The cannabis industry has been around for a while, but with legalization increasing in states across the country, it should be no surprise that the market is becoming more and more competitive. When Brand Joint matured from an idea to reality, we were surprised by how many cannabis branding companies existed on the West Coast. However, to our knowledge, there are very few that are up and running east of the Rockies.

As various states continue to accept medical marijuana programs, we felt that our branding experience and presence will be beneficial to both medical and recreational cannabis businesses. Though we may be one of the few cannabis specific branding studios in the East, it's certain that many more will follow.

As the cannabis industry emerges, there are several noticeable comparisons to the world of craft beer. When microbreweries and craft breweries starting hitting shelves and coolers, logo and package design made all the difference. The creative design itself was a visual representation of what differentiated craft breweries from the "big dogs"  — Budweiser, Coors, Miller, etc. Small batch beers were hand-crafted, creative and thought-provoking. Packaging suddenly had character and personality. It could be argued that the thought and effort put into beer packaging design influenced purchasing decisions before even tasting the beverage.

Several years later, craft beer has erupted into what now makes up 11% of beer sales in the United States. If that percentage seems small, imagine the beer section at your nearest liquor or grocery store. Pretty crowded, right? There are hundreds of breweries competing for a stake in that 11%!

When you're competing for any space on a shelf, even if it's not within eye level, logo, package design, and overall branding strategy is crucial to a brewery's success. Even the big dogs are updating their branding and logo design to compete with the extremely competitive craft selection. After Miller Lite switched to their old school white logo for an Anchorman 2 promotion in 2014, sales rocketed. So much so, that it stuck. Just this past year, Budweiser redesigned their logo and packaging.

The point is, beer brands can not maintain the status quo and neither can cannabis businesses. 24 states plus D.C. currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, whether its recreational or a medical marijuana program. That's an opportunity for a lot of cannabusinesses to grow.

Sure, the "big dog" edible companies out West can hope to thrive on past success and name recognition alone, but the clock is ticking. It's only a matter of time before a more delicious tasting (and looking) product winds up on the shelf. High-quality products with smart design and brand strategy will emerge as the industry's leaders. Is your cannabis business ready?