How will cannabis strains and products be branded in the future?

Published Jul 30, 2019 09:20 a.m. ET
iStock / Krim Kate

In Canada, the branding and advertising of THC and CBD products are under strict regulation, that controls how we as consumers are presented these kinds of products. There is very little that licensed producers or vendors can do to sell cannabis products or to make them appealing to new potential consumers. They also cannot make any type of medicinal claims which interferes with a customer’s ability to buy marijuana strains that will work for their individual issues. Finally, they are also unable to associate with brands that might be in any way construed as related to alcohol products. This leaves a very dull shopping experience for the average cannabis enthusiast who has already adjusted to the more colorful and creative methods of marketing and advertising that black market dispensaries and growers offer.

Challenges consumers and Vendors are facing

If you were to visit your local licensed cannabis dispensary right now, you would likely find a clean shop with glass cases and locked away products that are difficult to browse. Even if you are lucky enough to find a knowledgeable budtender, they will only know what the producers tell them about each product. Selection is based on marijuana strains, rather than cannabinoid content, and you will seldom see company names advertised before you make a purchase and get the container home for a closer read. For consumers who have been relying on the same grower for years, it can be challenging to develop a sense of trust for anyone brand, without heaps of extensive research. The few choices available might be a handful of marijuana strains, and a small selection of infused oils. Though legalization has been in place for several months now, marijuana edibles will not be made publicly available until just before Christmas of 2019.

These are only some of the struggles that licensed producers and vendors are running into, when attempting to brand their products, and have a real shot in the cannabis industry. There are many other problems like packing changes, ever-evolving regulations and guidelines, and so much more, this market can be a challenging one to survive in. However, this is eventually expected to change, as the wrinkles of current legislation , out slowly, and alterations are made to accommodate what the consumers want.

What do cannabis consumers want?

Customers’ needs have been evolving almost as quickly as the industry itself, but the black market set a higher standard that is expected to be elaborated and perfected. As more research is done to prove both the benefits and drawbacks of different marijuana strains, we are going to see an incredible shift, one that is likely going to include a host of products, including marijuana edibles, oils, concentrates, topicals and thousands of new marijuana strains that are designed for a specific purpose. Though no one can say precisely what the industry is going to do to brand cannabis products successfully, we do have a few ideas based on what has been seen and requested by consumers already.

Medical condition specific products and marijuana strains

There have been thousands of studies to date conducted with cannabis as the primary focus. Though there is still plenty of research that needs to be done, we have noticed a trend in how the different marijuana strains appear to react and with specific conditions. This is especially true in the case of cancer and other diseases. Each marijuana strains characteristics work slightly differently from the next. So, while one type might have the potential to shrink one kind of tumor, another might benefit more from a different species. Though it sounds a little bit crazy now, we should expect to see companies and producers branding themselves by specializing in the medical marijuana industry.

Branding may be similar to beer

If the cannabis industry is to succeed with THC infused alcohol, it too will likely follow techniques set forth by experienced and well-trusted alcohol makers.

Most alcohol companies are branded with a specific consumer base by using the preferences of one group. So, some people prefer cheap beer, and so there are low priced beer brands like No Name that sacrifice quality but helps to save money. There are also mediocre quality alcohol brands that are mass-manufactured, and therefore, still affordable. These brands tend to be consumed mostly out of familiarity rather than taste.

The smallest craft brewer companies with the most expensive and highest quality drinks on the market tend to focus on being a part of the higher class. All these techniques are expected to be imitated for marijuana strains and products.

Health-focused branding

Some medical patients require hearty doses of cannabinoids to keep functioning, like health-conscious people that are already healthy but don’t want to sacrifice their health to have a bit of fun. The type of branding a company chooses will last for a lifetime, and with marijuana edibles consisting of mostly sugar-laden goodies that aren’t exactly good for you, we will soon see entire brands that are dedicated to more health-conscious consumers that prefer to vape or ingest cannabis products in the healthiest ways possible.

Organic and/or vegan brands

At one time, it was incredibly difficult to find verified organic cannabis, and though no marijuana strains are inherently organic or vegan, this aspect is easily controlled by using different methods of growing. A lot of people don’t realize that the majority of both THC and CBD products are made using cannabis plants that have been fed fertilizers or animal-derived nutrients. Since both diet preferences are trends that are currently on the rise, it would make sense to see companies that are branding themselves as entirely organic and vegan friendly.

CBD products

CBD oil sales have skyrocketed above and beyond that of marijuana bud flowers, but there is still quite a lot of misinformation surrounding how these types of products are used and what they are suitable for. Despite this, millions of consumers are seeking out CBD products in a variety of forms; everything from oils and edibles to topicals and capsules. The trouble is, without many regulated Canadian companies in the industry, it can be challenging to find all your CBD infused goodies in one place. Not only do we expect manufacturers to start truly branding their products for reliability, but we also hope companies can cash in on the opportunity. Therefore, don’t be surprised if, in the next couple of years, a CBD products store opens right around the corner from you with everything from bath bombs to drinking tea. It’s coming, and a lot sooner than most people realize.

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