As much as it sucks, not every customer out there is going to see your Instagram page. They may never shake your hand at your booth at a cannabis event, or even see your demo at the dispensary by their house.
However, every person who even thinks about buying your product is going to see, handle, and otherwise interact with your packaging at some point.
It needs to stand out.
Make it memorable and functional enough to create a strong customer experience, as well as catch the customers’ eyes from over there on the shelf - - or in the case.
As the legalization of marijuana continues to spread, cannabis packaging evolves and grows all the time. But, overall, there are things each individual cannabis business can do to set their product apart from the rest, and make sure their brand stands out in their customers’ minds.
It all comes down to creative and innovative cannabis packaging. Most of the styles out there aren’t all that unique or innovative.
In fact, they all tend to really look the same, whether it be bags, glass jars, plastic bottles and tubes, or boxes.
Here are the top 6 ways to put a creative spin on your brand’s cannabis packaging, so you can showcase your product in the most effective way possible.
Top 6 Cannabis Packaging Tips
01. Showcase the Flower
This seems like it should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many of the cannabis packages out there fail to flaunt the flower - or other product - they’re supposed to be showcasing.
From inappropriately sized mylar bags to crooked and misplaced logos, much of today’s cannabis packaging doesn’t do justice to the product inside.
Sure, it’s better than small Ziploc baggies or prescription bottles, but cannabis packaging still has a lot of evolving to do.
Weed doesn’t sell itself these days.
With cannabis use being legalized in so many places, something that was once illegal and hush-hush is now becoming popular and experiential.
The most successful cannabis brands extend that experience all the way to their packaging, as well.
02. Offer Variety
The design of the cannabis packaging is directly affected by the amount of flower the producer is selling. Because of this, the design you choose should be flexible enough to be aesthetically pleasing and functional in different sizes.
And great packaging starts with even greater branding and unforgettable cannabis packaging designs.
How do you want to position your brand within the cannabis industry? Think about your brand’s story - - How did you get to where you are now? Why did you choose the journey you did? What inspires you to continue in the cannabis industry, full of its regulatory hell, uncertain marketing, and formidable political opponents?
Share your brand story with an experienced graphic designer who will take into account your brand’s story, core values, and philosophies, and will be able to communicate your brand’s vision through the design of your cannabis packaging.
A savvy designer will be aware of what other industry players are up to, and they will be able to play up certain aspects you may not have otherwise thought of.
For example: Ensuring the distributor / co-packaging equipment is compatible with child-restraint packaging used for edibles.
Go Green - - er
The successful cannabis brands out there, especially those who strive to incorporate sustainability into each step of their production process, are all embracing natural-looking, recyclable packaging that is totally eco-friendly.
Think about it: How many of those shiny, plastic bags get thrown out once the weed is dumped out or finished off? Pretty much all of them.
That’s a shit-load of waste.
Use eco-friendly cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out. Kraft paper coffee bags may be intended for coffee and tea, but they’re an extremely popular option that evokes a positive response in your eco-friendly customers. Anyone who wants ethic, fair trade cannabis will be able to get what they’re looking for, without using materials that harm the environment.
Additionally, these blank paper bags offer a great way for cannabis brands to get creative with their designs.
In fact, brands can even take an innovative step further and add interactive elements to these bags, completely rethinking traditional cannabis packaging.
Sprout new roots within the cannabis industry with eye-catching, eco-friendly pouches that also include vibrant inserts. These accomplish two things: (1) Uses your cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out, and (2) educates the customer about the cannabis in the bag, such a by using stunning images of the buds within the bag. Each of the paper bags could have a little “Joey Pouch” / “Kangaroo Pocket” on the front panel, wherein the producers can include a unique strain card that represents each strain variety and product.
This would place emphasis on the design and presentation of the cannabis, which instills in the customer the idea of value, and uses the packaging to teach customers about your brand and its specific cannabis products.
Your cannabis brand can take its eco-friendly packaging even further by finding creative graphic designers and a printing company that offers eco-friendly, recycled paper and vegetable-based inks.
If sustainability is part of your brand’s mission, these steps would allow your brand to achieve that goal of using sustainable products and practices throughout each aspect of processing and / or production.
As a retailer, your brand would also benefit by showcasing products produced and packaged in sustainable, eco-friendly ways. Going green in a green store is always a great way to use cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out!
Use Action Graphics
Don’t shy away from things that are totally different!
Take a look at all the new research that shows how the food and beverage companies using images on their packaging that depicts motion and actions tend to be looked at more favorably than those with still images.
Customers that see the actionable images tend to perceive the products as being more “hip” and fresh, and more exciting, when the packaging depicts an image product being used (such as poured into a glass or a bowl).
Take this into consideration when creating cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out. Focus on showing your customers exactly what the bud looks like when it’s being snapped, ground, sniffed, burned, etc. This is a fantastic way to create a sensory customer experience that boosts sales the way they do for coffee commercials.
Have your customers handling cannabis packaging that highlights the revitalizing joy of taking that first hit during their wake and bake in the morning.
Your cannabis packaging may not be animated, but it can still make people think about all those relaxing mornings and joyful memories of jump-starting their day with a mug of delicious coffee and a fat bong rip of an energizing sativa.
This type of photography highlights the freshness of the cannabis inside, so it’s necessary that the cannabis packaging will go well with bold graphics, while still sealing in all the trichome and terpene goodness of the bud.
Take a hint from the coffee industry and use packaging manufactured with several high-quality, laminated layers. The bags with valve have 12% less film than the traditional bags, yet hold more grounds or beans than the standard fold-over bags.
It will seal in the aroma and freshness of the bud, while protecting it against light, air, moisture, and nose-y people.
If you really want your cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out on retail shelves, go with the flat bottom bags with valve. They’ll preserve the integrity of the bud better than other containers, and they offer a great canvas for your designs, logo, and labels.
New Options for Cannabis Beverages
Marijuana edibles include much more than just brownies and candy -- cannabis beverages are skyrocketing alongside bottled coffee and soda for consumers who want to be able to stay medicated while out and about.
Cannabis-infused beverages offer consumers a hard-to-beat drinking experience that’s guaranteed to elevate their mood far more than any standard beverage.
While all eyes seem to be on the soda and coffee industries when it comes to bottled beverages, there are some tips these industries offer for working with packaging suppliers to get their brand’s beverages onto store shelves - - and then into customers’ hands! - - as quickly as possible.
Now, standard plastic or glass bottles may seem like the obvious solution and go-to for cannabis-infused drinks. However, there are other options for prepare beverages that embrace the idea of variety and flexible packaging for cannabis products.
And, if you want cannabis packaging to make your brand stand out, variety and flexibility are everything.
Bottles are running the show, but convenient packaging like the stand-up drink pouches would help your brand stand out from the rest. They’ll preserve the flavor and the potency of the cannabis beverage, while still keeping it protected and out of children’s reach with a pliable, yet puncture-resistant container that can even stand up to large fluctuations in temperature.
If your cannabis brand is debuting new cannabis beverages, you can be sure to stand out from the crowd in this ever-growing industry by thinking outside the bottle and embracing lightweight, flexible cannabis packaging to market and sell your products.
03. Include Appropriate Warning Labels
This is a BIG one.
You want to be sure your cannabis packaging includes all the appropriate warning labels, so as to ensure it complies with state laws.
Having “illegal” cannabis packaging would certainly make your brand stand out, but not in the way you want.
When it comes to new cannabis products (we’re talking after January, 2018, here), California regulations mandate certain primary labeling. This includes: Font size with product identity, net volume and weight, and milligrams of cannabinoid content.
Edibles take things one step further, as well, with additional requirements and extra wording. This includes: The term “cannabis-infused”, a list of the ingredients, the date it was manufactured, the expiration date, what (if any) artificial ingredients are included, potential allergens (such as soy), and more.
All processors, producers, and cultivators are also required to adhere to specific stipulations for packaging and guidelines.
Furthermore, there’s the whole issue of Prop 65 requiring all businesses to provide customers with notice of the presence of any chemicals that are “known to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.”
In fact, there are nearly 900 identified chemicals that fall within this category, including cannabis smoke. While there is absolutely no concrete evidence that links cannabis smoke to cancer(s), this is still a requirement that will continue to affect cannabis brands throughout the entire distribution chain, as a Prop 65 warning was required after August 30, 2018.
04. Instructions Are Appreciated
Remember: There once was a time when you had no idea how to hit a bong. Or take a dab. Or even just roll a joint.
With the cannabis industry growing and evolving so rapidly following the recent legalization in more states, new cannabis consumers are coming onto the scene and are unfamiliar with how the industry works and has changed.
They need to be told exactly how to use a specific cannabis product. Don’t lose out on new cannabis consumers - - be sure your packaging includes very clear, specific instructions for how to consume or otherwise use the cannabis product inside.
It could be written instructions on how to hit a vape pen, or a little guide to how much of an edible treat someone should start with. No matter what the product is, clear instructions are crucial. After all, you REALLY don’t want your customer having a bad experience, or even just a frustrating one. With social media being so prevalent these days, issues like this can truly adversely affect your brand’s positioning, sales, and following.
It may seem small, but this one thing that will definitely have your cannabis packaging make your brand stand out from the rest.
05. Appeal to Customer Senses
One of the most important jobs your cannabis packaging has to make it easy for dispensaries to carry, promote, and display your products in their store and on their social media channels.
The more compelling and eye-catching your cannabis packaging design and labeling is, the better your product will stand out to the customers in the store and appeal to their senses. Which, in the end, makes the dispensary owner compelled to stock more of your product.
Just make it easy on them: Ensure your cannabis packaging and labeling adheres to all state and/or Federal regulations, that the packaging shows off the product as best as possible, and also expresses your brand’s values and philosophy.
Which brings us to the next point. . .
06. Communicate Brand Philosophy
Even though the customers aren’t really aware of it, one of the most important functions packaging has is marketing the brand.
The cannabis packaging is the first thing the browsing customer sees in the display cases or on the shelves. It’s aesthetic appeal and function is often the final opportunity your brand has to show it’s different (and better) than the competition.
So, if your current cannabis packaging choices are bland, not cohesive, or don’t look unique, then it’s not doing your brand a single bit of good.
Your cannabis packaging should be unique to your brand and your brand’s philosophy regarding social responsibility and eco-friendly practices.
Sure, that may not be the primary factor customers consider when choosing a brand, but the degree to which the company interacts with the environment does tend to carry a lot of weight in the cannabis market.
1. How energy-efficient are the manufacturing processes?
2. Are the raw materials used for your cannabis packaging utilized efficiently?
3. How much gas is required for shipping or delivering each unit?
4. How much waste, in general, is generated by cannabis packaging your brand is using?
5. Is your cannabis packaging landfill friendly? Is it recyclable?
07. Get Luxurious
I’m hugely in favor of luxury packaging, with plenty of inspiration to be found in the coffee, wine, fine chocolates, and even the cosmetic industries.
Most of the cannabis packaging that’s out there is borrowed right from the food industry. Take those glass jars, for example. They’re efficient, they’re cost-effective, and they are customizable. With just a touch of elegance, a standard ol’ glass jar can be upgraded, similarly to how they’re designed in the cosmetics industry.
Instead of the standard Mason-jar style closures, have unique lid closures for your jars.
Fine chocolates often come in compartmentalized boxes that are the perfect modality for housing and displaying something like a cannabis strain sampler set.
The possibilities really are endless!
When it comes to the world of cannabis packaging, manufacturers work with many different types of brands that want to find new ways to both protect AND present their products.
Cannabis brands turn to packaging companies and partners to learn all about the latest cannabis bags for sale, so they can make their brand stand out and embrace the latest packaging designs available today.
Whether they just want standard, plain stock bags or custom designed pouches for their flower and concentrates, cannabis producers and processors can set themselves apart by staying updated on cannabis packaging trends and working closely with their content marketers to think outside the proverbial box when it comes to function and design.
These tips and tricks will help cannabis brands like yours launch their new product varieties or shine new light on existing products, all while staying ahead in the cannabis industry and gaining new customers.
If you’re unsure of where to turn next, send Booklexia Content Marketing a message. With extensive experience working with cannabis brands of all types, from dispensaries to producers / processors to apparel companies, I can create engaging and compelling content that makes your cannabis brand a memorable one that stand out in this legalized and bustling industry. Many brands compete with one another, but not all of them succeed. I’ve got the knowledge, creativity, and experience necessary to make your cannabis brand stand apart from the rest. Just send me an email or use the contact form - - I’m here to help you lift your brand higher than your customers!