Since publishing my article on the hexagon logo trend occurring in cannabis, I’ve been asked pretty regularly: “well, should companies follow cannabis branding trends or not?”
As a rule of thumb, I would say this: If you want to set yourself apart from your competition and carve out a strong, dominant brand, RUN FROM TRENDS.
This advice falls in line with the collective marketing wisdom in the cannabis space, which goes a little something like this:
“No matter what you do, SAY NO TO THE GREEN LEAF!”
There is a lot of truth to that warning: to remain competitive in this industry as it begins to mushroom and mature, brands must evolve beyond the stoner-culture archetypes and language that no longer resonate with the cannabis customer – because that customer has changed. And if you’re not designing for your customer, or worse – you don’t know who your customer is – you might as well close up shop now. Like, for realz, guys.
If you’re not designing for your customer, or worse – you don’t know who your customer is – you might as well close up shop now.Click to tweet
SIDENOTE: simply being “different” is not enough to drive people to your brand. If you’re different from your competition, but your brand, packaging, or product looks like somebody’s poorly executed craft project, it will still go untouched.
Green leaf or not, cannabis or not, there exist some real drawbacks to trend following:
1. It’s much harder to differentiate yourself in the marketplace – in a sea of green bottles, people will always clamor for the [equally stylish] red box.
2. When trends become overused, consumers begin to shirk them and consider them passé, lame or GASP! even repellent. Think about that song you liked before it was put on every major radio station’s daytime playlist. Now you friggen’ hate it, curse the radio and the gods for ever introducing it to your ears.
3. All trends have an expiration date – your brand identity (which should be timeless) will not have staying power beyond the cultural fad from which it sprung.
Does that mean you should never consider using a cannabis branding trend? Actually, no.
Why not? Read the explanation it in Part 2 – COMING SOON.