Expert: Cannabis Industry Could Use a Branding Makeover

The marijuana industry needs a branding makeover – big time.

So says an expert on business logos, who argues cannabis businesses must move beyond the familiar cannabis leaf logo if they hope to distinguish their own brand from those of rivals.

“Because legal pot is still a novelty, the leaf itself is enough to attract business. But as marijuana becomes legally available on a more widespread basis, its branding is going to have to move beyond the generic leaf to incorporate more distinctive visual elements,” University of Northern Arizona sociologist James Bowie argues in a blog on Slate.

Bowie has considerable credibility on the matter of business logos. He analyzes patterns and trends in logo design using quantitative analysis of data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Bowie’s analysis of that data found that 44% of logos registered as trademarks for marijuana-related businesses feature the cannabis leaf.

“As a result, marijuana branding is visually indistinct. Even when the heavy-hitters of branding and design have been brought in, avoiding the easy design solution represented by the leaf has proved difficult,” Bowie says, citing the pot leaf logo for rapper Snoop Dogg’s new Leafs by Snoop marijuana line.

5 comments on “Expert: Cannabis Industry Could Use a Branding Makeover
  1. Karen Freese on

    The biggest misconception in cannabis industry is the belief that a logo is the brand! It’s a visual tactic. It says very little about what a brand represents, how people engage with it, experience it, or feel about it. It’s true stereotypes run rampant in names, logos, imagery, and celebrity brands. If one had to guess, many of these companies will rebrand within 3 years, if they make it that far. Better to consider how to address now then lose all the equity that is earned by solid brand foundation, positioning, and addressing what customers want!

    Reply
  2. Susan Wilson on

    Karen is correct the logo is not the brand. The brand is what your customers experience in walking through your door, reading your website, talking with your front-line staff and the quality of the product you provide. Organizations must look at the brand experience their customer has as that is what drives loyalty. That is not to say that your logo is not important. It is the recognizable image that your customer uses to connect with the brand experience. You do not want to work to create an excellent brand experience and then have your customer confuse your company with another because a shop opens across town and the logos look alike. Create a unique logo and positive customer experience that will make your customers recommend you to others.

    Reply
  3. Grant on

    I am so glad this opportunity has arisen to address the issue of Names. I believe the power players in the industry should begin a campaign to drop
    (stop using) the terms “Marijuana (a Mexican pejorative) or “Pot”or”Weed”
    or “Dope” or “Ganja”. Its rightful and correct name is Cannabis. If you think about it for a few minutes you may begin to hear it in your mind. How much better the image and thus emotional response. Your thoughts?

    Reply

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