Most of the literature involves ‘re-branding,’ which by itself is OK, but a lot of people out there are using ‘re-branding’ as a way to alienate a lot of long time marijuana consumers, both patients and recreational users alike. I don’t like those types of branding articles and books. They are almost always written by someone who is new to the cannabis world, and thinks that they can use their MBA’s and/or public relations backgrounds to re-invent the entire marijuana industry. I’m all for strong branding strategies, but people also need to realize that all walks of life consume cannabis, and no one should be labeled as an ‘undesirable’ because of how they choose to dress, or the music they listen to, or how they choose to live their lives.
A strong marijuana branding strategy is one that recognizes that all walks of life consume cannabis. It’s one of only a handful of things that cuts across all demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds. Yes, there are people that wear suits everyday that consume cannabis, just as there are a lot of people that wear tie-dye that consume cannabis, and just about everything in between. Medical marijuana dispensary owners will be quick to point out that they don’t know who will be frequenting their establishment next. It could be an old grandma, or a 20-something male, the person could like Cheech and Chong or the person could be a symphony conductor. The biggest thing that successful dispensary owners realize is that serving patients successfully involves engaging with the clients, and catering to all types of patients. That requires a branding strategy that fits around that concept.
With that in mind, it was a very, very pleasant experience to read an e-book written by Alexa Divett of Maya Media Collective. The book is called Marijuana Millions: The Foundation For Success, and it is the best marijuana branding book I have read to date. Whereas most marijuana branding books, especially dispensary branding books, focus on trying to make the medical marijuana consumer base what it isn’t, instead of recognizing what the medical marijuana consumer base is. What I mean by that is that most branding books try to tell the reader that they should try to exclude certain client bases because those clients are ‘less desirable’ than others. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Most of the ‘less desirable’ people they want to ‘weed out of the industry’ are the same people that have been fighting for reform for decades. Marijuana Millions: The Foundation For Success goes in a much better direction, instead urging dispensary owners to engage with their clients to see what needs they have, and to build a branding strategy that is born out of the consumers that are actually frequenting dispensaries, not what some ‘professional cannabis branders’ claim the market is based off of their own ‘research.’
One thing that I absolutely love about Marijuana Millions: The Foundation For Success is that it urges dispensaries to be good members of communities, and that owning a dispensary is about more than just making money. I have said it over and over again, a strong branding strategy involves giving back to the movement and activist base that created the industry in the first place. From the very beginning of the book, it’s very clear that the author recognizes that very, very important point. Below is the book’s ‘Dedication’ page at the beginning of the book:
To all the excited would-be and existing cannabis entrepreneurs…
To those of you who have risked your lives and/or your social and family lives for this amazing plant…
For those of you who have been steadfast in knowing that one-day your dream of owning a real and legitimate cannabis business would come true…we salute you.
Without those who have gone before us….
Without those who have stood up to fight for A PLANT (for God’s sake)…for those who have said I don’t want to take harmful pharmaceuticals anymore and for those who have fought and rallied and rallied again…
We dedicate this book to you and thank you. Without you there would be no us. Without you there would not be the conversation that is happening on the national stage.
We are supremely grateful for your hard work and relentless pursuit for the freedom to choose medical marijuana, cannabis, grass, weed, ganja, reefer…
Now go forth and do what you’ve been working so hard to do. Open a thriving dispensary, help sick people and earn an honest and wildly successful living.
We’ve got you!
Maya Media Collective
Like I said, I have read A LOT of marijuana branding literature over the last year or two, and you will be very hard pressed to find a marijuana branding author that understands that without the movement, there would be no industry or opportunity to brand anything. So many authors fail to appreciate the portion of the marijuana consumer base that has fought for decades to create a legal marijuana industry and end the injustice that is marijuana prohibition. Alexa Divett dedicates an entire chapter to giving back to the movement, to the community, to patients, etc. The chapter is titled ‘True Success Is More Than Money.’ I think it should be mandatory for every dispensary owner and industry entrepreneur to read that chapter. The marijuana world would be a much more friendly place if that were to happen.
Marijuana Millions: The Foundation For Success is geared towards dispensary owners, but there is also a lot that can be learned from the book no matter what area of the industry an entrepreneur is in, or what phase they are at in their business pursuits. The book offers advice on marketing and social media, and has a very encouraging tone which is very effective at motivating the reader to take the marijuana industry by storm. Almost everyone I know in the industry, or who wants to be in the industry, can learn more about marijuana branding. This book is an easy, affordable opportunity to do just that.