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From the Editor: Complexity simplified, the brilliance of marketing

Grow Opportunity, Media Partners

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Welcome to the sizzling Summer issue of Grow Opportunity magazine. This season we explore the challenging field of marketing and brand loyalty in cannabis as red tape inhibits conventional     advertising channels. However, not all drawbacks can be attributed to the regulations since championing brands have done so in the same promotional minefield. In a world of strict compliance, aside from producing a reputable product, alternative strategies and a sharp creative focus are essential company goals.   

Last year when I walked into Hall of Flowers, I noticed the aesthetic of many booths felt 70s retro. So rather than portray a point-of-sale transaction or another live action facility photograph, I wanted the cover to speak for itself, this time in a metaphorical rather than literal fashion.

In this issue, cannabis is compared to the fashion industry.

With the cover story idea in mind, next I came across Mitchell Osak’s speaker announcement for a branding panel focused on storytelling. We all know the tale of a legacy brand that went legit, or a medical patient who healed themselves and decided to incorporate.

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While valid, in this industry, these stories are a dime a dozen and must serve as a starting point to a larger, more complex narrative that can then be distilled into a catchy phrase, symbol or word.

This is the brilliance of marketing: taking a complex, 1,000-page novel and portraying it in the blink of an eye with a simple yet powerful meme. For Pure Sunfarms’ Pink Kush, that word is “nostalgia.” 

Osak also introduced me to SNDL – a retailer known predominantly in western Canada that acquired Ontario’s four store retail banner Superette. Granted retailers have “more levers to pull” when it comes to marketing, still this mid-century diner aesthetic supported the story angle I was crafting.    

The theme of cannabis industry promotion appears again in Ashley Keenan’s article with Katie Pringle’s statement regarding slashed budgets and the drive to do more with less. However, the onset of a segmented marketplace and the low dose products that signal a sophisticated market also appear in the Vantage Point column. And in the news, OCS farmgate regulations provide an ideal backdrop for unique storytelling, consumer engagement and experiential marketing opportunities.   

Another prevalent theme in the issue surrounds quality assurance via the Winter survey we circulated, and the Spring virtual summit we hosted featuring Deepak Anand, Tom Ulanowski and Denis Gertler. 

On page nine, you’ll find the results of our QA survey with a supporting article by Jake Hribljan and comments from Cannara, Aurora and U.S.-based cybersecurity consultancy SideChannel. You can download the full report on our website.   

Anand also joins us as the author of the International Affairs column, sharing European updates after cannabis reform and overseas events made headlines last season. Gertler takes a deep dive into the world of hemp-based products in the United States that are gaining popularity among consumers seeking low potency alternatives. And Ulanowski, whose Quality Summit in June was interrupted by the Canada Gazette announcement of the proposed cannabis regulation changes, appears as the subject of our Under the Lights Q&A. Ulanowski has stepped down as chair of the C-45 board of directors, and we thank him for his work advancing this industry. 

Finally, thank you to our readers, contributors and sponsors who enable our research and respective storytelling on the fluid nature of the evolving market. To you we say enjoy the high season, and cheers to blazing in the Summer sun! 

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