2020 Vision: Branding Green

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I was driving home from Physical therapy (#motorcycles) and thinking about a lot of the conversations I’ve been having lately with brands, marketers and ad tech folks looking to participate in the cannabis space. In the last few weeks, we have had the good fortune of attending events around cannabis hosted by folks in either the advertising industry or hosted by folks in the cannabis industry. One of the things that is painfully obvious is that Ad Tech is knocking and trying to figure out how to play in this space – some (like us) love cannabis and just know a ton about really effective digital marketing, others, are marketers who see an opportunity for a new industry. It doesn’t make any of us cooler than each other (except when we were in high school) – just a matter of fact.

Away from the compliance angle (different conversation) below is a list of things I think will be very interesting to watch unfold in 2020 as brands and not just products become a key piece in strategic growth for canna companies. The list below are things I’ve been thinking about as we start interfacing with more and more brands and agencies.

a) Demographic Branding – It’s no secret that baby boomers are a huge growth demographic for brands. Something I commonly bring up in meetings is that my mother and I (sorry mom, you’re ousted) both enjoy cannabis – how brands speak to both of us in the same market or across markets is going to be interesting. Not every brand is going to be part of a larger holding company that can create different voices for their different target audiences. While players like Kiva speak successfully (IMO) to a broad array of shoppers we all know brands that speak more to a given niche. Will brands double down on being super niche? Will they be forced to try to appeal to the mass market?

b) Cannabis culture and the personal experience – The cannabis culture in LA is very different than the culture in the Midwest which is different than the culture in the Garden State. This is mostly a consideration for MSO’s now due to the nature of being in multiple states, it will be fun to see how smaller MSO’s or Cannabis companies leveraging CBD to get into new markets manage locality while moving 1,000,000 miles an hour keeping up with legislation, growth, acquisitions etc.

Maybe cannabis is just cannabis with a one size fits all application? I still get giddy and all warm and fuzzy about cannabis from purchase to consumption – will it ever be just a packaged good you can pick up like a sixer of some Bud Heavy?

c) Paid Video Content – We now offer Connected Television to clients in addition to Pre-Roll Video for web and mobile. Some of our peers and friends in the space offer digital screens in and outside of dispensaries. How long until we see a cannabis ad on certain national TV Networks? When brands do move to video – is it product based? Brand value-based? Social Equity-Based? Cramming all of that in :15 – :30 seconds will be tough – which company will be the first to move with a national video campaign? How soon after will competitors start answering with their own paid video content.

d) Experiential – this has been in a thing in adult rec states for a while with smaller events. 2019 saw the emergence of large, corporate-backed events with cannabis components. Music and bud are a natural marriage and I think we will see more and more festivals with cannabis experiences. Where else will cannabis rear its wonderful green head? (IDK its been a long day 😊)

Still, some Q4 left to go but 2020 is right around the corner…I can see it….

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I see you 2020.

Hit me up anytime – Adam@safe-reach.com