What is the creative to do when giving shape and voice to the herb?

Create new expectations

Modern cannabis users are not looking to get stoned. In fact, those that do, would happily go back to pre-regulation days. There’s a world of new applications for cannabis, and innovation and branding are in charge of shaping the market. If you look to build value in the category, start with science and innovation. Regulation replaces getting high with micro-dosing: find ways to incorporate cannabis in people’s daily activities and routines to improve their experience and performance.

Define your own category

In cannabis, segmentation and categorization inhibit innovation. People consume cannabis seeking a diversity of benefits and for a range of reasons. Don’t fall for categorizations like recreational or medicinal, smokeable or edible, body or mind. Cannabis is a crop with cultural value, and consumers are open to experimentation. Resist the temptation to infuse your favorite snack and, instead, bring a bold, new, relevant proposal to market.

Find your own customer

Innovation is turning stereotypes into clichés. New, needs-focused customers are thirsty for new ways to bring the benefits of cannabis into their lives. Our research confirmed that people use cannabis to help them concentrate at work, tame social anxiety and improve athletic endurance, both contrastingly different applications. However, you’ll be surprised to see how similar they can be. To truly break through, you’ll need to focus on responding to needs, from formulation, to dispensation, ritualization and design.

Create a language

Innovation is turning stereotypes into clichés. New, needs-focused customers are thirsty for new ways to bring the benefits of cannabis into their lives. Our research confirmed that people use cannabis to help them concentrate at work, tame social anxiety and improve athletic endurance, both contrastingly different applications. However, you’ll be surprised to see how similar they can be. To truly break through, you’ll need to focus on responding to needs, from formulation, to dispensation, ritualization and design.

Learn to zig

Regulations affect every aspect of the cannabis supply chain, from growing to distillation, formulation, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and marketing. Regulations are getting stricter, and are still being updated. Changes can be expensive and have even driven some brands out of business. You’ll need to learn the rules, stay informed and anticipate future changes.

Design Executive, Startup Mentor, Professor

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