The number of cannabis strains reviewed on Leafly exceeds 2,200. As amazing as this is to those unfamiliar with the industry, even more amazing is the number of new strains added weekly. In April, information on 2,232 strains was web-scrapped from the Leafly site. For marketers, the branding of cannabis deserves further investigation. The purpose of this post is to start that conversation.
Before exploring branding, the initial question is what type of cannabis do consumers prefer – hybrid, indica or sativa? To determine the answer to this question requires us to assume that the total number of strains available reflects consumer preference. While this assumption may not be true, it serves as a surrogate for attributes that consumers find appealing.
Based on the above, and given the data available, it appears that consumers prefer hybrid strains. Of the 2,232 strains listed on Leafly in April, 1,128 are hybrid (50.54 percent), 665 are indica (29.79 percent) and 439 are sativa (19.67 percent).
What are the most popular brand names or components of brand names for existing strains? To find out, we developed a Word Cloud. Word Clouds are visual representations of text data with the size of the text indicating the frequency of word use. Thus, larger words in the cloud are used more frequently. All existing strain names were input into a Word Cloud generator and the resulting graphic is presented below.
Some results were expected, some were a surprise. Prior to this analysis, the researchers didn’t know that 110 strain names began with the word Bhang. Other popular strain branding names include OG, Kush, Haze, White, Purple, Diesel, Blue, Sour and Skunk. Colors, fruits, tastes and/or effects dominate current branding efforts.
One issue of concern is that strain naming isn’t standardized. Thus, it’s possible for the same strain to have two different names depending on where and when it was developed. For instance, LA Cheese (strain name in Amsterdam) is known as Confidential Cheese on Leafly. Until a master list of strains that includes genetic testing exists, there is no guarantee that what you’re purchasing is what is being advertised.
Cannabis branding, both for medical and recreational purposes, is an exciting area of study for marketers. As the industry expands, consistency in branding becomes more critical and important.