With Cannabis, Hemp and CBD gaining rapid popularity across the United States, it is no surprise that companies are beginning to invest and explore the possibilities that their brand can play in the future of cannabusiness. “The cannabis space is the wild west of licensing” remarked Michael Stone, Chairman and Co- founder of Beanstalk, at the Wednesday Advertising Week seminar ‘Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD: How Licensing Programs Can Turn Brands into Leaders’. Beanstalk is a global brand extension licensing agency which helps companies to strengthen their relationship with consumers by extending their brand names into other close core product categories through licensing.
Currently, the cannabis industry is filled with a multitude of different products that are created and sold by various brands and dispensaries. All of this makes it extremely difficult for the consumer to navigate the industry such as understanding what exactly each product is, what brands they can trust, and what they should ultimately be buying.
Allison Annes, the President and CEO of Beanstalk, explained that demystifying the cannabis environment for the consumer is what will help to boost revenue because it will create an atmosphere in which consumers are comfortable. If cannabis products were to be sold in pharmacies under known and trusted brand names, there would be a lot more users and people benefitting from its use.
Celebrities have been the ones licensing their names to products within the cannabis market, which has proven enormously successful for many of them like Mike Tyson and Willie Nelson. Branding is all about building trust, so by attaching names like these which consumers know to products, they are more likely to trust and buy them. For example, if consumers did not know and love the brand Coca-Cola they would not know which fizzy brown soda they should buy.
Consumer Packaged Good (CPG) companies have the opportunity to fill the space that many celebrities are currently occupying by licensing their brand names. As Michael Stone mentioned, “Cannabis is a blank canvas for brands right now”, they have the ability to begin aligning their name in one of the biggest up and coming industries. Brand extension licensing is what will mobilize the normalization of THC, CBD, and hemp products.
The best way for brands to spark their growth and success in the industry is through the process of education. Informing the consumer about these products and attaching a name they already know and trust will help to create a more approachable market. The cannabis industry is still evolving at an exponential rate, and to allow for consumer growth it will and is already beginning to shift away from the head shop feel of many small dispensaries.
We can see this shift in retail experience with the opening of larger stores like Planet 13 in Las Vegas, which has been compared to being the Wal-Mart of dispensaries. The movement of brand names into the cannabusiness through brand extension licensing, along with the creation of a seamless and comfortable retail experience is what will revolutionize the industry. It will drive profit, normalize cannabis, and allow for brands to become the leaders of the future.
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