As I’ve explained in previous posts, while strains will still carry some weight with growers, the consumers of the future are not going to concern themselves with strain.
They will make purchases based on the outcome(s) they want.
They’ll choose products with labels that read anxiety, depression, pain, sleep, etc. (as I explained in this post: What You Need to Know About Big Marijuana)
AND they’ll expect products to be 100% consistent.
Whether they purchase it in Los Angeles or London, they’ll demand that each product be the same every time.
Think about it…
If someone buys a 12-pack of Budweiser, a pack of Camel cigarettes, or staggers into a pharmacy in an opioid-induced trance and purchases a bottle of Norco or Xanax, they know exactly what they’re getting.
Consumers want that kind of certainty.
In fact, they demand it.
But is Sour Diesel, OG Kush, or Green Crack the same every time you buy it, no matter where you are?
Quality, flavor, and effect can vary greatly and often does.
In fact, right now our entire industry is ass backward…
Consumers look at the strain and then look to see what it does. And if they like it, they’re going to hope that next time they buy that strain it has the exact same effect. But from grower to grower and crop to crop, a strain can vary significantly in potency and effect.
So how do you keep marijuana consistent?
You make it a recombinant product.
Cigarettes are a recombinant product. They’re a mixture of different single origin strains of tobacco with other chemicals (like saltpeter, for example, to make them burn more evenly). In fact, the average cigarette is only 50 to 60 percent tobacco; the rest is filler.
Because Big Tobacco knows that whether you’re in Moscow, Miami, or London, the outcome the product provides needs to be the same.
In fact, everything about the product needs to be the same.
For example, cigarette smokers are extremely conscious of taste. If taste is inconsistent, they’ll switch brands.
Marijuana consumers will soon demand this same kind of consistency.
But how will they trust they’re purchasing a consistent product?
The same way those who purchase cigarettes and alcohol do: they’ll buy brands.
Makers of these brands will blend buds (most likely of different strains) together and then impregnate this blended flower material with extracted terpenes and cannabinoids, producing a recombinant product that consistently provides the consumer with the outcome they want.
And the look, feel, smell, and taste will always be the same.
When consumers bounce into a 7-11, grocery store, pharmacy, or gas station, they’re not going to look for strains.
They’re going to select an outcome-based product made by their favorite brand.
If Marlboro was their brand, for example, they could choose from Marlboro Sleepy Time, Marlboro Pain-Free, Marlboro Anti-Anxiety, Marlboro Focus, etc.
So, if I were to release my own line of recombinant marijuana products, I might call the umbrella brand BigMike’s Blends.
And under that umbrella, I might offer…
- BigMike’s Blends Pain Relief
- BigMike’s Blends Sleep
- BigMike’s Blends PTSD
- BigMike’s Blends Energy
- BigMike’s Blends Men’s Libido
- BigMike’s Blends Women’s Libido
- BigMike’s Blends Anxiety
By the way, the most sought-after outcomes will be restful sleep, pain relief, and anxiety relief. So products that deliver those outcomes will sell better than ones targeting other end results like productivity and enhanced sex.
And just like cigarette smokers will remain loyal to Marlboro, Camel, or American Spirit, marijuana users will find a brand and stick with it.
Right now marijuana is an agricultural product. But it’s quickly becoming a commodity like tobacco.
And while tobacco is a commodity, cigarette BRANDS are not.
If you’re going to sell strain, you’ll be selling a commodity and are going to get crushed.
Crushed by who?
The most successful brands will be produced by Big Marijuana.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own.
To build a strong brand…
Not only do you need a quality product, but your brand must have a purpose—your promise—that can be defined in one simple sentence.
And this purpose must be unique—different from every other brand on the market.
• Advanced Nutrients: “Raising the Bud Weights…and Reputations…of Top Growers.”
• FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
• Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”
• Southwest Airlines: “We are THE low-cost airline.”
• Target: “Expect More. Pay Less.”
• GEICO: “15 Minutes Could Save You 15 Percent or More on Car Insurance.”
• Avis: “We’re number two. We try harder.”
• NyQuil: “The nighttime, coughing, achy, sniffling, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine.”
• M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Your team must understand your purpose and be on board with it 100%. Any team members not on board should get the boot.
Your message and your product must be consistent.
And you must make your customers FEEL—on an emotional level—part of something bigger than themselves, something they can be proud of.
Consumers are attracted to brands that appear to have meaning that matches their personal values.
They want to be part of a brand—belong to a brand—that stands for what they stand for themselves, or would LIKE to stand for if they were the rock star—the ideal—versions of themselves.
Do this, and you will cultivate loyalty.
The topic of branding is a massive subject. I’ve spent the past almost two decades becoming a master at it and will post more about the subject in the future.
Because branding IS the future.
In the meantime, to better understand building a brand, I recommend the following books…
Creating Brand Meaning by Peter Steidl
The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin
Neurobranding by Dr. Peter Stiedl
What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn
Unlabel: Selling Without Selling by Marc Ecko
The Power of Cult Branding: How 9 Magnetic Brands Turned Customers into Loyal Followers by Matthew W. Ragas and Bolivar J. Bueno