Perhaps you designed your own logo or used an online service that didn’t offer much in terms of brand-building. Maybe a friend with graphic design experience helped you put your idea onto a label. Perhaps in the beginning, that was enough to start to generate sales and begin to build name recognition.
As products move from events, festivals, or even farmer’s markets to a distributor or a dispensary, your brand must mature as well. Sometimes, a complete rebranding is in order to better align your product with your intended consumer, but sometime a simple evolution will do.
What is brand evolution?
In short, it is “the continuing process of improving a brand or improving customers’ opinions of it as markets and fashions change.” Your logo and packaging are the first impression consumers will have of your product. What does it say? How does it resonate not only with the people buying the product today, but with the much broader group of people you want to buy it tomorrow? What feelings or emotions does your brand evoke? A brand can evolve in many ways. Simple changes in color palette, font and design adjustments can make a huge difference in how your product is perceived.
In the cannabis industry, the most common (and overused) imagery is of the marijuana plant leaf or commonly called pot leaf. Perhaps you wanted to use this image on your product to instantly communicate the contents, but really, what does that say? Is it marijuana? CBD? Some ratio of CBD to THC? Does it appeal to a broad enough market? Or could you now be alienating consumers for whom the image has negative connotations?
Unless you’re Snoop Dogg or Willie Nelson, the traditional marijuana leaf image is not going to win with a broad market. It works for them because, as celebrities, they have their own personal brand. They have also paired their identity with stunning design elements and unique packaging. But for the typical start up in the cannabis industry, a pot leaf in your design lacks sophistication.
“But, it works for us!” you say. “Our core customer wants to buy our product because it contains cannabis!” Yes, we get it. That’s where an evolution comes in. Start with what you have and build on that with a fresh, creative new perspective. Think deeply about the benefits of the product and the value of the ingredients within, so that you can more effectively communicate what makes your product special. Brand evolution can be an incredibly rewarding process because it helps you better align your visuals with the vision that you had when you started your company. The cannabis industry is changing quickly, and an evolution of your brand to keep pace is a step forward on the path to success.