Marijuana Business Magazine July 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | July 2019 122 Universal Brand Ventures, to help him choose a new business name. “We met Rafael at an investor’s presentation,” Hageseth said. “We heard him speak about the importance of branding (for) consumer packaged goods and beverages, and my colleagues and I came away impressed.” But don’t pick the first person or agen- cy you speak with, Hageseth advised. “We interviewed five or six firms before choosing Rafael,” Hageseth said. It is important to use an agency with a history of naming and marketing companies—even if it is outside the cannabis space, according to Hageseth and others in the industry. Azuca’s Silver agrees that it’s crucial to hire a consultant who understands the process of choosing a name. “Anyone can come up with a list of names,” Silver said. “But it’s way more complicated than just being creative.” At Azuca, for example, he wanted a name that was “unique and unexpected”—and avoided words such as canna and 420. “We are all about innovative culinary cannabis,” Silver said. “Our technology is groundbreaking. The stoner image is the opposite of who we are.” Silver hired Todd Irwin, founder and CEO of Brand X in New York. He was so impressed by Irwin’s work that Irwin is now Azuca’s chief marketing officer. CASE STUDY: Creating a Cannabis Name Honeywood is a high-end marijuana product. The genesis of its name is a biblical reference that seems to describe cannabis as Honeywood. Its product line includes buds with names such as Lazy Daisy, Sam Son and Est Her—the latter two referencing characters in the Old Testament. The Honeywood brand includes Happy Nectar bars with THC, as well as infused gummies called Re Cover and hard candies named Jolly Jolly. There’s just one thing keeping the company from being a runaway success—Honeywood isn’t real. Rather, the faux brand was created over a three-week period in 2018 by Lindsay, Stone & Briggs (LSB), a marketing firm with offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis. To date, Honeywood exists onlyon LSB’s website. The company created Honeywood to get a real-life feel for what future cannabis clients might experience when creating a name. “It’s always interesting when you take something you do regularly for clients and do it for yourself,” said Bill Winchester, president and chief creative officer of LSB. “When we undertook the Honeywood project, we wanted to demonstrate both to ourselves and to the world what a good cannabis brand might look and sound like,” Winchester explained. He and his colleague created Honeywood in what they call The Magic Lab. The Magic Lab is a way for LSB teams to experiment and create, allowing the firm to work in industries that are largely unknown to them. Their only previous experience in the cannabis space was for a greenhouse dehumidification company. Winchester knew from the start that he didn’t want a pot pun or a cannabis cliché. His vision was for an upscale, refined brand that conveyed a message that was “light, fun and visually appealing.” The firm’s employees were asked to develop their own ideas for a name. Then, they had a “naming hackathon” to throw out and defend their monikers. “This is where the magic often happens,” Winchester said. He and his colleagues also did a cursory trademark and URL search. The exercise revealed several lessons: Everyone involved in the naming process had strong opinions, and they work “really well as a group.” Also, “just when you think you can’t come up with another name, 10 more pop up.” Hundreds of names were considered, but Winchester declined to reveal the ones that didn’t make the cut. When the group came up with a shortlist of names, “some of the better stuff started to shake out,” Winchester said. In the real world, he would like to have about eight weeks to come up with the name for a marijuana company— more than twice what was spent on the process for Honeywood. “When you’re the client, approvals happen quickly,” Winchester quipped. – John Rebchook the Game Name