Cannabis regulation is complex and here to stay. In the midst of compliance, regulation and marketing no-no’s how can your cannabis brand stand out? The questions have shifted from “how are you going to grow your product? to how are you going to sell your products? There is currently a major dispute going on between a large local dispensary chain Harvest on Geary (HoG), and one of the largest publicly traded cannabis operators in the country, Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. (HHR). There is a whole article on the dispute at cannabisnow.com which you can find here.
In my opinion, of greater interest to the industry is how overused the “canna” verse is, or how overused the cannabis leaf is for logos.
With all of this extremely similar branding it’s important to know when you may be creeping close to an established brands trademark. IP can be what leads a company to success, or veers it of the road. It’s very important to remember this when thinking of branding your cannabis company.
It also, begs the question why don’t cannabis companies start thinking differently?
In an industry full of “canna this and canna that, or CBD this and CBD that,” you may be able to stand out by thinking more creatively. It is a new and exhilarating industry, which frankly suffers from lack of differentiation. Most brands are merely selling the industry, not their unique value proposition. Think of it this way what if Nike’s logo was a shoe, or Apple’s logo a computer? It would box them in. Nike and Apple are selling you an experience, a lifestyle. The shoe and the computer is a means to do that.
Many cannabis companies are also using social media to solely sell and promote their product, rather than provide their buyers with an experience.
Think about why your buyer may be interested in cannabis, their lifestyle, etc. and speak to them. Do not solely sell a product. In a recent Forbes article discussing the present and future of cannabis branding, Olivia Mannix of the Cannabrand agency said (regarding recreational cannabis), “products that are marketed for the effect or mood have stood out from the crowd. Also using marketing that is lifestyle based has been successful.”
As you begin to develop, or re-develop your brand ask yourself “how can I bring my brand to life, to solve my target market’s needs?”