Toronto-based cannabis company The Flowr Corporation has been rolling out new branding for its consumer product Flowr since a soft launch in January.
Like almost everything else, those plans were upended by the COVID crisis—but Flowr is making the best of it. The Message spoke with Nicole Wolff, brand director at The Flowr Corporation, about the story behind the brand, which was developed with creative agency Zerotrillion.
The brand backstory: The company is slyly playing up it’s pre-legalization roots as a way to emphasize the skill and craft—refined over many years—that go into making a premium product.
“Established 19XX,” says the landing page. Flowr spells things out a little more clearly on the About Us page: “We’ve been deep into cannabis for decades. Looking around today at large facilities, online shopping and neighbourhood dispensaries, it’s easy to forget what it used to be like. But we haven’t. We remember because it was in the underground that we earned our stripes, honed our craft and grew our reputation.”
That backstory is what Flowr is using to underpin the brand focus on quality, says Wolff. “We really wanted to bring that story to the forefront,” she says. “It was capturing the essence of our history in the underground.” Flowr uses the term “Grown True” to characterize its dedication to cultivating a high-end product.
The branding: It’s an “F” logo that does a lot of work. “On the one hand, it is an F for Flowr. But you can also look at it and see the stairs, and there’s so much iconography behind those stairs,” says Wolff.
It could be the stairs that are “taking you from the underground into the light,” she says. At the same time, they can also represent “reaching for the top shelf” (ie. where the premium product is). Finally the stairs also carry a euphemistic meaning, denoting Flowr as a product that can “really elevate you.”
“There’s so much going on with that F that we believe it really sums up so much of our brand in one icon,” says Wolff.
And that colour? “It is a very bold colour, and in a world where there is limited flexibility for design on-pack, we thought that having a colour that stands out and is bold was absolutely essential.”
What’s next: After the industry launch at Lift&Co’s Cannabis Expo in Vancouver early this year, the new-look Flowr website went live in mid-March.
The plan now is to start marketing. Prior to the pandemic, Flowr had big plans for experiential and events for the summer, as well as in-store activation. “Because it is so regulated, some of the biggest opportunities you have to make connections with consumers are through bud tenders,” says Wolff. “You suddenly lose that really influential group that you would have hoped to build relationships with.”
So now what? Highly targeted digital, says Wolff. “Understanding who your consumer is and being really targeted with that is what you are going to need to start to make a dent.”
And who is that consumer? Instead of demographics, Flowr focuses on mindsets.
“We call them the balanced achievers,” says Wolff. “What we believe with this group is that cannabis can really be a tool to help you achieve your ambitions, and not a distraction from them. So it’s steering away from those typical stoner cliches and really embracing the potential of what cannabis can do for you.”
But don’t people mostly use cannabis to relax, not get things done? Or is that one of the clichés? “I would say that is a stereotype,” she says. “We believe that there are many uses for cannabis, and no two people are going to use it for the same reason. I think relaxing is definitely one of them, but it goes well well beyond that. There are people out there that use it throughout the day to actually be more productive.”