This company to watch in 2016 is building a brand in a category with tricky regulatory and financial impediments, a great deal of polarized propaganda and a counter-culture positioning they are looking to challenge. Mary’s Medicinals is one of very few national medical cannabis brands, working at the intersection of technology and botany to transform how people view and utilize the plant.
Based in Colorado, they developed a transdermal technology in 2013 that allows for accurate dosing [and distances their products from smoking] in the treatment of pain, PTSD, anxiety, as an anti-convulsive and anti-emetic, alongside numerous other uses.
As a new brand in a brand new category, Mary’s Medicinals takes its role in society seriously. Everything they do, from product development to education and research, advance global understanding and acceptance of cannabis and other underutilized plant based medicines.
Stylistically, the company is the other end of the spectrum from psychedelia, leveraging black and white and strong fonts that harken back to a simpler time with hints of the colonial apothecary that found healing in herbs.
They are prohibited from using standard paid media available to normal marketers, relying on grassroots events and community engagement, alongside sponsorship of existing advocacy and healthcare activities. They tell the story of their innovative science on Youtube, and leverage social media to engage with relevant communities in different geographies and share news.
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that they have already won numerous awards, including 2014 Invention of the Year at the Cannabis Business Awards, expanding the discussion beyond THC to other useful compounds often ignored by the media.
As the USA continues its inevitable march towards the end of prohibition, Mary’s will challenge middle America’s conception of the plant, its culture and its uses. The combination of smart branding, innovative technology, a clear mission and a rising tide will help them build a lighthouse identity in a still foggy category, providing a comforting counterpoint to the more obvious Snoop Dogg and Bob Marley brands that are in development.
For radical transparency.
For killing email with kindness.
For figuring out how to be both global and local.
For setting a new standard for 'Challenger Banks'.
For making Amazon's weak spot a competive advantage.
For promising to make Apple look small time.
For breaking the taboo around menstruation.
For paving the way for a new generation of belief-led brands.
For a fresh toke - sorry take, on the cannabis category.
For taking the showroom concept to another level.
For bringing color and advance to not-drinking.
For creating a financial platform to one day rival Wall Street.
For 'Drink no Evil' and sticking it to Coke.
For at least attempting to get some of us off the grid.
For standing up to the UK's Big 6 Energy firms.
For being anti-antivirus.
For giving Uber a bloody nose in 2016. (We hope...)
For flipping the rules of dating.
For elegantly positioning cable as a thing of the past.
For being the 'Real & Human' challenger in FMCGs.
Faris is an award winning strategist, creative director, writer, public speaker and geek. He aims to help nice clients and agencies be more awesome. GeniusSteals is his strategic planning and innovation practice. Follow him @faris.