We haven’t seen great cannabis packaging in this industry. Not to say the packaging we produce isn’t top tier quality - it is. However, whenever we walk into shops as a team, we can’t help feeling like the branding & marketing of this industry simply lacks imagination. On the wall, there are 30 or so odd mylar bags, rows of product filled jars, and the lonely glass bottles of cannabis-infused soda delights. Yet, picking up any of these products lacks the sort of charm and excitement that cannabis products deserve. Upon close inspection, we find those same hallmark textures, die cuts, and information that we ourselves use in cannabis package production. This is all fine, of course, if your aim is to simply sell your product, keep compliant, and on brand. But we see an opportunity (and lost revenue) for the cannabis producers & processors of this industry that we can help them capitalize on.
Cannabis Packaging & Traditional Sales Promotion
McDonald's Monopoly promotional packaging | Photo by I am the PanRemember McDonald’s Monopoly marketing and sales promotion? It’s actually still around - and it’s not for no reason. Essentially, the customer receives their fries, sandwich, or drink and interact by pulling a small tab on the packaging - revealing a Monopoly space as well as the possibility of winning a range of prizes. McDonald’s leveraged their brand relationships to facilitate giveaways, vouchers, holidays in addition to their smaller free food items (which still, by the way, is an excellent way to create the sense of success associated with the brand). In fact, it’s very likely that those companies also paid to be involved in the prize process - given the strength of McDonald’s brand. In order to claim any of your spoils, McDonald’s created a small portal - in which you could opt-in to potentially win $2,500 by just giving up your email. Those who have been unsuccessful in winning simply redeem their ~ 10 losing pieces and are given a smaller prize (in the UK a 30-day subscription to Sky NowTV). Of course, this sounds like we consumed a few too many MGs of edibles and went on a food-based tangent - but we suggest this is an effective sales and marketing tactic not yet seen in the cannabis industry. The broader takeaway from this is the continued brand touchpoints, interaction, and experience with the packaging of cannabis consumer goods. Not only were incentives given for first-time purchases of the product (the chance to win prizes) - but in many cases, those prizes were offered by brands as a ploy for exposure. The system was baked perfectly into their brand - with clear and concise value propositions: You buy this, and if you don’t become a millionaire, you’ll at least get some other cool shit. From there, the customer is guided (winning or not) to interact with your company digitally - and create another touchpoint with your brand. They redeem their prize, voucher, or giveaway - and give their email in order to have the chance at winning even more. Not only are we creating more positive experiences with your brand, a huge plus, but we are now collecting information for re-engaging your customers. Re-engagement is huge here, and should not be overlooked. Together, with a killer email marketing campaign, you can glean greater insights into your core demographic and promote future sales and events to them directly. Paired with A/B testing of your emails, this becomes a powerful tool in your arsenal. Even the unfortunate ones who fail to win after a number of purchases still get to redeem those positive associations with your cannabis brand. By offering a prize of consolation - your customers avoid feeling left out of the frenzy of winnings. Traditional gamification of purchasing offers continued value to your consumer through your cannabis packaging. We would love to see cannabis brands creating more positive and long lasting experiences with consumers in this way.
Cannabis Packaging Going Digital
Augmented Reality Packaging | Photo by BoxMakerCannabis packaging has been some of the least digitally integrated that we’ve seen in any industry. While Johnnie Walker Blue Label opens VR experiments, the cannabis industry has printed social media icons. Lame - and doubly lame for your consumers. So far - we’ve seen only one digital integration in the cannabis industry, though not in packaging, but in an augmented reality (AR) experience with Goodship’s logo cross-platform. This was pulled off well by their development team - but we think overlooked the opportunity for real engagement; Missing social sharing is one of the larger and glaring issues we found with Goodship's application. Integrating your cannabis packaging solution with digital “oomph” has really never been easier (or cheaper). That’s not to say a great integration of digital marketing and your cannabis’ packaging would be a cakewalk - but is about x10 cheaper than it would have been 5 years ago. I’m going to toss out a few ideas that we’ve pitched internally, and some we’ve created working models for (in no particular order):
- Augmented reality cannabis strains (for opaque packaging)
- Augmented reality videos showing the growing process
- Augmented reality-based tertiary information about the strain
- QR / RFID codes to increase traffic towards marketing funnels