Thanks to changing norms, new laws and the hard work of talented design and packaging agencies, marijuana is finally moving beyond pot leaves and Woodstock-era hippies and getting a much needed branding makeover.
“People are getting tired of the High Times, Cheech and Chong stereotypes, and ready to bring brands out with their own ethos and narrative,” says Zack Darling, co-founder of the The Hybrid Creative, a Santa Rosa cannabis creative agency. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, The Hybrid Creative—recently acquired by Kush Bottles—specializes in insightful brand storytelling, savvy market strategies and custom web applications for the cannabis industry. Darling, a self-proclaimed “brand therapist,” and his team are largely responsible for elevating cannabis packaging to appeal to today’s cannabis consumers. And just who is today’s cannabis consumer? The answer is everyone: moms, senior citizens, fitness enthusiasts, pet lovers and foodies.
Laurel Gregory, creative director at The Hybrid Creative, recommends brands use a method she calls “Be, Do, Say” in order to remain authentic and avoid common pitfalls.
Be - “Be the authentic brand you know you can be. Embrace your idealistic self and set the standards you believe in.”
Do - “Do the things necessary to ensure you’re truly walking your talk. Set guidelines with your employees so everyone feels safe and respected. Reduce that carbon footprint. Raise the quality of your product. Go get that certification of high farming standards. Donate to good causes. All of this will deeply grow the value of your company and the pride you take in it.”
Say - “Then, and only then, do you Say. Tell the world about how high-integrity your brand is. Pull out the fancy words and graphics. Stand on the mountain top and profess to the world how awesome your brand truly is. When you have your ‘Be, Do, Say’ in order, your brand is ironclad and bulletproof.”
Maximizing ‘mini’ packaging for cannabis concentrates
Most cannabis consumers don’t want to be responsible for bulky packaging that can’t easily fit in a purse, backpack or even in the pocket of a pair of jeans. In today’s on-the-go lifestyle, convenience is key. Since the majority of products are shifting away from traditional dry plants, new options make it more important to have smaller packaging. Smaller packaging also means that brands lose out on available space for printing its logo and marketing message. All design elements must be on-brand in order to compensate for this.
Since cannabis consumers will need access to their products on a regular basis, the quality of the box is key. Reusability and being reclosable are also major factors to consider when finding the right packaging for edibles, tinctures and concentrates. In other words, downsizing to a smaller size shouldn’t reduce the precise design and functionality of the packaging. Being easy to open and easy to store are important in creating packaging that is functional and secure. The aesthetics of the package also must maintain the brand message, despite being opened (potentially) dozens of times throughout the product’s lifetime.