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The Power of Packaging for Brands in Emerging Markets: Cannabis

Brand perception factors into any strategy for a new business. But for a new business in an emerging market, branding can be the make or break factor in its success. Unlike established markets where startups have the benefit of gleaning insights from market leaders, those in emerging markets are building brands in uncharted territory. That doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies to navigate a successful path forward, it does however mean effectively positioning your brand from the start. One of the best ways to successfully position a brand is with well-produced packaging.

Here are a few examples of startups leveraging the power of packaging to position their brands and grow market share in the growing vertical of cannabis.

Bloom Farms was is a cannabis company on a mission to bring safe and enjoyable products to those looking to include cannabis as part of their lifestyle. And at the same time, removing the negative social stigma associated with category. To help achieve this vision, they worked with Oakland based, Pavement to position their brand and its products in a modern, sophisticated way.

By including high end finishing and tactile materials in their packaging, Bloom Farms establishes a sense of trust, authenticity and sophistication in its products, making it a stand-out brand in its category. Pavement strategically used different colored paper stocks to differentiate products, and give the consumer a way to quickly associate their favorite choice.

Another brand embracing high-end finishing and premium papers when it comes to their packaging design, is Daddy Grey Beard. With inspiration  from the growing process, Seattle agency Urban Influence designed packaging that reflects the level of detail put into crafting their product. They used finishes like embossing, foil stamping and spot UV coating to convey the level of quality their target audience of “cannabis connoisseurs” expects.

When it comes to building a brand in an emerging market like cannabis, creatives can look to similar verticals like coffee, craft chocolate and nutraceuticals for inspiration. The same brand identity elements of packaging apply to any new market. What will differentiate a brand on the shelf is all in the execution of the production details.

For creatives, approaching a packaging project like another print component of the brand identity may give rise to issues later in the production process. This is when leaning on material experts like Millcraft, consultating throughout the process, and using print and paper samples can really help the creative vision emerge.

Beyond the typical production details of paper, ink and finishing there is the added consideration of structural engineering as it relates to the packaging design itself. This is the time to involve the packaging printer. They will help determine the best means of production to meet the desired outcome. They understand not only the aesthetic aspirations of the design, but also the important touch points in the user experience that may include potential shipping considerations.

As with traditional offset printing, packaging is custom production. For best results involve both your paper and packaging reps earlier in the process. Both are great resources in determining the best production details for successful packaging design. Learn more about how to use packaging to successfully position a brand in a new or existing market,