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The Normalization of Cannabis Marketing
By: PR Week
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Players in the cannabis sector from growers and retail dispensaries to tech delivery mechanisms are starting to look less like fringe players and more like consumer brands. In recent months, many have recruited marketing VPs with traditional consumer brand experience, hired their first PR firms, or launched branding pushes.

To target recreational users, Grown Rogue on Friday debuted a website and branding that aims to market their marijuana flower, oils, and concentrates as easy, consumer-friendly product choices.

"We are not after the Cheech & Chong profile; that is not what our company is about," says Jacques Habra, chief strategy officer at Grown Rogue, which has a farm in southern Oregon.

He explains that Grown Rogue is casting a wide net for new customers.

"Our target is everyone from the soccer mom to the very athletic business professional to older people who may be experiencing marijuana for the first time since the 1970s or 1980s," Habra says. "That is because when you think of recreational marijuana replacing alcohol, whether hard liquor, wine or beer, in people’s lives, your target market suddenly becomes much more expansive."

Grown Rogue’s branding will market its 15 marijuana strains under five acronyms that together spell Rogue: Relax, Optimize, Groove, Uplift, and Energize. The company has organized its products into those buckets, based on research the company commissioned to determine how people feel after ingesting the strains.

"Our products are about enhancing an experience that the consumer would already be having," Habra explains. "If they want to heighten the experience of a bike ride, they’d opt for a product in Uplift, for example, or if going out to a club, one in Energize."

A month ago, the company hired Campbell Consulting for PR. Its founder, Judy Campbell, has partnered with Anouk Tapper, who runs Friction Marketing Agency, on a service offering called Cannabis Marketing Arts, which will offer cannabis PR and creative.

While recreational marijuana is illegal on a federal level, states including New York, New Jersey, and Florida have legalized medicinal cannabis. Othese such as California, Colorado, and Oregon, as well as Washington, DC, have legalized both medical and recreational pot. In those states and the District of Columbia, it is big business with rapidly growing sales. Revenue from the marijuana industry is expected to reach $21 billion in the U.S. in 2021, up from $6.7 billion five years earlier, according to Arcview Group. That’s a five-year growth rage of $213%.

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