Brand Building for Emerging Markets: The Creation of a Cannabis Lifestyle Brand

As the fastest growing industry in the U.S., legalized marijuana is believed to be worth $11 billion by 2019 and stands steadily at $2.5 billion today. But competition is fierce and the market is more like the Wild Wild West than the mature and saturated categories we see with other CPG products. Jon Cooper created Colorado based start-up ebbu, a brand of new marijuana-based products, to help make cannabis more accessible, predictable, and trustworthy for an expanding and evolving consumer base. He gathered the best of the best to help him realize his vision—Ph.D. scientists, a team of marijuana industry champions and cannabis craftsmen. Together, they’ve used a groundbreaking combination of science and art to develop the highest quality, innovative products. ebbu’s mission: to unlock the potential of cannabis to enhance and improve people’s lives.

Trinity was invited to help ebbu realize that vision by developing an arresting and engaging visual identity and packaging line that would appeal to their broadening range of consumers and stand out in a ruleless and often overwhelming retail environment.



Changing the Cannabis Game

Jon and his team wanted to establish a new type of cannabis brand that could appeal to a broad range of users that included both long-time aficionados and new or lapsed consumers curious about what today’s cannabis experience might have to offer. New cannabis consumers found typical packaging and the dispensary shopping experience to be both daunting and overwhelming. For a company focused on the future of cannabis—not the past—that meant package design needed to shed the traditional and outdated visual language rampant in the category such as marijuana leaves and the intimidating tone. Another challenge with this project was designing a standout system that would accommodate evolving legal regulations around packaging and labeling. All packaging would need to be child-proof and devote a large area to regulatory copy.



Making It Personal

Trinity realized the need to establish a verbal and a visual identity that invited people of all levels of engagement in cannabis into the brand. To do this, we shifted the conversation from one that was all about performance and function to a decidedly friendlier, more personal experience. Like a trusted friend guiding you on your next adventure, the new brand would feel elevated while also fun and exciting. We developed the “It’s Your Journey” tagline to embody that feeling of personal empowerment. The new strategy presents ebbu as a brand that delivers experiences, not only a product line. Trinity also proposed the new nomenclature system for current and future sub-lines that is all around easy and accessible 4-letter words that clearly communicate the consumer benefit—BOLD, WELL, and PLAY for different product types.



A Package Experience to Match the Promise

Trinity’s design solution breathes new life into the category. The system conveys an innovative expertise while reflecting the deeply personal customer experience. The custom wordmark angles upward to suggest the journey higher. A distinctive circular lens atop an expansive field of white invites consumers into the world ebbu can open up for them. Through it, the consumer glimpses custom artwork by local Colorado artist, Sean Coleman, who created a unique piece for each sub-line. ebbu’s creative approach to cannabis is expressed through innovative packaging structures and graphics that stand out in the dark retail environment. New consumers in the category demand engagement, so we designed the entire package experience to deliver on the brand’s promise. As they open the box, they are met with an interior that delights through a surprise reveal of a burst of color and the artwork in its entirety. There they are able to access and maneuver the contents inside. Senses are further engaged through a premium soft touch finish and gloss varnishes. The system delivers a totally unique and iconic presence in the otherwise chaotic environment of Colorado dispensaries.

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