S P E C I A L A D V I S O R Y B OA R D S E C T I O N
Why Packaging Matters by Rao Murukurthy of Denver Custom Packaging
CLOSE YOUR EYES AND PICTURE A PRODUCT YOU LOVE. THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT CAME TO YOUR MIND IS THE PACKAGING. IT’S WHAT HELPS A PRODUCT CATCH YOUR ATTENTION ON A CROWDED SHELF. FOR MANUFACTURERS, IT’S WHAT HELPS THEM COMMAND THE PRICE THE Y WANT. THINK ABOUT IT : THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A $20 LOTION AND A $200 VERSION IS, BY AND LARGE, THE PACKAGING. THE BIGGEST COMPANIES IN THE WORLD SPEND AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF TIME AND MONEY DEVELOPING PACKAGES THAT WILL HELP THEIR PRODUCTS STAND OUT AND THAT WILL ENHANCE THE E X P E R I E N C E O F P E O P L E W H O USE THEIR PRODUC T. T H E R E’S A R E AS O N WHY WE DON’T BUY MILK IN BAGS OR ICE CREAM IN TUBES —THOSE PACKAGING OPTIONS WOULD MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT AND LESS ENJOYABLE TO USE THE PRODUC TS INSIDE. For all the progress we’ve made in the cannabis industry, the product packaging is truly behind the curve. We all know about the regulations around child safety that cannabis product manufacturers must be mindful of, but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of packaging in this industry is ill-suited for the products and consumers. I've interviewed several cannabis consumers about packaging design, and their feedback suggests that they want manufacturers to do better. Much better. “I can’t reach my fingers into the bottom of the pop-top canister, so I have to dump everything out to get to my weed.” “I hate that my keef clings to the side of containers.” “I can’t get into the products, and I’m buying them to help with my arthritis/pain.” “I hate that these containers aren’t sustainably produced and I can’t recycle them.” These were some of the top complaints. But a few people even mentioned how weird it is that cannabis products come in the same type of container that used to hold their beloved Pogs back in elementary school. I've asked branding professionals from other industries on their impressions of the state of cannabis packaging, and they were not impressed, to say the least. “It looks like the industry is stealing bottles from an automotive shop, and that isn’t helping to legitimize the products. It’s just so unconsidered,” said one who works in consumer products. “Everyone using the same packaging is absolutely ridiculous; it’s like they’re all fighting to be the generic cola instead of Coke,” said another who works in the food industry. With Colorado at the forefront of development in the cannabis industry, consumers here are no longer impressed just because they can legally buy products that will get them high. Their expectations are rapidly shifting, and they now expect beautiful products with high-quality ingredients and the same type of sophisticated, considered, sustainable packaging they would find in the grocery store or the beauty department. We are demanding more and the people who win our business will be the people who get that right.
DECEMB E R 2016
Sensi Magazine-Denver/Boulder (December 2016)