We’re entering a new chapter in the cultivation of cannabis, not just as a plant but also as a brand. Now permitted in 29 states, medical use of the plant has growing potential among consumers who have any number of conditions and a general desire to live well and live better. By numbers alone, cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US: 60 percent of Americans live in a state with some form of legalization, and sales are expected to reach $11.2 billion in 2020. Looking ahead, the medicinal and economic future for cannabis appears promising, but as an industry without precedent, brands have the challenge—and power—to shift outdated views of cannabis to one of healthy possibilities.
For decades, marijuana’s image has operated in multiple directions—from free-loving hippie culture to Reagan’s War on Drugs to the late-night consumption of Hot Pockets. With its legalization, medicinal brands can refocus their product’s image by building associations with healthy lifestyles and progressive treatments. Cannabis presents a still-developing list of therapeutic uses, including glaucoma prevention, anxiety and epileptic seizure mitigation. In order to drive consumer and social acceptance, branding initiatives are challenged with opening opinions beyond bias and into broader acceptance.
To achieve this, brands must simultaneously raise awareness and challenge preconceptions. Ever-evolving State and Federal regulations will continue to pose challenges to the cannabis industry, but we’re living in a time when brands have the power to trail-blaze their own paths in a modeless industry. This type of paradigm shift is exactly what medical cannabis provider PharmaCann sets out to accomplish.
In Spring 2018, PharmaCann will debut its latest offering—an initiative for which they tapped 50,000feet’s expertise in naming and branding. In working with PharmaCann on the development of the new wholesale brand, we started with the foundation: is the scope strategically founded? Is the brand capable of adapting as the industry evolves? Is the voice personal and relevant to audiences? From there, we delivered a brand that felt open and approachable yet scientifically grounded, which is something leaders in both the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries succeed in doing. The packaging and labeling look as if they are designed for a probiotic rather than marijuana, and that’s exactly the point. The company is using creative design and a polished branded system to transform a fringe product with stigma to a lifestyle brand with mainstream appeal.
PharmaCann is a reminder that brand perception is never cemented in one place. Everything from new generational shifts to new legislation presents brands with the opportunity to replace age-old associations with something more meaningful. Shifting perception is not an easy undertaking, though there’s no better place to be than at the head of a cultural turn.