Marketing Blogs & Design Experts Are Helping Rethink the Marijuana Brand

The Wall Blog, a UK-based marketing agency blog, just published an article that repeats the key points we have been making about re-branding the cannabis industry, namely:

  1. Change the language
  2. Take advantage of the product's versatility
  3. Redefine the consumer

And the article was written by someone from 99designs, a crowdsourced branding/visual identity design SaaS. Clearly, the brightest minds in the marketing/design industry agree that a makeover is necessary. We are especially interested in the 3rd point above and figuring out what the current MMJ and LMJ/AUMJ user profiles are today and how they will likely evolve in the near future. As the article puts it:

The stereotypical view of the average pot smoker is of a young man from a lower-income household with a handful of GCEs.
However a 2014 survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment turned this on its head, revealing affluent consumers with higher levels of education were more likely to have tried the drug at least once.
Women are likely to be a key target audience for marketers. While almost half of adults aged over 21 in Colorado have smoked cannabis, women lag behind. The business that captures this demographic may well find itself with additional growth potential.

We agree that brands and packaging that appeal to women in particular and, in general, a more mainstream audience than "a young man from a lower-income household" are necessary and early market entrants (LEAFS by SNOOP, Kiva, Dixie, Hepburns) are capitalizing on that need/trend. Accordingly, new market entrants in every state but especially in California should think carefully about branding and packaging before jumping in. 

Thanks to MMRSA, packaging will be tightly regulated and the requirements are pretty daunting from a design and legal standpoint. To quote a MMRSA extract:

All medical cannabis packages and labels shall not be made attractive to children
Although the statute does not define "attractive to children," common sense indicates that packaging and labels should not have flashy color schemes, friendly cartoon characters, or other 'bright and shiny' elements. The Department of Health will likely promulgate further regulations protecting children from accidental ingestion.
All medical cannabis packages and labels must include the following, “prominently displayed and in a clear and legible font”:
1. Identification of the source and date of cultivation and manufacture
2. The statement “SCHEDULE 1 CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE”
3. The statement “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS” in bold print
4. The statement “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY”
5. The statement “THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE DELAYED BY UP TO TWO HOURS”
6. The statement “THIS PRODUCT MAY IMPAIR THE ABILITY TO DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.”
7. A warning if nuts or other allergens are used
8. A list of pharmacologically active ingredients, including THC and CBD, measured by milligrams per serving
9. Clear indication, in bold type, that the product contains medical cannabis
Licensed cultivators and manufacturers shall package all medical cannabis and medical cannabis products in tamper-evident packaging and use a unique identifier, as prescribed by the Department of Food and Agriculture, for the purpose of identifying and tracking.

A quick trip to any CA dispensary will show even the casual observer that there is a lot of work to be done by producers and manufacturers, save a handful, to answer market trends and comply with MMRSA...

By: JP

Source: http://wallblog.co.uk/2016/01/18/the-marij...