!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics --> Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2020 54 B randing a cannabis business that specializes in a stop along the supply chain—cultivation, product manufacturing or retailing, for example—is a different challenge than branding a vertically integrated marijuana company. For one thing, many specialist busi- nesses are small and might not have the marketing budgets and supports that larger, vertically integrated companies do. One-off mom-and-pop retailers don’t have the same presence or supply-chain connections as multiple MedMen stores in California or Trulieve stores in Flor- ida. Non-vertically integrated product manufacturers and growers, meanwhile, must persuade retailers to give them shelf space, which is costly in terms of money and time. Despite these differences, branding and marketing strategies are essentially the same for businesses of any size: Develop your company’s identity and mission, then find creative but cost-efficient means for consumers to discover your brand. Marijuana Business Magazine took a deep dive with Seattle’s oldest recreational retailer to learn about its challenges. The accompanying story, “Product Manufacturer Tips,” includes branding tips from a cultivator and product manufacturer. BIRTH OF A BRAND NAME Cannabis City is the first and oldest mar- ijuana retailer in Seattle, having opened its doors July 8, 2014. That it’s humming along almost six years later might suggest a good branding strategy. But don’t be fooled, warns store founder and CEO James Lathrop. “It’s actually not a very good name as far as branding goes,” he said. “The branding rules say you need to have a name that is unrelated to your product, that’s catchy, that you can make a brand out of it.” He offered Apple and Orbitz as examples. “Cannabis City is actually a horrible brand name.” When the business first started, however, branding a recreational cannabis store was uncharted territory, and Lathrop worried a name that wasn’t straightforward might confuse potential Branding Cannabis City CEO James Lathrop reworked his company logo to appease lawyers for the owner of Seattleʼs Space Needle. Courtesy Photo Seattle marijuana retailer reflects on marketing strategy and pivots made along the way When You Specialize By Omar Sacirbey & Marketing Art of The Branding