1. START WITH WHY: The 10 Steps of Cannabis Branding with Zack Darling

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The following is a transcription from the stage at Green Flower Summit 2018 (paywall) where Zack Darling (CEO of The Hybrid Creative) explains his 10 steps of cannabis branding in today’s competitive market.


So where do you start? Well, the beloved motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek believes that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. So where do you start? You start with why. You see, many brands can tell you what they do and they know all about what they do and what they sell and some can actually tell you how they do what they do. But very few — and you'll find that most of the successful ones out there — can very clearly tell you why they do what they do. That's their value proposition. That's their brand promise. That's the vision in the values of their business. It's the essence of why they exist.

Their why is not to make money, that's a result. Their why is the human element of their business. The thing that resonates with you. See, the difference between an average brand and a strong brand is purpose. Purpose driven brands don't just build customers, they build loyal fans. They build people who are going to stay with that brand through thick and thin. They'll save their money to be able to afford it when they go into that dispensary. They'll buy that brand when they're in a recession, when times are tight. They buy that brand not just because of the quality of the product, they buy it because they believe in something. Your why is what follows the words "we believe."

Purpose driven brands make you feel something deeper inside and they make you want to be a part of it. Why? Why do you want to be a part of these purpose driven brands? I'm sure you can think of a number of brands that you're loyal to so that you just never try anything else. It's because they're trying to create change. They're creating change in the world and we as people love being a part of change. They're trying to change the status quo. They're trying to change health standards. They're trying to change quality of life. All of these are very true for cannabis brands and you'll find that the most successful ones out there that have the most die-hard, devoted fans. They have very well articulated their why and their purpose for being. So always start there.

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