Celebrating excellence in branding, packaging and marketing within the cannabis industry

In part 1, we explored the development of the Canndescent brand and the steps they took to launch that gorgeous canna-business. Today, we turn our eyes to hmbldt, one of the most stunning brands to recently burst upon our burgeoning industry.

Last November, while walking through the MJ Business Expo in Vegas, one exhibit caught my eye. hmbldt. Actually, I couldn’t take my eyes off their logo. It was stunning in its simplicity. The one thing I can say about these guys is they don’t like vowels. Just kidding. They fricken’ nailed it!

I loved the contemporary clean lines, the white space and the naming-by-effect convention. The packaging itself was a very well executed combination of color-coded rigid boxes with inserts, and folding carton sleeves.  

When I see great work, I get excited! I know, I know… I’m just a branding and packaging geek, I can’t help myself!

Recently, I got a chance to talk to Derek McCarty, CMO of hmbldt, regarding their brand development. He credits their creative partners, Anomoly (2017 Agency of the year – Ad Age) with not only their brand and packaging development, but also the product development. “They are true strategic partners in every sense of the word,” he said. In fact, the agency has a stake in the company, as well as its founding member sitting on hmbldt’s board.

The first employee hired by hmbldt was Derek McCarty, a seasoned brand strategist. Hmmm… with priorities like that, no wonder hmbldt launched at the top of the heap. And it didn’t hurt that Time Magazine named their innovative vaping device one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2017.

“We launched in September and received the award in November. Of course, the award added credibility to the product and propelled sales throughout the state quickly. While we were extremely pleased with the award, we were elated that mainstream media led with the health benefits of cannabis in this instance,” Derek told me.

When asked how long it took to develop the brand, McCarty replied, “Our brand is a living, breathing, dynamic thing… the development will never stop. The hmbldt brand is the sum of all parts.”

And those are very nice parts, indeed.

Discussing his favorite cannabis brands, Derek cited Lord Jones and DeFonce as his favorites for product positioning, and Jetty and Bloom Farms as his choice for best benefit positioning. Adrian from Canndescent also touted Bloom Farms for strong messaging and PAX for overall brand and product positioning.  

When I look at amazing brands like these, I like to believe there is something we can learn from them. I asked Derek what advice he would give to a fellow canna-prenuer on building a great brand. “Be creative in how you find strategic partners,” he said. “Look for a mutually beneficial, great value exchange. As with any great partnership, it must be a win-win for both sides.”

Adrian offered this advice. “Hold yourself to a simple standard that begins with compliance. Build a solid platform and write a good business plan. With that in place, the money and great people will follow, allowing you to create your own unique brand that solves a problem,” he said.

A world-class brand doesn’t just happen… let alone two. I’ve learned from these brands that they have succeeded by paying close attention to the details and focusing on quality in everything they do, in everything they touch. They chose their partners carefully and began with a compliant platform.

I am grateful to each of them for creating beauty in a rather barren landscape. For giving us greatness to aspire to and for helping to elevate the image of our industry just by entering it.  

Thank you!