To date, marijuana consumers don’t have a reliable way of knowing if a particular strain they purchase today will provide them the same experience it has in the past.
There’s a widespread misconception that products with the same strain names are consistent across dispensaries, retailers and markets, but this isn’t the case.
“The marijuana industry is currently in a nascent but rapidly growing state, and just like the legalization of alcohol after prohibition, it’s the Wild West and consumers don’t know exactly what they’re getting when they purchase a product,” said Davis Lawyer, CEO of Aquarius Cannabis.
“The reality is that, right now, no two products have the same smell, taste, and look or create the same consumer experience.
Even genetic clones are not 100 percent consistent unless they are grown under the exact same conditions, processed in the same fashion and even packaged consistently.”
While this lack of product consistency negatively impacts consumers, it also affects the entire marijuana supply chain, causing increased costs as a result of the following dilemmas:
- The grower isn’t sure if their plants will yield the same volume of product or chemical consistency
- The distributor has difficulty pricing around the uncertainty of the current market, and is often unsure of when supply will be available
- Caregivers, dispensaries, and retailers don’t know which suppliers will show up with products, how much they’ll cost, or what the quality will be
Ultimately, consumers pay for these inefficiencies, either through increased prices or the inability to access specific products. There’s little to no consumer trust in marijuana, which impacts the bottom lines of growers, distributors, and sellers alike.
Branding marijuana means creating consistency in genetics, environment, and processes to create a reliable supply chain and dependable product. It’s also the solution for a safe, consistent consumer experience and a predictable, profitable business.
Take your favorite ice cream brand, for example. Let’s say you’re a Ben & Jerry’s fanatic and you’re craving a pint of their Phish Food flavor. When you go to the grocery store to buy it, you know you can expect the same rich flavor, texture, and creaminess you’ve come to love and crave. How do they do it?
Ben & Jerry’s creates and monitors quality control standards that ensure a consistent product from first bite to last, which creates trust in the brand and prompts you to buy from them again. They also package and label their products consistently, so when you’re in the store, you can easily recognize the Ben & Jerry’s brand. This relationship between Ben & Jerry’s and you, their customer, is called brand loyalty – and it’s the core metric used by branding companies to measure success.
Currently, these supreme standards of quality and consistency are largely absent in the marijuana industry. Similar to the alcohol prohibition era in the early 1930s, marijuana grown and sold today is more like moonshine than Grey Goose or Jack Daniel’s.
Prior to alcohol brands, there was simply a jar with some booze in it that had no brand recognition whatsoever. This meant there was no guarantee that the alcohol concentration in the jar would be the same as one previously purchased, or that it was distilled with the same quality and standards as anything you’ve purchased in the past.
The same can be said for marijuana flower products today, as patients and recreational marijuana users experience inconsistency in the quality, effects, smell, taste and burn of the marijuana flowers they purchase. This crucial factor has created an unmet need and a blue ocean strategy opportunity in the market that marijuana branders can readily and successfully fulfill.
At Aquarius Cannabis, we’re focused on solving these consistency issues by building brands that consumers come to love and trust. Our CEO, Davis Lawyer, explains, “We have designed a branding process empowering consumers to know exactly what they are getting every single time. By looking for the Aquarius Cannabis logo on the label, consumers will be assured of a consistent product, producers will have a trusted growing and management mechanism, and regulators will have a transparent picture into the contents of the products being sold.”