CBD branding in the UK might be defiant, but never impossible. The current scenario in the territory brings a lot of challenges for CBD companies to develop easily in this new market. Thus, the first thing that every brand owner must do when starting their quest in the CBD industry is to know the context of the market they’re joining.
The CBD market in the UK.
As of today, cannabis is still illegal in the UK - recreational cannabis. It continues to be classified as a “Class B drug”, meaning that it is neither the most dangerous nor the least harmful but is still controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act. On the contrary, hemp has been legal since 1993. Considering that this variation of the cannabis plant is the one with the highest amount of CBD and virtually no levels of THC, it opened the door for many business owners to join the CBD market. However, they were nowhere to be seen. At least not until 2017, when CBD was legalised, followed by medical cannabis in 2018.
Many CBD beauty brands began to appear, and though it seemed the sun began to shine in the UK CBD market, still, medical cannabis is only permitted to be prescribed by a registered specialist doctor, and the likelihood of receiving a prescription for medical cannabis is quite low. Currently, only people with certain severe medical conditions are likely to receive a prescription, but it would only be considered if other therapies were ineffective or inappropriate.
When it comes to CBD, it is fully legal and does not need any type of medical prescription to be acquired, but there are some strict regulations that CBD products have to comply with before they can be sold and consumed by humans - they can’t contain more than 0.2% of THC and, unless they are actually medicinal products, they must be marketed as food supplements or cosmetics products, which is in itself a whole new challenge as brands can’t really advertise or promote the medical benefits of cannabis.
CBD equals new opportunities
Despite the few complications that creating a CBD brand might bring, there are still amazing benefits attached to it. This is a growing industry, and it opens the door for amazing and lucrative opportunities.
According to the report Green Shoots – Sowing The Seeds Of The New UK Cannabinoid Market, only by 2021, the market was estimated to generate £690 million in annual sales, which compared to 2020, it’s more than twice the £314 million generated that year. And to make it even more promising, the CBD market is expected to have grown to a value of £1 billion by 2025. This represents a huge landscape for investment that immediately translates into opening new businesses and creating new jobs.
Another essential factor related to new opportunities is how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the UK population. People's tension and anxiety levels have risen as a result of the global lockdowns, driving up the demand for cannabis products as they look for natural solutions to reduce stress, soothe pain, and boost wellness. And even before the pandemic, there has been a general increase in the demand for more natural products for health and wellbeing that can supersede pharmaceutical drugs, which encourages the growth of the CBD market in the UK.
As a result, CBD beauty brands are flourishing. There is more CBD available in many forms providing the consumer with a vast array of options: oils, creams, lotions, vapes, edibles, and more.
How to do CBD branding properly
Just as in any other industry, CBD businesses have both challenges and benefits. And just as any other beauty and wellness business, one that incorporates CBD must learn how to create a stand-out brand to make sure its branding is effective and represents the company well.
Years ago, with very low competition, CBD businesses didn’t feel they needed to focus on their branding and had always relied on the cannabis leaf for their logos, as it is easy to identify. However, as the market is growing and new CBD brands keep emerging, many companies have begun to recognise the importance of developing solid brand strategies and creating unique logos to set themselves apart from the competition and sell their CBD products.
And it's not only for the differentiating factor that they needed to create better logos but also to separate themselves from the stigma and controversy that the cannabis leaf is associated with. One of the most important things to target when doing CBD branding is to help educate customers - this is done by being very careful with the words and language used, as it is paramount to deliver messages clearly and avoid any misinterpretations. It is precisely the lack of public knowledge and education regarding the legality and advantages of CBD, one of the major factors impeding the growth of the CBD market in the UK. A big part of the population is unaware of or misinformed about CBD, and mainly younger groups between the ages of 18 and 30 have been more open to using CBD products. The good news is that this is gradually improving as consumers are becoming more educated, thanks to the efforts of the CBD brands doing their work.
As part of the solution, brands are now focusing on more visually appealing and wellness-associated designs. More and more new companies are using modern and minimalistic designs to position CBD as the beneficial product it claims to be. Here are six examples of CBD beauty brands that have successfully avoided the negative connotation associated with the cannabis leaf and its consumption and have focused on their customer's wellbeing:
Vibes CBD started their journey in early 2020 and has been fighting against the use of additives and chemically laden solvents ever since.
They offer CBD oil, capsules, and gummies made from 100% natural hemp and THC-free.
Blessed CBD was born in an effort to correct some issues they noticed in the UK CBD market, such as low quality at exorbitant prices, lack of education surrounding CBD wellness benefits, and more.
They provide a variety of CBD supplements, such as CBD oils, creams, gummies, and capsules.
Poko is a vegan and cruelty-free skincare company that focuses on skincare products infused with high-quality CBD.
Poko offers a wide variety of skincare products for all skin types, including cleansers, toners, facial oils, serums, moisturisers, and more.
Kloris was born after a group of friends discovered CBD for different health reasons and used it to “deal with anxiety and insomnia, alleviate menstrual cramps and backache, and everything in between”.
They offer a wide variety of wellness products that include CBD oil drops, balms, body and face oil, and even non-CBD products for bathing and aromatherapy.
Mission C was created in 2021 after its founder, Qes, discovered the benefits of CBD to help his Grandad deal with dementia with a more holistic approach.
Mission C offers a unique CBD range of products engineered for wellness, sports and skin, including CBD oils, creams, gummies, balms and bath bombs.
Ohana Skincare was created by Jasmin Thomas after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sceloris. Despite being a skincare brand, the company puts wellbeing above skincare products and tools.
They offer CBD face oil, skin serum and balms, all aimed at enhancing the skin's overall health.
CBD brands in the UK that have successfully associated their designs with cannabis
Trying to flee from the negative connotations of illegal drug consumption doesn't necessarily mean shying from linking your brand to cannabis. Below you can see some great examples of brands that have used marijuana leaf or its green colour in a very luxurious and professional way. Furthermore, leaves also represent nature, and the colour green conveys tranquillity and calm.
J´Tanicals is a CBD skincare brand that approaches skincare holistically and aims to balance the Brain-Body-Skin axis.
They offer three beautifully packaged products: CBD face oils, moisturiser, and gel cleanser, which can be purchased separately or all together.
Hey Jane is a premium CBD skincare brand that uses a superior Full Spectrum CBD blended with high-performance botanicals that promise to really make a difference to the skin.
Their only product, the “Active Super Seed Face Oil“, helps calm irritations, reduce redness and clear blemishes whilst nourishing the skin.
A bright future for the CBD industry
Yes, branding a CBD business in the UK can be tricky due to the confusing regulations and rules that must be followed, especially since it's a common goal for all CBD brand owners to overcome the social belief associated with CBD. Nonetheless, as the market is only a few years old, the playing field is not yet fully covered and - although strong - there is still room to position your CBD brand easily as the market authority.
The most important thing is that your CBD brand can transmit and represent the desired perception of your business. And if you want your CBD brand to thrive, you must create an image that differentiates you from competitors, targets your ideal clients, and highlights your products' uniqueness and high qualities.
For this, you'll need to start with your brand strategy! So if you are looking to create a new CBD brand or rebrand your current one, we are a branding agency specialised in the beauty and wellness industry, so shoot us a message now!