Popping up at SXSW 2018, AdAge's Megan Graham was able to corral the world's leading marketing trend forecaster herself, Faith Popcorn, just long enough to discuss the future of marijuana and what smart brands need to be doing to futureproof themselves for this budding market. Popcorn is the founder and CEO of the strategic innovation consultancy and foremost marketing trend think tank, Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve.
The rise of Cannabis Culture may be an inevitable response to the "99 Lives"
Trend that the BrainReserve team was first to identify (whereby our frazzled, fast-paced, over-complicated lives force us all to assume multiple roles). Popcorn readily views the future of the marijuana industry as somewhat of a perfect antidote for consumers wanting to indulge in affordable luxuries while seeking to reward themselves (another of Popcorn's closely-monitored Trends, "Small Indulgences"
"There's going to be as many strains and ways to look at marijuana as there are wine," Popcorn predicts. And, since this new industry remains completely up for grabs, Popcorn foresees the need for speed coupled with innovative marketing strategies by companies seeking to capitalize on this growing market. "There's the upscale ones, the 'Hermès of marijuana,'” says Popcorn, “and then the 'people's marijuana.’”
Popcorn's advice to tomorrow's market leaders? Identify exactly who your target market is, pay close attention to their needs (particularly as they relate to mood) and create products that are engineered to evoke specific states of mind or modify temperaments. From there, the right branding and messaging can be developed to engage consumers on this highly-personal level.
Popcorn later joined Graham in an amusing round of AdAge's very own "Straight Fire or Total Crap" game. In this funny but insightful segment, Popcorn weighs in on the viability of “cannabis high tea,” ponders other marijuana-centric cultural trends ready to ignite, and names the right influencers for this heady new product category.