As the cannabis industry shifts from the black market into the mainstream, it has
experienced unprecedented growth. Growth unfathomable in fact, by the early
2020’s the industry is set to hit the $20 billion mark.
Whilst start-ups in the cannabis space may be new, start-ups as a whole – are not
and so when looking to create your brand there are many lessons that can be learned
from just looking at another company.
The new kid on the bloc has many wise people to learn from in order to fit in.
But what happens when there’s not just one new kid on the bloc but in fact a
hundred kids? They form a newer, fresher, group with higher standards. No one
wants to even be a part of the ‘old bloc’ and so your standard point of entry is
whatever the new bloc says it is. Your point of entry isn’t the rest of the start-up
world (the old bloc) but in fact that cannabis one, (the new bloc) which is leaps
ahead of what you could possibly imagine.
So consider this your branding guide on not only making it into the club but in fact,
ruling over it.
Step One: Brand from Inception.
Companies are often at a loss in terms of determining when it’s the right time to
bring on a branding or design agency. They keep on saying the line ‘Our visual look,
doesn’t match our inside product’ but they find themselves equipped with excuses:
– When I can afford it
– When the product has already launched and I know it will be successful
– When I see that the cheap logo we initially designed hasn’t worked
The best cannabis companies know that the real answer to this question is that
#AnotherGreenLogo just won’t cut it. They know that the right time to bring on an
agency is at the point of inception. This way your look is aligned: Your branded
packaging aligns with your website which matches your brochure and all the other
digital and marketing collateral, which matches your stationary, all aligned with your
brand, voice, and visual language.
Step Two: Telling your story.
Meeting with your designer is absolutely crucial and should be the first step. Here is
where you explain your WHO, WHAT, WHY and a good designer will be able to hear
those answers and create the right look, bespoke to you.
For any company, this is obviously important but in the cannabis space, this is even
more so. It’s still not a trusted industry and so you need to be able to explain who
you are, why you care, what your product is and why it can be trusted.
Moreover, you need to be clear what sector of the industry you are falling in to:
cannabis apparel etc.
Step Three: Educating your audience.
“Right now, CBD is the chemical equivalent to Bitcoin in 2016,” said Jason DeLand, a
New York advertising executive and a board member of Dosist, a cannabis company
in Santa Monica, Calif., that makes disposable vape pens with CBD. “It’s hot,
everywhere and yet almost nobody understands it.”
There are two approaches here and you need to choose which one will work for your
company. Are you appealing to those that think its ‘hot’ or those that don’t
Truthfully the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. You need to be
updating your audience on the progress the industry is making and why it’s a trusted
product. On the other hand, you can’t be posting about this too much because a lot
of your followers are there, because to them it’s obvious that the industry is great
and they love your product. So this is a strategy which needs to be taken into
account from inception.
Step Four: Social Impact: When Green is the New Green.
As a company advising clients, we like to practice what we preach.
HASHcreative believes we all have a responsibility to be active participants in making our community and our world a better place.
That is why for each paid project, we set aside 10% of that gross commission to be given to a nominated charity.
We chose to pay it forward monetarily, but in the cannabis space, we think that the
brands of the future will be focused on sustainability and social impact. In some
states or regions in the US, indoor cannabis production is responsible for more than
3% of the overall electricity bill and so the best companies will recognize that in this
green space, there’s a way to be green in your actions too.
This post was written by HASHcreative founders Yarin Weltsman & Avital Bayer.
HASHcreative is a cannabis creative agency: led by strategy, influenced by design & inspired by
cannabis. We build creative cannabis brands & digital experiences that WOW. Our
multi-disciplinary team works across verticals to make sure you are: Seen. Heard. Lived.