A leather notepad, pen, and cell phone -- the early tools in an entrepreneurial journey.

Rory Savatgy

‘High Five:’ Branding and Developing Products for All Five Senses

In a transient world with instant access and endless options, it’s more important than ever to create a cannabis brand that connects with your consumer on every level. I’ve taught some of the greatest brands in the world to develop their product in the most impactful way using all five senses.

In my last contribution, we discussed the concept of your brand being alive. But what does that look like in the cannabis industry? It’s our senses that keep us alive — incorporating them in how you promote yourself will keep your brand alive, too.

Let’s look at each sense and how you can incorporate it into your marketing to add value and a deeper connection with your customers.


Did you know over 80% of the information we retain is from visual interaction? This means how your brand looks is a critical piece in your success. This can go beyond your logo and into other elements of your business.

  • How is your team dressed?
  • What does your package look like when it comes to your customer?
  • What visual messaging are you using on social media?

Let’s look at the visual concepts over at Hi ™:

Friendly cannabis branding that makes you energized, excited, and wanting more. Photo Credit: Bruce Mau Design

Hi ™’s packaging is an excellent example of how a strong visual brand can portray a feeling. Their packaging portrays happiness while helping the consumer easily understand how each of their products can be used in everyday life.

From business cards to billboards, your visuals say volumes about your brand. They also promote thoughts, which turn into feelings, which turn into action. What is your look saying about you?


Smells have an extraordinary way of connecting us to memories. Take advantage of this sense and use it to connect to your audience.

As an example, the company I founded My Bud Vase ™ incorporates beautiful flower pokers to clean out our pieces. We give these out while vending and we know that it’s a natural instinct to smell a flower, so we decided to scent our flowers with hints of vanilla, sage, and lavender. Not only is this a pleasant surprise to the consumer, but it adds a distinctive differentiation to our product line.

Cannabis is often associated with strong smells, but consumers might be pleasantly surprised to find them incorporated into your branding itself. Photo Credit: Post No Bills

Look at your own business and think beyond the product or service itself. What could your packaging smell like? Don’t always work in the obvious choice of a skunky cannabis smell — get creative.


If your brand had a soundtrack, what would it be?

What we hear while we shop is proven to impact our mood and purchase choices. The atmosphere you create for your shoppers can be as impactful as the product itself. With that in mind, what is the vibe of your brand?

  • Are you creating a pleasant audible experience for your consumer?
  • What music do you play for phone calls put on hold?
  • What kind of mood do you want your customers to be in when they are in the presence of your brand?

Imagine pitching a new product and, when you open the packaging for the first time, you hear a drumroll in anticipation of the reveal. Light- or voice-activated sound chips are available for purchase and can add so much impact to your branding.

A peek inside of the Chalice Farms dispensary in Portland, Oregon. Photo Credit: Amarett Jans


This sense obviously ranks high in priority in the edibles industry, but think about how you can incorporate it in other ways.

What is the flavor of the city that your brand comes from? San Francisco evokes sourdough bread, Italy evokes pasta, Maine evokes lobster. Use these instinctual associations to create a unique experience.

If you’re a cannabis brand involving citrus terpenes, perhaps offer have some citrus candies on your store counter or at your tradeshow booth. Figure out how can you create a delicious experience and connect your branding with your audience on a completely different level.


The impact of touch cannot be underestimated. We are driven by the feel of a product.

Touch denotes the quality and worth of an item and many purchasing decisions are made by how something feels. Your business is an exchange of commerce, and this subtle sense has a major influence in the first impression of your product. From the clothes we wear to the sheets on our bed, to the journal we carry — touch speaks volumes. Many companies overlook how this sense translates into a desire to purchase and adds value to your selling price.

The Green Flower Media strain tracker journal has a unique touch and feel to make the product seem more legitimate and accessible.

Creative packaging is one of the most memorable ways to brand your company. The Green Flower Media strain tracker journal has a buttery leather feel, a feature important to the company because they wanted their users to use it frequently. They took the time to choose the right material that felt best when it was in your hand.

Have you taken the time to think of creative packaging options for your product?

People often say they are not creative, but if you can tap into the five senses, your creativity will soar. The senses drive everything we do. We are turned off or on to things that we process through our senses. It’s natural that we incorporate these in our day-to-day lives. It’s our senses that keep us alive, but we often do not incorporate them into our business life.

This is a whole new way to look at your brand — you can create maximum impact on quite often a minimal budget by incorporating the five senses. Make it your goal to integrate as many senses as possible to your cannabis branding and product development.

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