As cannabis is being infused into mainstream beverages, beauty products, sunscreens, every kind of food imaginable and is now legal in Canada and the majority of the U.S., it seems consumers may have already normalized what was stigmatized not long ago.
Recently, a majority of respondents to a survey put out by the Chicago consulting firm, A.T. Kearney, said that their overall perception of mainstream companies wouldn’t change if said businesses became affiliated with cannabis. That means for most they wouldn’t get all that more hyped about them or snub them, just continue with consumerism per usual.
About a quarter of the respondents, however, said their impression of a company that aligned themselves with pot would actually improve. “This really speaks to the mainstreaming of cannabis, which, for the overall industry, I think is a positive thing,” Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Boulder, Colorado edibles maker Wana Brands said to MJBizDaily.com.
In a strange twist of irony, the industry that most people don’t want to see associated with cannabis is the alcohol industry. Perhaps it’s the layering of substances that seems sketchy, perhaps people just like their spirits unadulterated, but whatever the reason, 18 percent of respondents said adding cannabis would leave a bad taste in their mouths.
With the bigger companies coming in with big money guns blazing and branding that’s been established for quite some time, what about the cannabis brands that have worked so hard to get the corners of the market that they occupy?
“Innovation is the key in any industry,” Whiteman said. “Innovate or die, and I think companies in this industry understand innovation at a different level. They know what’s effective and what’s not effective.” Especially those who’ve been ingrained in the movement and have watched carefully what works and what doesn’t.
Another option that has a quieter, sadder ring to it is for the smaller companies to be absorbed by the giants who need the real knowledge they’ve amassed. Some will go for the big payout, some will innovate until they stand alone and some will become big brands themselves.
As to the question if cannabis is mainstream yet for business, look to our Northern neighbors, look at Coca-Cola and Constellation Brands’ plans for infused beverages, look at all the CBD brands going, well, mainstream and simply look around; it was built and they came.