The Oregon marijuana industry is crowded right now, and getting more and more crowded everyday. There have been a few articles recently published on that topic, and I know it's a concern for many people that are already in the industry. With recreational marijuana coming online soon, I expect that trend to continue. But don't despair, you can definitely carve out a spot in the fastest growing industry in Oregon. There are two big keys to success in my opinion, especially for dispensary owners, growers, concentrate makers, and edible companies. The first is having quality products - there's simply no way you will thrive in this industry if your products are sub-par. But that's something that I think a lot of people are doing right now.
The second thing is branding, which unlike quality control, is something that I think almost every company in Oregon could do a better job at. Branding is more than just having a cool logo, or unique packaging. Branding has many facets, all of which must be handled strategically in order to ensure that your brand stands out and resonates with consumers. My favorite person when it comes to the topic of branding in the cannabis industry is Alexa Divett. I first heard of Alexa Divett when I read her book about cannabis branding, and was fortunate to meet her at the July Portland Women Grow event.
What impressed me most about Alexa is that not only does she know the typical textbook/classroom branding fundamentals, but she actually 'gets' the marijuana industry and movement. I know many, many people that are great at spouting off branding information that they learned when they were pursuing their MBA, but they always miss their mark because they don't get that the cannabis industry is different than anything they ever learned about in college. Whereas in college, there is a lot of data to pour over, and focus group results, and case studies, etc., there is little to nothing like that in the marijuana industry. The marijuana consumer is different than most other consumers in other industries because after all, it wasn't until recently that we were even considered to be consumers; we were considered to be criminals.
People that have been operating in the shadows for most of their adult lives tend to behave a certain way (I sure know I do), and since the product we consumed for so many years had to be purchased on the black market, I think our buying habits are different. I know I personally don't care as much about how something is package, as much as I care that it's ultra dank, made by a veteran in the marijuana world (which shows in the quality of the product!), and above all, I care a lot about what the company stands for. If a company only stands for profit, proven by the fact that they never support reform efforts, then they will never get even one dollar from me, and I will always encourage others to do the same.
That's a concept that Alexa Divett understands completely, and that's why I respect her so much. She is very talented and knowledgeable, and has a true understanding of just how much the cannabis plant means to people. Alexa will be speaking tomorrow at the Cannabis Creative Conference from 2:15 to 3:00 about cannabis branding. If you are already planning on attending the event, I strongly urge you to attend her breakout group and hear what she has to say. Below is more information about Alexa, via the event's website:
As a successful entrepreneur, longtime marijuana advocate and medical grower Alexa Divett understands the unique needs of the cannabis industry.
Alexa graduated from Southern Oregon University with a degree in Journalism/Public Relations in 2000 and spent her first 9 years after college helping non-profit and start-up companies generate millions of dollars in revenue through marketing, public relations and community outreach.
In 2009, Alexa founded Positive Marketing Works, an online business and marketing coaching company, which helped young people avoid the dismal job market and create success through online entrepreneurship.
Using the same strategies of brand identity and marketing that she taught college grads, Alexa co-founded Maya Media Collective in 2013 to provide brand identity packages, marketing and business coaching to recreational and medical marijuana business owners and entrepreneurs.
Alexa's goal is to help entrepreneurs achieve marijuana millions while uplifting the cannabis industry.
You can find out more about the Cannabis Creative Conference from their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. It's my understanding that there are one day tickets still available. If you are serious about the marijuana industry, you should attend. Whether you have been in the industry for years, or are exploring the industry to see if it's a good fit for you, you should get your tickets before the sell out. If you want to learn more about Alexa Divett and what she has to say about cannabis branding, which I think everyone should do, check out her book at the banner below and follow her on Twitter: