NEW YORK: With Canada in the process of legalizing recreational cannabis use and the medical cannabis market in the US projected to be worth almost $20bn by 2024, the growing number of brands in this category need to consider their marketing strategy.

“Branding is paramount in order to be successful in this industry otherwise [brands] are going to be gone with the wind,” according to Jared Mirsky of Wick & Mortar, a cannabis marketing specialist.

“Ultimately if they’re not doing everything they can to develop and create a sustainable brand, chances are they’re not going to survive,” he told Green Market Report; on the sidelines of the recent Cannabis Learn conference in Philadelphia, one of a number of such events now taking place across the continent.

One aspect of that may be rethinking brand names, since so many of the hundreds of products out there start with the same first five letters: canna.

“It is by far one of the most commonly used name prefixes that brands typically offer but ultimately it is probably the worst thing that you can call your company right now,” Mirsky stated.

“Calling themselves the same thing everyone else is calling them is only establishing more competition for themselves.”

Nor is that the only sort of differentiation that will be required. At the Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo in Toronto last week, Felicia Snyder, senior vice president of growth at Hiku Brands, a vertically integrated cannabis brand house and licensed producer, suggested the industry will also have to develop new formats to meet evolving consumer needs.

“Understanding what those consumers need once they’re introduced to the category and what the category involves – more product formats, etc – I think is going to be critical to how a brand is able to go along with the consumer on that journey,” she told Investing news Network.

An example of the thinking going into branding comes from INDIVA, a supplier of medical grade cannabis, which launched a new brand identity – described as a “new clean aesthetic” – at the Toronto conference.

“The logo pays homage to our past and the history of the cannabis legalization movement without retaining the clichés of cannabis counter-culture,” explained Koby Smutylo, Chief Operating Officer, INDIVA.

Sourced from Green Market Report, Investing News Network, Cision; additional content by WARC staff