(Mood33 is one of the companies featured in The Power of a Brand: Lessons From 20 Top Cannabis Companies, in the June issue of mg Magazine.)
For Mood33 co-founders Michael Christopher and Eric Schnell, infusing a beverage with a functional cannabis experience has embodied the journey of a lifetime. A lifelong asthmatic who overcame a debilitating childhood illness, Christopher’s adult dream was to develop a line of smoke-free cannabis products he and other “regular people” like him could enjoy without risking their lives. In 2015, he met Schnell through a mutual colleague, and the dream became reality.
“I was crafting home recipes of cannabis-infused herbal tonics and kombuchas in my Brooklyn loft at the time,” Christopher said. “I was seeking advice on how to commercialize these early beverage concepts and thankfully met Eric and his team at BeyondBrands, an eco-conscious, New-York-based [consumer packaged goods] brand accelerator and development agency.”
That brand backstory grew into a simple, but powerful, mission: selling peace, happiness, and relaxation. The story and the mission resonate with a set of consumers who, in a digitally over-saturated, high-stress world accustomed to artificial satisfaction, turn to cannabis for peace, relaxation, and joy. “As more consumers see cannabis as the next-generation health- and-wellness ingredient it is, we seek for those consumers to identify mood33 as the brand that bottled the power of the plant and shared the happiness,” Christopher said.
After creating a fun, sociable corporate personality, the pair had to build an environment in which the personality could shine. Schnell’s background taught him one of the keys to winning consumers’ hearts and minds was engagement through in-person education and sampling. mood33 has hosted events in diverse environments including the hills of Malibu, yoga retreats and healing ceremonies, “mocktail” bars at book launches, “extra-happy” hours at consumption lounges, and cannabis tourism excursions in San Francisco and San Diego.
Hosting “mood bars” at underground dance parties in Oakland, California, took advantage of mood33’s signature marketing appeal: beverages infused with cannabis extracts, functional teas, herbs, fruit, and flowers, producing uncommon flavors and “moodstates.” “We opted to own the power of the word ‘mood’ and its connotation in our brand name,” Christopher said. The company’s products follow a naming convention dictated by that choice: Joy, Passion, Calm, Peace, and Energy. “Our goals were to offer consumers an easy way to select and engage with the products, and to determine the best usage occasion for each proprietary formula with a quick glance at the bottle and its label.”
And they’re always brewing something new. “We are now actually working on an [artificial-intelligence]-enabled facial recognition app that can prescribe the best mood33 product based on a consumer’s facial expression or current mood,” said Christopher.