The explosion of cannabis and hemp-based (THC and CBD) products, peripherals and applications is remarkable. Perhaps because of the blind rush to cannabis riches, most of these companies are also terrible at modern brand building.
The spate of apothecary-inspired fonts, motifs and tropes that permeate the cannabis landscape are bad enough. And as upstart brands choose the minimalist route, copying the likes of Apple or Method for their aesthetic, the result is a packaging landscape bifurcated by sameness and predictability.
Let’s also overlook the fact that most people can’t palpably and regularly distinguish the differences between one brand’s Superskunk Haze #4 and from another’s. Add to this confusion product descriptors and effects like “ritual,” “sublime,” “enhance” and, my favorite, “dank dreams.” There are only so many puns that the creative can carry, with lines like “Prices so low we must be high” driving the print and digital advertising.
The problems that cannabis brands face are deeper than packaging and messaging. Most have no brand relevancy or purpose and are woefully inept at creating brand experience. Without these pillars of modern brand building, brands (cannabis or not) will fail, and those that pay utmost attention to brand trust and experience will quickly become the leaders. Some already are.
Those brands that have a clearly defined positioning that can credibly and authentically define why they exist and how they are different or better in the cluttered ecosystem of green and flowery ubiquity are winning. Wana is “changing the disposable vape game” and releases new features at a rapid pace, giving itself a clear position and a slew of adherents. Flow Kana, a conglomerate of individual pot farms, grows its product and its business “the California Way” and supports local farmers and cultivators. Blukudu is on a mission to create the most sophisticated and natural pot-infused chocolates and treats, carving out a premium positioning and deep trust among millions of people.
Published: June 24, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News