Walk into any recreational cannabis dispensary and you’ll see them: the soccer dads, the PTA moms, the book club members, and the baby boomers. They are your neighbors and co-workers, and maybe even your parents and grandparents. While they may hurry through the store or send someone else in their stead, they all want the same thing: cannabis. It’s their unique reasons and needs that offer a wide range of options for cannabis brands to reach them. They are the coveted New Cannabis Customer.
With nationwide legalization in Canada, recreational legalization in 10 states and medical marijuana legalization in 33 states, the number of new potential cannabis buyers grows every day. While this means a diverse range of new potential consumers, the New Cannabis Customers are increasingly women, over the age of 55, and mothers.
As cannabis companies expand from the first wave of consumers—those who were partaking in it long before legalization, those who wore pot leaf clothing with pride, and those who pushed for reform in the first place—to the second, more mainstream wave, they must take into account that the old way of branding may no longer work. Brands that once sold to younger male demographics will find themselves struggling to reach new customers if they don’t grow beyond the stoner stereotype.
Reasons to Rebrand your Cannabis Company
One option for reaching the New Cannabis Customer is to rebrand. To rebrand is to rethink and re-present your company to your audience, with the hope of balancing the retention of your old audience while attracting a new audience. The steps for the rebranding process are many, depending on how full-scale of an overhaul you and your company wants. On the menu of services when rebranding, you’ll find a brand strategy, logo redesign, writing new website copy, and creating new collateral, among many other options.
When considering how in-depth of a rebrand you want in order to reach the New Cannabis Customer, consider what they want in a cannabis brand. Menopausal or perimenopausal women are turning to it for pain relief and insomnia, younger women for stress relief and anxiety, not to mention the many people with chronic pain and illness who are finding their way to medicinal cannabis. It’s harder to approach cannabis as medicine or another wellness option if it’s packaged like the cover of a Cheech and Chong movie.
Packaging for the People
Package your products, market your brand, and present your company in a way that’s mindful of the interests and needs of the new diverse customer base. This also applies to how you talk about your company in the media. A publicity campaign that focuses strictly on cannabis media is preaching to the choir. These are important outlets for this industry and the cannabis community at large, but it’s not what the New Cannabis Customer is reading. Think less High Times and more O Magazine, SELF instead of DOPE. Better yet, reach out to both markets and also take advantage of new publications finding a niche at the intersection of cannabis and lifestyle like Broccoli and Gossamer.
Leveraging Events to Promote a Rebrand
When considering events, find ways for new consumers to interact with your company through experiential marketing that is inviting, educational, and focused on self-care. If all of your past events were Cannabis Cups and concerts, balance those with a High Tea or a women’s educational circle.
But don’t forget about your original clientele, the OG Cannabis Customer. There are still plenty of people who consume cannabis for fun or as an alternative to alcohol (this author included). You don’t have to lose your identity entirely in order to attract people who haven’t consumed cannabis in the past and are approaching it primarily as a wellness tool. The great thing about cannabis is that it’s multi-faceted. It’s a healing plant, a social lubricant, and a tool to help you to relax and center yourself. It offers something for everyone.
There is a whole new market of consumers who are seeking better information about cannabis. The cannabis industry’s survival depends on the wider acceptance of cannabis use as a part of our everyday health and wellness. If a cannabis brand thinks of itself as an item on a mom’s drugstore list—vitamins, sunscreen, CBD topical—it can position itself to fill this lucrative niche.