, Holy Ghost! and Big Grams for 8,000+ attendees at Red Rocks Amphitheater. As part of their sponsorship, Lightshade received a variety of pre-event and onsite brand activation opportunities. dfine supported Lightshade with conceptualizing, sourcing, designing, producing and fulfilling these elements, including: a #LightshadeWinter social media selfie ticket giveaway contest, pre-event social media promotions, VIP gift bag merchandise for 750 VIP attendees, a 10′ x 20′ custom-designed booth with sidewall, Lightshade-branded winter floor mats, custom-designed bong-shaped die-cut banners, Lightshade-branded cornhole games and a toboggan with a dome decal as booth entertainment and raffle giveaways, booth giveaways—including wildly popular glow sticks—a digital billboard ad design for the venue’s LED screens, onsite printed signage and more. dfine also provided onsite fulfillment and logistics staff support to set up, work and break down the booth experience.