CEO of The Hybrid Creative
Zack’s presentations are a dynamic and thought-provoking look into building meaningful brands in the cannabis industry, leaving the audience empowered with useful tools and clear understanding of the steps ahead. We hope you will consider booking him for your upcoming event.
Chief Eternal Optimist
- Panel Discussions
- Workshops & Work Sessions
- Keynote Presentations
Areas of Expertise:
- Brand Strategy
- Cannabis Brand Development
- Marketing & Promotion
- Naming & Trademark Strategy
- Graphic Design
- Copyright Protection
- Packaging Design & Production
- Child Resistant Packaging
- Compliant Packaging
- Packaging Strategy
- Product Innovation
As the CEO of The Hybrid Creative, Zack is deeply focused on business development and expansion of the award-winning agency into the premier international platform for launching successful cannabis brands. As a lifelong entrepreneur, Zack brings 20+ years of experience in brand development, design, marketing and event production. Having been raised by cannabis farmers in the Emerald Triangle, he is truly “second generation.” Zack started his first agency, Greenfield Graphics in 1997 where he branded some of the industry’s first hydroponics brands. Since those early days, he has played an active role in defining the emerging cannabis industry as we know it today.
Zack’s vision to build the premier global agency for cannabis was further enabled in mid 2018 when The Hybrid Creative was acquired by KushCo Holdings, parent company of Kush Bottles and others. This event has empowered the growing agency to expand to all cities, states and countries where there is a strong or emerging cannabis industry. The agency is currently expanding their Santa Rosa, California office, building a secondary agency in Los Angeles and hiring new representatives throughout the US and Canada.
Zack’s passion for building the industry’s most successful brands is evident in The Hybrid Creative’s client list and portfolio of work. His innovative method for creating purpose-driven, sustainable and radically differentiated brands is the subject of many of his keynote and panel presentations. By embracing a value-driven approach to every working relationship, he has been effective at bringing thought leaders together to collaborate and co-create. The success of this can be seen in his world-class team and vast professional network.
“I had the pleasure of hearing Zack speak on a panel focused on a variety of different aspects of the cannabis industry. As a fellow cannabis industry professional who has heard and seen it all, I found his perspective on the industry to be incredibly unique and refreshing. On top of that, he was also a fantastic and engaging (and entertaining!) speaker, so much so that I requested his participation in an upcoming panel the very next day”
California Regional Director
BDS Analytics, Inc.
“I have had the distinct pleasure of sitting on a panel with Zack Darling on the topic of brand development and protection. As a trademark attorney, I have always found Zack’s contributions to be incredibly insightful and practical, and as a co-panelist he certainly did not disappoint. Zack’s energy and enthusiasm for his work shine through in all that he does, and his public speaking is no exception. I admire Zack’s commitment to providing useful, concrete guidance to audience members, never using his platform to make a sales pitch. Cannabis and non-cannabis industry audiences will be well-served by hearing Zack’s thoughts on developing a compelling and engaging brand presence that aligns with company values and resonates with customers.”
Amanda R. Conley
Brand & Branch LLP
“Zack Darling is an engaging speaker with a refreshing perspective. It is clear that his presentations are fueled by his passion for sharing information and instilling inspiration in others. His experience in the industry and his ability to connect with others is profound! Zack is a valuable speaker with much to share!”
“Zack is knowledgeable, personable and excellent choice as a speaker with expertise in cannabis branding, marketing and packaging.”
Sonoma County Grower’s Alliance
Zack Darling is the CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) at The Hybrid Creative, a thriving digital creative agency in Santa Rosa, Ca. focused on cannabis, hydroponics and medical marijuana ventures. He co-founded the parent company, ZDCA Design & Development in 2009 with his colleague, Kate Schneider, who serves as President and CTO. The Hybrid Creative brings to the table a wide variety of skills with a primary focus on brand strategy, design, product packaging, web development and marketing solutions. The agency was recently acquired by cannabis industry heavy hitters Kush Bottles, a move that will help to grow The Hybrid into an international creative force in a quickly expanding industry.
Zack launched his first design business, Greenfield Graphics, in 1997 where he first began creating brands and marketing materials for the music industry, sustainable ventures, and the young hydroponics industry. Since then, he has acted as Creative Director for thousands of industry-related projects. He has been a featured speaker at The Emerald Cup, Elevated Cannabis Compliance Conference, Women Grow, Sonoma County Grower’s Alliance events and many others.
In 2015 Zack’s interests in focusing his attention the cannabis, hydroponics and medical marijuana industries was further strengthened when ZDCA launched its subsidiary cannabis agency, The Hybrid Creative. The Hybrid Creative is known as “Northern California’s homegrown creative agency” due to the lifelong immersion Zack has had in the industry’s rich and colorful history. Having been raised on Greenfield Ranch, a hippie commune in the hills of Mendocino County in the Emerald Triangle, Zack has been exposed to the cannabis culture his entire life and is truly “second generation.” With a broad perspective that ranges from the front lines of the war on drugs to building brand strategy for many of California’s most prominent cannabis businesses, Zack offers unique context and perspective toward the importance of building a meaningful brand.
As a public speaker, panelist or workshop facilitator, Zack’s charismatic presentation style brings to light the importance of creating value-based brands and provides useful tools to the audience. His keen ability to turn the focus of the conversation away from the stage and toward the attendees leaves them with a sense that they have taken important steps in the soul-searching process of building or growing their cannabis brand.
Key messaging includes:
- The Value of Authenticity
- Identifying Your “Why”
- Building a Value-Based Brand
- Differentiation in a Crowded Marketplace
- Brand Voice, Personality and Archetype
- Creating A Strong Brand Story & Narrative
- Naming & Trademark Protection Strategy
- Product Design, Packaging & Compliance
- Identifying Your Target Demographic
- Understanding Your Competition
- The Importance of Resonance
- Packaging Design & Production
- Creating Compliant & Child Resistant Packaging
- Packaging Strategy
- Product Innovation
Throughout his 43 years, he’s been an active environmentalist, community activist, and event organizer. He was the lead producer of Harmony Festival’s night concerts for 13 years, the North Bay Burning Man representative for 7 years, two-time winner of the Bohemian’s “Best DJ in the North Bay” award, and the graphic designer behind many iconic festivals and concerts in Northern California and beyond. He was awarded the North Bay Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” award, and his agency continues to be the undefeated winner of the North Bay Bohemian’s “Best Digital Creative Services” award. In 2016 The Hybrid Creative was awarded “Women Grow Business of the Year” by the Sonoma County chapter.
Zack Darling will be a dynamic and thought provoking addition to your upcoming conference, expo or workshop. We hope you will consider booking him.