2020 was the year that Canadian cannabis brands started to become more mature and began resonating with specific consumer segments. Some of the smaller and craft Licensed Producers have taken market share from the larger, publicly-traded companies. Consumers are becoming more familiar with what brands are in the space and which consistently live up to their promised value proposition (and which don’t). A portion of Canadian cannabis consumers are starting to become more brand-aware and brand-loyal. Let’s take a look at the Canadian cannabis brand finalists as voted by you, the ADCANN community.
If you haven’t already, be sure to vote for your favourite Canadian Cannabis Brand in the 2020 ADCANN Awards.
GOOD BUDS burst into the Canadian cannabis market in 2019 and hasn’t slowed down since. They became the fastest license in the history of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), the first-ever joint cultivation-oils license, and the first licensed outdoor cannabis grower in Canada. They began recreational sales into select markets in Fall 2019, with hash & rosin sales starting in winter 2020.
The GOOD BUDS brand is derived from the friendship of brothers Alex and Tyler and their mission to deliver the finest weed and concentrates that are organically grown in small batches on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. They chose the island because of the perfect outdoor growing conditions where the buds bathe in the salty mist of the Pacific Ocean, giving them a unique greasy quality that can’t be replicated indoors. It’s also great for extracting hash and rosin.
GOOD BUDS has done a great job of using their social channels to cultivate their audience and that’s why they’re a finalist for Best Social Media. They tell the story of the brand through pictures and videos of the people behind GOOD BUDS and the incredible scenery of the island.
Flowr is a prominent Canadian brand known for its BC Pink Kush cultivar. The company states that it was established in “19XX”, an allusion to its legacy market roots and branding position. Flowr, which offers both dried flower and pre-rolled joints, is based in Kelowna, British Columbia. The company’s products have been available in select provinces since day one of recreational legalization.
The brand’s “Consistently Exceptional Cannabis” can be purchased at retailers across the country. Flowr is unique because the company has chosen to focus on one cultivar, their BC Pink Kush, as the main product offering. Instead of diversifying into every product category suboptimally, Flowr remains focused on refining their carefully selected dried flower products. Flowr went through a major visual identity and communication rebrand earlier this year with the help of ZeroTrillion, a creative agency with offices in both Amsterdam and Toronto.
”At Flowr, we believe that a tight range is a hallmark of quality. We strive to provide our consumers with consistently high-quality cannabis.Nicole Wolff, Brand Director
Kolab Project is one of Auxly’s recreational brands with a focus on vaporizer products. The brand is also nominated for “Campaign Of The Year” for their vape recycling initiative. Kolab Project is more than just a brand that offers cannabis products, they are a platform dedicated to arts, design, and culture. Kolab’s mission is to provide Canadians with an expertly curated assortment of high-end cannabis products while championing quality and ethical production. Their products and merchandise are produced in collaboration with culturally-relevant creators.
Kolab’s aesthetics are simple, clean, and futuristic. The brand is design-focused – from their social media to their website to their products and packaging. Kolab Project has a cool yet approachable hipster vibe. The brand offers stylish apparel and thoughtfully-designed merchandise. They also operate a flagship retail store in Saskatchewan that resembles a modernized laundromat, which allows them to immerse visitors in their brand ethos.
Top Leaf is a brand that was born pre-legalization and brought to the regulated market through Sundial Growers. The brand offers an assortment of products including dried flower, pre-rolled joints, and 510 vaporizer pods. Top Leaf is known for their Pink Kush, Oregon Golden Goat, Bubba, Blue Dream, and Jager OG cultivars.
“Anyone can grow some weed, but we aren’t “anyone” and we don’t grow “some” weed.” is how Top Leaf introduces itself. The brand is dedicated to quality and their belief in “The Craft of Cannabis”. The brand has interesting, thoughtfully-designed artwork for all of their strains and products. Top Leaf’s mock packaging, which is displayed primarily on their website, social media pages, and in retail stores, features these detailed illustrations in their signature black and gold colour scheme. Their branding is simple, clean, distinct, and conveys a premium positioning.
”Being recognized for Brand of the Year is the culmination of work that started on the Top Leaf brand years ago, even before legalization. Top Leaf was founded by cannabis enthusiasts that, to be blunt, were looking to smoke the good sh*t. Top Leaf’s journey into the legal framework was rooted in this desire to, not only produce top quality cannabis, but to provide an elevated experience as well. The Top Leaf Community has demanding standards and everything we do, from the product to packaging to branding, is designed specifically to exceed those expectations. We’re so proud that all of the hard work that we have put in to delighting our consumers is coming to fruition.Connor Young, Director of Marketing
BLK MKT is one of the cannabis brands in GTEC’s portfolio that had a big year in 2020. BLK MKT is a brand that caters to cannabis connoisseurs, those who care as much about the flavour and aromas of their cannabis as the THC percentage. Their Terps on Bottles campaign is a finalist for Cannabis Marketing Campaign of the Year and the mastermind behind it, Adil Hirji, is a finalist for Cannabis Marketer of the Year. As the first to list Terpenes on their packaging, they started an industry-wide trend towards more transparency.
They launched a series of new and exciting cultivars includingAlien SinMint Cookies and Peanut Butter MAC. BLK MKT also launched their first pre-rolled joint products this year, allowing consumers to buy their favourite strains in a ready-to-smoke format. The brand expanded into several new markets in 2020, with offerings now available in British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. With exciting genetics, a skilled cultivation team, and novel, unique marketing concepts – the BLKMKT brand is positioned to continue growing well into the future.
Canadian Cannabis Brand Trends
Cannabis 2.0 Products: Four out of five of the finalists in this year’s brand of the year category offer cannabis 2.0 products such as vaporizers, concentrates, and edibles. These products were only made available in late 2019/early 2020 and have started to become more popular while helping to draw new consumers to the category.
CPG Principles: As the cannabis market evolves and derivative products such as vapes and edibles become more popular – cannabis advertising will begin to look more and more like other Consumer Packaged Goods. Instead of only showing pictures of growing plants and dried buds, brands like Kolab and Foray take a more mainstream approach to marketing.
We are also seeing more consumer segmentation and brand differentiation. Top Leaf and Flowr target the heavy consumer and enthusiast. Kolab Project has a focus on young, artistic, environmentally-conscious individuals. Foray is a mainstream brand meant for the novice and casual consumer. GOOD BUDS targets the legacy consumer and solventless concentrate lovers. Brands will continue to differentiate from each other and define their target consumers over time.
Quality Focused: “Quality” is a primary focus of the majority of these brands. Although quality is subjective, most frequent users of cannabis will state that this is one of the most important factors for them, especially when purchasing a dried flower product. These brands emphasize the robust aroma, flavours, and potency of their products – focusing on the features and explaining why they will benefit the consumer.
Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by ADCANN