To Leaf or Not To Leaf: That is the Cannabis Branding Question

There are pros and cons to using an image of a cannabis leaf for branding and markeing your company.
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Aah, the lovely cannabis leaf. A humble symbol of health, well-being, and a good time. What was once drenched in tie die and Rasta colors is now getting a makeover. To date, half of the United States can legally smoke medical marijuana and eight states are legal for adult-use. New markets are to open in 2019 and business owners need to explore more ways to express the satisfying effects of their product.

Any other long-standing industry already has an established “look”. We can walk into a store and easily spot a high quality bar of chocolate. Cannabis is just too new of an industry to have that. Why not use that to our advantage?

Really. How does using a world-recognized symbol help you stand out? Think free of restrictions and explore different symbolism of cannabis in your branding.

"But the cannabis leaf is so well recognized by users and non-users alike", you say. That’s what makes it tempting for entrepreneurs to use the symbol for their primary branding. Studies find the logic works, we can interpret a symbol in the blink of an eye. It also looks like other people agree with this idea as well. The United States Patent and Trademark Office shows 44% of logos registered as trademarks for marijuana-related businesses feature the humble cannabis leaf.

We aren’t the first industry to experience this growing pain. Dentists, barber shops, veterinarians, and more are often guilty of using clichéd symbols in their branding. Regardless of the industry, if you don’t highlight anything that makes your brand unique, you’ll just blend back into the crowd.

Now don't go ripping apart your pot laced branding. Instead, treat the leaf as an icon on packaging to inform the user about the contents of your product. Take advantage of centuries of symbolism and potentially save someone from that embarrassing ER trip. Below is an example of a California company that successfully uses cannabis leaves in their branding.

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Conscious Creations Products uses a crest for their logo taking advantage of all the elements that aid in the creation of their product. They highlight the bright California sun that grows the organic cannabis that they later use in their medicated topicals. Surrounding their brand name are two strong stalks of cannabis, fresh from harvest. The cannabis leaves are subtle but still translate to the customer what to expect when using their product.

Open a copy of the Northwest Leaf or Dope Magazine and explore the different ways brands express themselves to their target audience. Like with any product, knowing who you are marketing to will help you explore your brand further. For marijuana, that may no longer be aging hippies, skateboarders, or burner classmates. The consumer market is already more varied than most people assume, and it’s likely to to continue to diversify as stigma lifts. Men and women of all legal ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds may soon be soon experiencing their first dances with Mary Jane.

Author bio:

Savina Fierrohellomonet.com

High there, I'm Savina and I make damn good designs for the cannabis industry. No really, it's the reason I get up in the morning. Giving form to your idea. Design of your products. Creative content to your empty wall. Anything from print to digital and all with a personal touch.

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