Our task was to define the marketplace, create a brand architecture and positioning, and then bring that brand to life through naming, packaging, point-of-sale elements, and a set of go-to-market social and advertising assets. Knowing that the market was on the edge of tremendous growth, we wanted to develop a brand focused on the group of people aligned with the product and values that this venture group embodied. We defined this audience as people new to cannabis, with an interest in premium lifestyle products who are looking for cannabis products they can connect with, talk about and trust. Our task was to create a cannabis brand that enables people to make informed choices about their products, and resonates with their California lifestyle.
In an effort to build a meaningful cannabis brand that leverages the potential of the growing California market, we created the Sonoma Cannabis Company, out of which emerged AYA.
AYA — which means ‘inspiring others’ — is a brand people can relate to. It represents the values of the Californians interested in a cannabis they can connect with, talk about and trust. AYA’s positioning as a sustainable, California-grown, pure and honest cannabis stands apart in the cannabis market traditionally associated with grunge and counter culture. We named AYA’s product offering ‘Nectar’ — the fruit of the gods — to create an emotional resonance with our premium audience as something they deserve and deeply believe in.
AYA’s brand look and feel was constructed to honor the California lifestyle: it’s accessible, welcoming, aspirational and rooted. The AYA story pays off the Sonoma heritage of high-quality food and wine and its mission, to change the perception of cannabis, reaffirms the values of its users.
The packaging uses iconography of native Sonoma animals, from birds to bears. And the associated product names connect to both the animal and the features of the product. The cannabis product named Slumber is identified by a sleeping bear, ‘Inspire’ has the wise owl, and so on.
Everything about AYA is the opposite of dirty. It is pure, 100% organic cannabis, made using only four elemental ingredients and handcrafted in small batches by skilled artisans. And its brand honors those qualities at every touch point.
By creating and expressing AYA’s positioning, we built a brand that would not just make an impression with potential cannabis users — it would become their first choice.
The results of our work speak for themselves. When our client approached us, there were no locations selling their product. Today, there are thirty-eight in both Northern and Southern California. AYA has won numerous awards — it was a finalist in the prestigious Emerald Cup 2016, and placed sixth on Dyeline’s Top 10 Best Cannabis Packaging design awards. And it continues to lead the next movement of cannabis production in California.