When consumers know what they can expect from a product by seeing marketing that speaks to their expectations, their trust in the product will increase. This is crucial for any product, but for cannabis, it’s a requirement. The language you use to market your cannabis can change the expectations of the experience. Cannabis brands today focus on creating messaging that puts the customer’s expectations front and center and takes their mental and physical well-being into full account, rather than focusing on just the fact you are selling a cannabis product.
Changing the Cannabis Terminology
The cannabis industry has done something that has affected the language used within the industry. They have dropped slang terms like “weed”, “pot”, “grass”, “ganja”, and “reefer” in favor of more scientific terms. Some brands have even dropped the word marijuana in favor of its scientific name, cannabis. With the growing market, and in an attempt to appeal to consumers who are concerned about the stigma, these brands have dropped the stoner slang.
Many of these changes not only address a change from the colloquial to the technical, but they are also dropping terms that have racist undertones. By utilizing inclusive vocabulary through which to discuss cannabis, marketers are inviting consumers both old and new into discussions about how to refer to the product.
Many times, brands will focus on science-focused language. They are using terms like sativa and indica and hybrid as well as referring to the cannabinoid compounds directly. They may list the cannabinoids THC and CBD as ingredients to promote a holistic effect.
Marketing that includes breaking down the cannabinoids and their effects can help the consumer determine the product that is right for them. It also eliminates any uncertainty about how to describe the process by which the cannabis will work in their system and how the differing cannabinoids can help them.
Before the entire legalization movement, a consumer might have been more concerned with how “baked” or how “stoned” cannabis could get them. Now that cannabis has become more universally accepted and mainstream, the cannabis industry is looking to change the direction of the language. Now, marketers are focusing on the consumer’s expectations for their product in their marketing techniques. Unique campaigns, packaging, and marketing language are combining to sell a highly tailored experience.
Why the Changes?
As discussed above, there are many reasons for the changes of cannabis slang. One of the primary reasons being using more inclusive language so that more consumers can feel comfortable both using and discussing their products. Another reason for the changes is that more scientific language may be more appealing to a consumer who is on the fence about trying a product for the first time.
Advertising is another reason for the change in languages. When you think about how advertising has changed; we are no longer dealing with just print, television, and radio ads. In the digital age, a multi-platform approach to marketing is essential for success. Herein lies the problem. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram are not fond of cannabis-related content. Many times, marijuana-related advertising gets shut down quickly.
In order to take advantage of these platforms, cannabis industry marketing gurus realize that the analytics of these platforms search for marijuana counterculture verbiage. This associates the old stoner slang with the more negative aspects of the drug. So, staying away from these colloquial terms is essential to your chances of even getting an ad on these platforms.
Instead of cannabis, marketers may instead try to concentrate on the cannabinoids, telling the consumer the benefits of each. For example, they may focus on the fact that their product is a strain which is perfect for midday use and will feel uplifting rather than something that they might use at night to wind down. Conversely, a marketer may want to hype the sleep-enhancing benefits of their product to a consumer who wishes to tackle their insomnia.
How Current Cannabis Companies Are Marketing
The current trend in CBD is how the product can be helpful. From being great for your skin or hair to how it can help pain and insomnia, marketers are focusing on the health aspects of the product.
Cannabis brands like Level, based in California are focusing on the medicinal aspects of the industry. Their products are packaged with product compositions like sleep, spark, socialize, and float. Cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson and his Willie’s Reserve has packaging that more resembles an artisanal food product. They are using language that harkens back to yesteryear with names like Pineapple Express or Sunset Sherbert.
There is still a learning curve when it comes to cannabis, especially for the uninitiated. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product when they feel educated about it and the experience they are likely to have with the product. Consider a blog that a consumer can read to educate themselves about the benefits of your product.
Cannabis is still an emerging market and marketing for cannabis products is still in its infancy. There is likely to be a lot of trial and error when it comes to the kinds of terms and packaging that sells. For now, focus on using more technical and scientific terms and throw the old slang out.