When you think of marijuana users, do you picture young college-aged adults wearing Grateful Dead shirts and listening to Phish? Or do you picture suburban moms driving hybrids to organic cannabis dispensaries? If you are like most Americans, you probably picture the former, but this may change in the next 10-15 years; cannabis culture is experiencing a revolution in public appearance with the advent of new branding strategies.
On the forefront of this revolution is herbal entrepreneur Jan Cole, owner of The Farm, a marijuana dispensary in Boulder, Colorado. With large storefront windows, walls painted in soothing earth tones, and a warm inviting atmosphere; you’re more likely to mistake her business for an organic grocery store.
“We have a lot of people who come in think that we might be an organic food grocer or something,” Cole told NPR. “I don’t think we’ll ever be as big as Whole Foods, but Whole Foods is a good example of the type of clientele that we attract,” Cole added.
Cole represents a larger movement of business owners in the cannabis industry that want to break away from the Cheech and Chong stoner persona that has plagued marijuana for decades. While it may be true now that the cannabis market is more Cheech and Chong than Whole Foods, it must start appealing to a demographic besides bearded 20-somethings for the market to undergo mature expansion.
In order to recast its image, a subtle approach is needed to market and brand cannabis. Much of what people fear when they think of legalized cannabis isn’t so much “reefer madness,” but rather obnoxious cannabis culture and the commercials that would inevitably follow. No ethical entrepreneur wants to see cannabis commercials corrupting Bob Marley’s music as a means of hawking cheap products with tasteless slogans.
If you want make marijuana more accessible to a wider audience, you have to make marijuana wholesome. When you are branding a product, you are not selling a product as much as you are selling an idea, a lifestyle. Before you launch your cannabis venture, determine what it is you are trying to say and why.
The Richest, a leading online business & leisure resource, knows branding in the marijuana marketplace has explosive growth potential, especially considering the number of strains available for purchase. Leafly, one of the largest online cannabis strain search engines, reports there are more than 800 strains of marijuana. A brand specialist should see this as an opportunity to create targeted marketing campaigns for more than 800 lifestyles.
If you want to harness marijuana marketing’s potential to enhance your cannabis venture, determine the lifestyle you want to promote to customers. Do you want your customers to be broke doped-out basement dwellers that just smoke to party, or do you want your customers to be upwardly mobile go-getters that use cannabis to enhance daily life? In the world of marketing, branding is everything; if you tap into the right branding strategy, success is sure to follow.