The Surprising Thing That’s More Valuable Than Your Product
Your brand is the critical success factor that's more important than the quality of your product.
So, you have the perfect cannabis product.
It’s loaded with THC, CBD, and the trendiest minor cannabinoids. The consumption experience is ideal. And the flavor? It’s out-of-this-world.
You’re confident that you’re ready to take the market by storm—no need to waste time with tiresome marketing campaigns or fussy branding exercises, right?
We see these same thought processes with so many emerging cannabis brands. You’ve spent years, decades in some cases, pouring your heart and soul into R&D, and you just don’t want to wait any longer to introduce the latest and greatest thing to eager cannabis consumers.
But without a robust marketing strategy, even the highest quality brands have trouble distinguishing themselves enough to attract a loyal customer base.
Here’s why even the best product isn’t good enough to stand independently without the right marketing—and how Hybrid can help.
A Crowded Marketplace
Cannabis demand keeps growing—but so do the number of brands vying to meet it. Industry experts estimate that around 3,000 cannabis brands are currently operating in the American marketplace, which means your brand faces significant competition.
You might think that having a superior product is enough to help you stand out from the crowd.
But without a coherent branding strategy targeting the kinds of consumers that will appreciate what your brand offers, you’ll struggle to gain traction with key audiences in the early days before word of mouth can begin to work its magic.
Even as your product gains traction with a small audience, your progress will quickly slow without exceptional branding.
A high-quality product can stand independently, but you can’t always trust individual consumers to spread the news effectively. Waiting for your reputation to precede you takes time, and it’s unpredictable.
While marketing takes more initial effort, its results are exponentially more effective.
With a well-reasoned branding and marketing strategy, you’ll be prepared to meet consumers where they are rather than waiting for them to come to you.
Marketing your brand is essential, but how can it increase your product’s impact on the marketplace? Let’s take a closer look.
Branding Adds Value
Consider the perspective of a curious cannabis consumer encountering your product for the first time in their friendly neighborhood dispensary.
They’ve encountered products of every description, making claims about purity and superiority that can be difficult to prove.
So what makes them decide on your product over the others? Branding and packaging.
With a coherent branding strategy, your product is ready to impress.
You’ll have packaging, design, and copy that stands out from the crowd—and the high-quality product that proves what’s on the inside also counts. Your product will do the rest once you’ve caught their eyes with branding.
But the real marketing work starts long before your target consumer hits that dispensary aisle.
Studies show it takes about 5-7 unique impressions for consumers to remember your brand. Remembrance breeds a sense of familiarity that makes consumers more likely to opt for your brand and feel that they’re getting a higher-quality product.
With the right marketing strategy, consumers will experience a sense of familiarity the first time they see your brand in person. Then, when they’re deciding between you and your competitors, familiarity and affinity will make you the easy choice.
Even better, as you continue building your brand presence, they’ll be drawn to make repeat purchases not simply because your product quality is superior but because they feel aligned with and emotionally connected to your brand’s aesthetics and values.
Case Study: How Cookies Used Branding to Become an Industry Giant
What does successful cannabis branding look like in the real world? Groundbreaking cannabis brand Cookies can serve as a perfect example.
Since its launch in 2012, Cookies has been a cannabis industry icon. They’re instantly recognizable by their cheerful blue and white logo, which can be spotted on the hoodies, caps, and button-downs of weed-loving adults from coast to coast.
Their brand is so strong that they have an entire store in Spain that only sells clothing—not a single flower in sight!
The Cookies success story is deeply rooted in the vision of founder Gilbert Milam Jr., aka Berner, who established Cookies as a lifestyle brand representing all the things people love about cannabis culture.
While legend has it that the Cookies streetwear brand was born from a desire to circumvent the federal laws that prevented cannabis brands from trademarking their names in 2021, Berner quickly saw that he had a powerful marketing tool on his hands.
Cookies isn’t just about the flower. It’s about the lifestyle, a laid-back, effortlessly cool hip hop swagger that consumers want to feel part of.
By using marketing strategies to closely align his California-grown strains with a particular vision of what it means to be a cannabis consumer, Berner built one of the strongest brands in cannabis history. Now it’s your turn to do the same.
What Hybrid Can Do For You
In a burgeoning cannabis marketplace, Hybrid is here to help you stand out from the crowd.
We work closely with our clients to identify the consumers who are the best match for what their product has to offer and develop the language, persona, and aesthetic presence that will get them excited and engaged.
For us, a successful marketing strategy means speaking your customer’s language and knowing what they want before they do.
Collaborating with you, we’ll create a brand that shouts your product’s advantages from the rooftops and a framework for marketing it to help spread the good news.
Branding is essential—and it’s tough to nail it yourself.
Building the expertise to identify your core consumer, establish a brand voice, and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy takes considerable time and expertise. But if you’re not investing that time, you’re leaving money on the table.