Not too long ago, marijuana marketing as a career path wasn’t really an option. Yet it’s been marketed by Hollywood, musicians and various social influencers for a number of decades. You know the imagery: models in thongs, pot leaf clothing, and thick clouds of smoke. It’s the counter-culture of cannabis, and until lately, it has been the tried-and-true way of marketing to connoisseurs.
Yet as recreational use becomes more mainstream, these cliches are becoming less and less relevant to the growing cannabis market.
In anticipation of this shift, many businesses are positioning themselves as far away from the counter-culture as possible. And this is the best possible choice they could make.
“We are tired of the clichés. Every brand doesn’t have to use the color green or have leaves plastered over it. Not every brand needs to look like the Grateful Dead or Cheech and Chong. There is an opportunity for professional people in this industry.”
Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings
Reform Marijuana Marketing:
Abandon Cannabis Cliches
The cannabis industry isn’t the first to emerge with a negative social stigma (think alcohol post-prohibition). But just like taboo industries of the past, it’s more important now than ever that cannabis businesses eliminate the counter-culture associations in order to continue expanding into the mainstream market.
It’s the negative stereotypes that opposers are holding onto. So it’s time that we take the marijuana industry seriously. (Tweet this!)
How can we do this? By changing our message
1. Build a Respectable Cannabis Brand
Your branding determines how outsiders view your business and how customers interact with it. Having a strong logo, color scheme, and design identity that successfully avoid the cliches will create a memorable brand that will be respected by all types of consumers for years to come.
2. Change Your Vocabulary
Of course, no one is telling you to avoid mentioning that your business is cannabis-based. But there is a common vernacular that is very attached to negative cliches, and therefore worth avoiding in marijuana marketing altogether.
Terms like reefer, sticky icky, ganja, dope, wacky tobaccy, and others might have been relatable to the underground crowd, but today’s average consumer is far less impressed by cheeky nicknames. Use these phrases with caution, and always try to be as professional as possible with any written content that represents your brand.
3. Be Present in your Community
Right now, the cliches are still defining the cannabis industry because that’s what society is familiar with. Since it’s much more difficult to hold onto stereotypes that are constantly being disproven, the absolute best thing that businesses can do is put themselves out there and interact with the public.
Vend & Network at trade shows, buy public advertising space, and speak openly about your involvement in the industry. The more that people can humanize cannabis companies, the easier it will be for them to embrace the industry’s growth (and the harder it will be to deny legalization elsewhere).