We often tell our clients, "your packaging acts as your salesman on the shelf." You obviously can't have a sales rep standing beside your product at every dispensary to tell your brand story, so the packaging must communicate your brand's mission, vision and promise.
Are you a cultivator or processor? As dispensaries become more crowded with new products, your packaging design will convince a consumer or patient that your product is worth picking up and trying for the first time — better yet, worth purchasing for years to come! Are you a dispensary? If the cultivator doesn’t supply pre-packaged flower, this is an opportunity to market your own brand. When a customer leaves your dispensary, they could walk out with well-designed packaging that serves as free advertising for your business.
Before you plan to order the cheapest cannabis packaging materials in bulk, take some time to think about the way you want your brand to be perceived.
Packaging for Seven Point, a dispensary in Oak Park, IL
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Your cannabusiness should produce packaging that will cohere to the experience you're providing. It’s important to spend time getting to know your target audience in order to provide the perfect experience they desire and value.
It’s not just about determining who your target audience is, but what they want, need and value. What other brands do they like? Where do they tend to shop? What social media sites can you find them on? What are their pain points? Why are they consuming cannabis? All of this information will help drive the design process for your entire brand identity which carries through to your packaging.
Millennial males, for example, tend to be interested in the latest and greatest technology or way to consume cannabis. They’ll probably relate more positively to product packaging that is minimal, clean, and contains a more masculine color palette. Baby Boomers who are trying infused topicals or ointments for the first time might be intimidated by logos or packaging with pot leafs. They might be more responsive to products that look similar to something they would find at CVS.
KNOW THE CONTEXT
Before you begin designing your cannabis packaging, check out the dispensaries where they'll be sold. it's wise to step foot into the potential environments your product will be sold in. That way, you can imagine how your packaging will stand apart from (or fit in with) other similar products.
If sold in a dispensary, it's likely products will be stacked with many others on a shelf. How will they fit? Will they stand upright on a standard sized shelf? Will they get placed on the bottom shelf due to its size or shape? Perhaps your edibles are sold in a resealable bag. Will they be placed on a table or hung on a hook or behind a glass counter? If you want complete control of how your products are displayed, it might be worth the investment to provide a well-designed point-of-purchase display that will separate your products from competitors. This is a great way to oder additional marketing opportunities .
It's easy to imagine extravagant, unique packaging for your cannabis product, but if it's not realistic for the environment in which it's sold, you could be wasting valuable time and money.
In the cannabis industry, designing packaging that looks great in addition to complying with state regulations poses a unique challenge. As specialists in cannabis branding and design, we research each state's individual cannabis packaging laws to ensure products are ready to safely hit the shelves. There are numerous regulations regarding displayed information that come into play with packaging design. Failure to meet all regulations for your state's program could cost you thousands of dollars in fines. To avoid citations or taking a loss on ordered packaging that isn't compliant with state regulations, we advise erring on the side of safety.
Does it need to be opaque? Child-proof or child-resistant? Is the packaging limited to a certain color palette? Is your packaging large enough to fit all the information required by your state’s marijuana program? Is the type too small, not allowing patients to read the proper dosage? Each state has different laws and regulations, so plan ahead if you plan to expand into different regions!
CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIAL (SUBSTRATE)
Like all other visual aspects of the brand, the packing container helps tell the brand’s story and what it stands for. The materials used will also differ determining on your target audience. There are many options for recycled or compostable packaging to minimize waste. If your company promotes an active outdoors lifestyle or your customers enjoying your product in nature, you might invest in sustainable packaging to show you share the value of your consumers. If your brand sells high-end strains, it's possible to have your product come in reusable glass jars or tins as opposed to containers made of cardboard or plastic.
Older patients that use cannabis for arthritis might find trouble with child-proof bottles. Will they be able to access their medicine that comes in twist off child-proof bottles? In this case, pop-top child-resistant containers may be more effective and speak directly to the needs of these patients. Products such as infused teas or sodas will clearly be stored in refrigerators or damp environments. Is the label waterproof? Is the dosing clearly printed on the label? If hand-written, it might smear when wet!
There are many variables to consider when designing state-compliant, targeted packaging for cannabis products. By investing in brand strategy and smart and well-designed packaging, you can elevate your cannabis brand and give yourself a competitive edge in this rapidly-growing industry.