Every good marketer knows that staying on top of the latest trends is key for developing an effective marketing campaign. However, our world is always changing – shifts in our social and cultural norms can quickly age the marketing strategies of yesterday.
These changes can affect the strength of your past marketing campaigns, your industry operations, and the perception of your brand as a whole.
The Story Of Skunk Weed And Green Marketing For Marijuana
You may have heard of green marketing in an environmental context, but its meaning has expanded to also encompass marketing of cannabis. Now that medical and/or recreational use is legal in 32 states and counting, many marijuana businesses have co-opted the term.
Prior to legalization, Americans considered marijuana a highly criminalized, dangerous drug. Because of this, many Americans developed negative connotations about marijuana, along with a variety of slang words used to demean the plant and its users. In addition, cannabis users started to develop their own slang.
Specifically, the term “skunk weed” grew in popularity as a term used to refer to the undesirable remnants of the marijuana plant. Skunk weed became associated with poor quality marijuana with limited psychoactive properties. However, this term has shifted.
Skunk weed today means something completely different, thanks to the use of green marketing. Now, skunk weed refers to a specific strain of marijuana that is high-end and quite strong – a desirable product far removed from its scrappy beginnings.
So, how did marketers shift the term “skunk weed” from negative to positive?
- First, marijuana growers in America crossbred numerous hashish strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan with additional cannabis strains from the Americas and Asia.
- Next, these growers named the strain Skunk #1, and established brand loyalty due to the strain’s adaptability, potency, and quick growth.
- A marijuana breeder named David Watson adopted the moniker Sam the Skunkman and began marketing Skunk varieties. He founded the Cultivators Choice seed company to provide greater access to the strain.
- Since then, marijuana breeders produced a number of strains using the original Skunk, such as Super Skunk and Northern Lights.
Watson’s skunk weed varieties and the original strain gained a loyal following thanks to Watson’s understanding of cannabis culture. He knew that Skunk #1 was a worthy, strong variety. He leveraged its strength and enjoyed the profits.
Combined, these cannabis entrepreneurs changed the way that everyone views “Skunk Weed,” and today, the Skunk image remains a popular marketing strategy for cannabis. Now that the overall change in perception of weed is shifting, green marketers are tailoring their strategies to match.
The Importance Of Slang Words In Marketing
Slang words can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly – when used incorrectly, slang can tarnish a brand’s reputation.
Consumers prize companies that use slang effectively. They prefer interacting with a company that sounds like a real, relatable person rather than one who uses dry, corporate language that is difficult to understand. Using slang can help companies connect with their audience because it communicates that the brand is current and trendy.
On the other hand, slang use can easily go wrong. For example, if a company makes products geared towards older adults and uses a slang word that only teenagers understand, the company can alienate their users. Inappropriate jokes and swear words can also turn a brand campaign sour, sparking controversy and losing consumers in the process.
The story of Skunk teaches us the power of reclaiming a negative word and turning it into a marketing tool. The use of “Skunk” made sense for the cannabis industry, but it wouldn’t work for a perfume company, for example. It’s important to know who your demographic is and what words, phrases, and images connect with them.
Companies should not be afraid of social change. Staying on top of cultural shifts can keep your business out of trouble in the future. You risk alienating younger demographics if you stick to certain values. Keeping your business “politically correct” will set you up for long-term success.
Tips For Effective Use Of Slang
To use slang effectively, follow these best practices:
- Know your audience. If you market products to teenagers, using the most current slang is appropriate. However, if your demographic is for older consumers, avoid slang that they would not know or would see as cringe-worthy. Only use a slang word if it works for your audience.
- Perform quality control before posting. Sometimes, companies do not use slang or popular phrases in an appropriate manner, sparking controversy. For example, the frozen pizza brand DiGiorno jumped on the popular hashtag #WhyIStayed to promote its products – without realizing the hashtag was meant to share stories about relationship abuse. Unsurprisingly, this landed the company in some hot water.
- Know your platforms. Different slang words and slang behavior work better on different platforms. For example, using a slang word as a slogan would seem forced and inappropriate. Using a slang word on Twitter, where lots of slang originates, can make a company seem trendy and comedic.
- Stay up-to-date. There is nothing more “cringy” than using a slang word that stopped being cool years ago as a current marketing strategy. Unless you’re trying to evoke nostalgia, make sure your demographic is still using the word before you post.
Contact The Team In The Know
Contact Eminent SEO today to craft premier digital marketing strategies for your brand. You don’t have to keep up with the evolution of slang for the environment or pot – we can handle it for you.