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.
5. BREAK THE STEREOTYPE
Next is break the stereotype. Cannabis has had enough years being identified with the stoner archetype of Cheech and Chong and high times and a lot of the various kind of media archetypes that have defined us for so long. When was the last time that we or anyone had a chance to define a new industry? Was it prohibition? Well, alcohol was already legal before that, it went underground for a while, and came back. Not really the same thing. Maybe cellphones or the internet. Those had years to evolve. I can't think of another time in which we've had an industry that's gone from complete black market, from complete shut down, to all of a sudden charging forward into to the light as a major economic driver in our economy.
So it's our responsibility as entrepreneurs to define this brand as being something sophisticated, something conscious, something that's aware of the state of the world, something that reflects the human condition. It can be a brand that's responsible, that cares, and that values the same values that everybody else does. If we de-stigmatize this brand, we will be achieving that $80M or $80B dollar a year mark that in 2020 people are speculating about. And we'll break through the ceiling because if we demystify cannabis and define it as something beautiful, something responsible, then we've truly done our job to define this new industry.
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