Author: Nicole Brown, CCO Open Book Extracts
Over the past few months, we’ve shared our future perspective on the industry as we climb to CBD 3.0 — the need for research, the therapeutic promise of minor cannabinoids, the flight to quality that brands and the “buyers of tomorrow” are embracing, and the innovation that is going to power this rise.
WHAT IS INNOVATION?
Sometimes in business, certain terms become so ubiquitous that we forget what they mean or why they even matter in the first place. In the daily scramble to keep pace with change, the most basic concepts can get lost to the trends, buzzwords, and disruptions that capture our increasingly scattered attention.
If new product innovation has become a little murky or meaningless to you, then you might need a reset. So let’s remedy that.
According to Business Dictionary, “product innovation” is defined as “the development and market introduction of a new, redesigned, or substantially improved good or service.” It’s not only about developing something new and original, it’s also about taking what’s already there and making it much better. In other words, not everyone has to be the first to invent driverless cars, but someone has to be the first to make them better.
Now that we’re all on the same page again, let’s get to the beating heart of it.
Talk to anyone, and in no time, you will be told to invest in innovation. Except, how do you innovate new products, especially now, that are right for today and ready for tomorrow? Equally important, how do you build products that not only give you an edge in the marketplace, but also simultaneously create new value for customers?
A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPROACH
Keeping customers at the center of product innovation sounds like a no-brainer, right? Taking a customer-centric approach allows you to solve customers’ very real pain points by uncovering and incorporating their preferences, habits, and buying behaviors into every stage of the product development process.
When you develop products with your customer in mind, you increase the likelihood that:
- your customers’ needs and desires will be met
- those customers will broadcast their delight farther into their spheres of influence, thus widening the network of potential buyers
- your products will have a greater chance of profitability and long-term adoption
SO, WHAT DO CUSTOMERS WANT?
The appetite for CBD is there among your customers – but what exactly are they looking for? If you can answer this question, you’ll sell more products and win more loyal customers.
Let’s take a closer look at what your customers want from CBD.
- Efficacy: CBD customers hold efficacy as their key desire. This makes total sense: customers are motivated to pursue CBD to help them with a range of ailments, so they will want a product that works. This is why it is so essential that you sell quality products that help your customers to get the desired effect.
- Quality: CBD-dominant users value product quality next. This refers to the growth and extraction methods that were employed. CBD is a premium wellness product. If you offer CBD products, you need the ability to answer critical questions about the CBD that you use and again, articulate its quality. Discerning customers can differentiate between the quality of products, so your claims must be accurate.
- Form: Finally, CBD customers prioritize the form of the product they use. As the popularity of CBD continues to expand beyond the mainstream, we can expect for the form to become increasingly important. A more diverse range of customers will mean that the needs and lifestyles also become diverse. While some customers might prefer tinctures, some others may prefer gummies, or soft gels, or beverages.
4 WAYS TO INNOVATE IN CBD 3.0
Every CBD brand in the world is looking to graduate beyond the CBD-infused oil delivered in a tincture bottle. Retailers and consumers alike are demanding differentiation and category evolution. Since our inception, OBX has been a magnet for companies, labs, and researches seeking to launch their disruptive IP through our well-established commercialization and distribution engine.
In particular, OBX sits at the vanguard of four of the most salient innovation categories:
- Pure Cannabinoid Blends: CBD is no longer one-size-fits-all. Over the last two months, OBX has introduced CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV and THCV as part of our product lineup, delivering the same purity that we deliver with our CBD isolate. Rather than choosing Broad Spectrum Distillate or CBD Isolate, our more sophisticated and informed clients are requesting bespoke cannabinoid blends with precise ratios of rare cannabinoids. These ‘custom cannabinoid cocktails’ allow brands to respond directly to the rising demand for products with defined amounts of each of the rare cannabinoids such as CBN and CBC, whose specific properties and benefits are now widely known by consumers.
- Ingredient Advancements: In February, OBX established a commercial partnership with global ingredient distributor, Prinova, both as their exclusive CBD ingredient supplier and innovation partner. Together, OBX & Prinova developed and co-launched Hydrobond, a patent-pending nano-emulsified collection of water soluble ingredients. Earlier this month, OBX & Prinova released their newest collection of Hydrobond products, the Hydrobond Rare Collection, featuring water soluble CBG, CBN, and CBC, in addition to the core offering of the broad spectrum CBD water soluble products. Hydrobond products will drive new consumers into the CBD category due to its increased bioavailability, faster onset, and delightful sensory experience.
- Routes of Administration: If cannabinoids are going to meet their therapeutic potential, product developers need to be thinking about the most optimal delivery systems to unleash the benefits of cannabinoid ingredients. That is why OBX joined forces with Volunteer Botanicals, pairing OBX’s innovative ingredients with Volunteer’s flowable powder technology, allowing us to develop dynamic, efficacious products such as instant release tablets and chewables that will win the hearts and minds of even the most critical consumers.
- Package Form Factors: Now more than ever, our clients demand packaging differentiating to stand out from the “wall of tinctures” at most retail locations. They further desire a clean, transportable, affordable package that attracts new customers, drives product trial, and builds brand loyalty. To meet this demand, OBX offers Easysnap, a single-use, precise-dose sachet to provide a lower-price point for the CBD-curious, impulse buyers, and samplers. This form factor is compatible with both ingestibles and topicals, and its unique design provides a win-win-win for the brand, retailer and consumer.
The CBD landscape will continue to evolve, and it will get more competitive in the coming years. The key to survival? Don’t sit around waiting for the future. Instead, actively prepare for it. If you haven’t done so yet, start examining current trends, exploring paths to innovation, and finding out how you can use them to your advantage.
With that said, are your products ready for CBD 3.0?