A medicated chocolate product, pictured inside the Chalice Farms cannabis dispensary in Portland, Oregon.

Amarett Jans

Defining Your Cannabis Brand

Recently I was vending at a popup sesh in Sacramento. One of the things I love about doing these is checking out the other vendors and all the innovative cannabis products coming out. During the evening someone gave me a bottle of something – a tincture or syrup. It sounded great while the guy told me about it, but by the next day I’d pretty much forgotten what he said.

So I pulled out the bottle. It was colorful and attractive, and on the back it told me how many calories, fat and grams of sugar were in it — but the rest of the writing was faded and in such a strange font it was hard to read. I finally figured out it was called Purple Panther Elixir. On the front, there was also some obscure print that said “Mike B” and “The Grim Reaper,”  neither of which seemed to be relevant to the product. Nowhere on the bottle could I find out what was in it or how much to take. It found a home on my kitchen shelf, and there it still sits.

One of the most common things I see among new businesses is confusion about their focus. Many entrepreneurs put a great deal of time into designing beautiful, bright labels, but neglect the lettering or else name it something so obscure that only a select niche of people will get the reference.

Now that cannabis is becoming mainstream, more and more people are curious about the benefits of this plant, but unlike the people who work in the industry, many are novices. Some things need to be spelled out:

  • What is it?
  • What is it for?
  • How much should I take?

Beautiful labels are nice, but your product isn’t a work of art that someone needs to ponder like a metaphor. Consumers want to know what they are getting and they want to know it pretty quickly.

Many brands are taking a more modern, streamlined approach to their packaging with a simple design and easily recognizable logo. It might be worthwhile to hire a graphic designer for this part. Sometimes we’re so close to our product that it’s hard to conceptualize a visual symbol, whereas an outsider can sometimes see more clearly what’s needed.

However you decide to approach your packaging, the number one rule should be pretty standard: it needs to be clear and concise so your customers know what they’re getting — and it needs to be compelling enough that they want it. Take some time to truly define your brand: identify your ideal customer, and don’t try to do too much. Keeping things simple is often the most effective way.

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