As cannabis evolves from the infamous “stoned age” into the legalization era, its marketing also needs a high-tech edge to survive in this tech-savvy age. Cannabis is a fast growing industry, and the need for industry players to invent relevant ways of rebranding it for effective marketing is crucial. In the state of Arizona, for example, 44 percent of the logos presented for its approval bear the cannabis leaf. That is why the Marijuana Business Daily quotes James Bowie, a sociologist at the University of Northern Arizona saying, “The marijuana industry needs a branding makeover – big time.”
Rebranding the Cannabis Business
But why is rebranding necessary for making the industry more acceptable to Americans? First, the industry and plant are emerging from the infamous “stone/stoning” age stigma. Second, it still bears a “criminal” tag in the eyes of the feds who deem it illegal. Therefore, rebranding for better marketing is a non-negotiable necessity. So, I welcome you to follow this discussion until the end to see how this is possible. Eventually, you will discover how best the industry can shed off negative perceptions and market itself favorably to various target beneficiaries.
From Smoke to Food: The first way the cannabis industry can rebrand itself and gain favorable perception among different stakeholders is to transition itself from smoke to food. Therefore, marketers should make all possible efforts to process and market cannabis as a valuable ingredient in daily recipes and cuisines. This effort will shed off the traditional stigma that makes many people perceive it as “a very dangerous drug.”
From Poison to Medicine: Here, the industry has a strong head start it can capitalize on because the first phase of legalizing cannabis at the state level was medical. Since health is critical and central to the life of every American, capitalizing on its proven medical capabilities and benefits will position it in the market advantageously.
A Social Facelift Through Social Media: The cannabis industry and plant are emerging from a long history of social stigma. For instance, those who bought into our politically correct and age-long myth that cannabis is a “very dangerous substance” perceive its consumers as “morally bankrupt misfits.” However, the rise of the social media came just at the best time because marketers can optimize it to shed off the per(de)ception that cannabis is an “anti-social” plant. Therefore, canna-business marketers can emphasize the plant’s socializing dimension using various social media platforms. Remember, these platforms have and respect no social, religious or political class in society. Therefore, they are some of the best podiums to utilize.
Celebrity Endorsement: We live in a celebrity-controlled society, and that is a fact even if you may not like it. An average American is oriented to follow and accept influential celebrities. That is why all other industries optimize their endorsements to sell their products. Therefore, it would be disastrous for canna-marketers to ignore the power celebs wield in changing mass perceptions.
As the industry develops, it is necessary for marketers to incorporate celebrity figures in their “marketing mix.” In the last few years, for example, many respected and highly followed celebs have become cannabis advocates. For example, Woody Harrelson, an actor, believes that the government should treat cannabis consumption as a “victimless crime” and personal freedom. Willie Nelson is another celeb who has expressed deep convictions regarding the validity and sanctity of the cannabis plant despite the federal government’s current stand that it’s illegal. Look at what he says about cannabis: “I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?”
With such sentiments taking deep roots among our celebs, it is evident that their endorsement is invaluable to the industry’s rebranding matrix. Moreover, these celebrities cut across all industries and some of them have held high-standing political offices, for instance, Mexico’s former president, Vincente Fox.
With these four strategies at your fingertips, I believe you too can optimize them to enhance your canna-business’s marketing campaigns.
Pete Asmus is not one to let life idly pass him by. GreenZone 360’s CEO gets things done. From motivational speaking and meeting with new business partners to building ninja courses for his kids and advocating for public education on Alopecia. Whether it’s business or family, you’ll find Pete going to MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.