Challenger to Watch: Tweed

For looking outside the industry

One of the biggest developing stories in 2018 is the legalization of cannabis in certain states across the US and in Canada for both medical and recreational use.

As the era of Pot Prohibition comes to an end, and a myriad new players emerge on the scene, the natural question to ask is which brands are best poised to win and rewrite the rules of the game in this new industry?

One of the most interesting candidates is Tweed, a cannabis lifestyle brand in the portfolio of Canopy Growth Corporation based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Unlike most of the other cannabis companies and brands, Tweed deliberately chose to defy the Cannabis category naming conventions of relying on names from the illicit black market brands that evoke imagery of the ‘stoner’ culture (e.g. OG Kush, Pineapple Express or Durban Poison), or using a sterile medical or pharmacological name, often with the prefixes Med-, Can- or –remedy (e.g. MedRelief, CanRemedy, etc).

Instead, like any strong challenger, it looked outside its industry and took inspiration from the internet and fashion industries, and deliberately chose a five letter single word brand name that would evoke a certain mainstream style and sensibility and would be easy to remember and search worldwide.

Tweed is a friendly, approachable and memorable name – and on par with other icons like Virgin, Google, and Twitter.

And the names it uses for its popular, yet proprietary strains – varieties like Herringbone, Baker Street and Yorkshire – invite mainstream consumers to explore the back-stories and characters that inspired each strain.

Not since Warby Parker have we seen a challenger brand bake so much intelligent thought and interest into its brand name and Tweed is well-poised to appeal to the mainstream, recreational and lifestyle cannabis consumers.

Canopy Growth, describes itself as the ‘world’s largest cannabis producer…willing to publish its address!’

Beyond having the potential to build an iconic global challenger brand, Tweed is interesting because its parent company, Canopy Growth, describes itself as the ‘world’s largest cannabis producer…willing to publish its address!’

The company set up its HQ and primary growing, producing and distribution facility in an abandoned Hershey Chocolate factory in a rural town of Ontario called Smiths Falls.

Aside from the audacity of acknowledging the challenge to the illicit market controlled by drug-cartels, at its core the company presents a very humble, inviting and welcoming culture, encouraging its fans and consumers to come visit the new HQ to learn about the cannabis lifestyle and revolution.

The company even claim its employees are happier than the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tweed are quick to point out that cannabis is all about growth – pun very much intended.

Tweed is bringing an end to cannabis prohibition by challenging consumers (and government officials) to have an open mind when it comes to cannabis, whilst introducing us to proprietary new strains, forms and value-added products. It is also, however, about creating jobs and building and revitalizing rural cities and communities.

A people's champion, Tweed is standing up for collaboration, cooperation and partnerships that will benefit the greatest number of people.

Tweed (and its parent company Canopy Growth) are challengers to watch because they are blazing a new trail in the emerging world of cannabis to prove that it’s about much more than legalizing a prohibited product and capturing incremental tax revenue. It’s really about building iconic lifestyle belief-driven brands, creating jobs, fostering strong communities and bringing mainstream consumers into an otherwise intimidating category with a quintessentially Canadian humble and welcoming approach.

Expert and facilitator for challenger brand thinking, strategy and behavior. Partner at eatbigfish based in New York.

Follow: @eatbigfishnyc.