Curaleaf Announces New Branding For All Connecticut Dispensary Locations

Curaleaf Brand Coming to Recently Acquired Arrow Alternative Care and Grassroots Dispensaries in GrotonHartfordMilford and Stamford

MASSACHUSETTS: Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading vertically integrated cannabis operator in the United States, announced new Curaleaf dispensary branding for all of the Company’s recently acquired Arrow Alternative Care and GR Companies, Inc. (“Grassroots”) dispensary locations in Connecticut. Curaleaf is the largest national retail dispensary brand in the U.S., and a premium mainstream cannabis brand available in 23 states as well as across a wide range of innovative products and form factors.

Joseph Lusardi, Chief Executive Officer of Curaleaf, said: “Building on our market leading position in Connecticut, we’re pleased to bring the Curaleaf branding to all four of our local medical cannabis dispensaries in the state. The rebranding of these locations directly aligns with our strategy of building strong, national brands that are renowned for high-quality products, backed by science, that deliver exceptional customer satisfaction.  With our Curaleaf brand in health and wellness, and our Select brand ranked as the #1 cannabis oil brand, we remain focused on providing our products directly to an expanding range of Connecticut patients. Overall, we are extremely proud to be active partners within these local communities and we look forward to building long-lasting relationships with them.”

Curaleaf began cultivating and processing medical cannabis in Connecticut in 2014. Today, Curaleaf is one of four licensed growers in Connecticut and operates a 60,000 square foot cultivation facility in Simsbury that provides high-quality cannabis products to over 9,000 patients statewide through its four dispensaries as well as wholesale channels.

In April of 2020, Curaleaf achieved vertical integration in Connecticut with the completion of its acquisition of Arrows’ dispensaries in Harford, Milford and Stamford, three of the largest Connecticut metro-areas. Under Curaleaf’s branding strategy, all three former Arrow dispensaries have been rebranded as Curaleaf dispensaries. Strategically placed in key metro areas, Arrow established itself as a market leader in Connecticut, operating three out of the 18 total dispensaries in the state. The Hartford dispensary opened in 2016, followed by Milford in 2017 and the Stamford store opening to customers in January of 2020. Additionally, in July of 2020, Curaleaf successfully completed the acquisition of Grassroots, including the Grassroots Herbology dispensary located in Groton, which has also been rebranded as a Curaleaf dispensary.

Curaleaf’s Connecticut dispensaries offers a broad range of flower, extracted oil and edible products manufactured to meet the highest product quality and regulatory compliance standards. Connecticut recently added as a qualifying medical condition Chronic Pain of at least six months duration associated with a specified underlying chronic condition refractory to other treatment intervention, which has the potential to significantly expand the size of the addressable market. In June of 2020, Curaleaf expanded its line of Select brand products into Connecticut with Select Elite Live cartridges available at local medical dispensaries across the state. Select, America’s #1 cannabis oil brand, can be found in 14 states including ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutFloridaMarylandMichiganNevadaNew YorkOhioOklahomaOregonMassachusetts, and Maine. As a recognized industry leader, Select is committed to meeting high quality control standards and testing transparency as well as delivering a smooth, flavorful experience with all products formulated with strain-specific terpenes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Curaleaf dispensaries have been deemed an essential service in many states, including Connecticut. Curaleaf continues to serve patients and customers while implementing heightened safety and hygienic measures including increased cleaning protocols, social distancing, mobile pre-ordering, and curbside pickup for at-risk populations.

For additional information about Curaleaf’s Connecticut dispensaries please visit https://ct.curaleaf.com/

Cresco Labs Launches California Advertising Campaign, Marking Its Most Significant Marketing Push To Date

Campaign touting the brand’s high quality and consistency supports new packaging and products in the market as Cresco strives to become one of the leading cannabis brands in the country’s largest recreational state

CALIFORNIA: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today debuted its largest advertising initiative created to bolster consumer awareness in California of its namesake cannabis brand, Cresco. Called “Excellent Everyday Cannabis”, the multi-channel campaign spans cannabis and mainstream media and features break-through branding that highlights the importance of quality and consistency for everyday cannabis consumption—a marketing message that closely aligns with Cresco Labs’ mission to normalize and professionalize cannabis use. The campaign supports the market introduction of updated packaging featuring an elevated look and feel for Cresco’s portfolio of products that include flower, cartridges and solid concentrates.

As Cresco quickly moves to solidify its position as one of the largest cannabis brands in California, this initiative comes at a particularly significant time. Cresco has historically operated in medical markets such as Illinois and Pennsylvania, and the brand is making its first marketing push in a recreational market where cannabis companies can advertise and speak directly to consumers. Cresco aims to set itself apart from other brands with straightforward messaging that demonstrates its quality and consistency.

“We’re focused on delivering the most consistent, high quality products for consumers who use cannabis to complement their daily rituals. Whether it’s to relax, focus or sleep, people are looking for a cannabis brand they can trust,” said Cory Rothschild, SVP of Brand Marketing at Cresco Labs. “At a time when many brands are focused on the most exceptional moments in life – the parties or the unattainable – we’re proud to deliver excellent everyday cannabis that Californians can count on to help enhance their lives. The new campaign will live in many of the channels where you would expect to see traditional CPG products, helping to destigmatize cannabis use at a time when so many people benefit from thoughtful, responsible consumption.”

“Excellent Everyday Cannabis” aims to captivate consumers through straightforward language that favors product attributes over the occasion and a modern approach to content creation and media placement. Cresco Labs worked with Steelworks, a Los Angeles-based studio specializing in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), to develop high quality, visually stunning imagery that highlights the refined aesthetic of Cresco’s new packaging. Imagery positions Cresco products to pop off bold, colored backgrounds, with straight-forward and straight-on angles that cast a big angular shadow garnering attention. Copy placed behind the product uses striking fonts and repetition to underline the campaign’s primary message, “excellent everyday cannabis,” with other copy variations to reinforce quality, consistency and everyday usability.

The company tapped digital advertising company Centro to implement a programmatic strategy leveraging algorithmic learnings and machine buying to reach target audiences in the right mindset and environment in real-time with precision and efficiency. High-impact digital displays in cannabis websites, such as Leafly and Weedmaps, as well as in best-in-class media partners Penske Media and Condé Nast, enable the company to reach target audiences consuming high quality content in these premium and rich contextual environments. The advertising initiative also includes digital out-of-home ads in elevator and lobby areas throughout Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco; print advertising in daily newspapers, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and two custom, hand-painted wall murals in Santa Monica by artist Lefty Out There, a celebrated Chicago-based artist known for his intricate pattern work, contemporary aesthetic and attention to detail.

The “Excellent Everyday Cannabis” campaign coincides with a national packaging relaunch and rebrand of Cresco. The new brand launches first in California, with plans for a nationwide expansion in the coming months.

The Cannabrander: Studio A64 Case Study: The Local Social Dimensions Of Best-Practice Branding

By Ben Weinberg

COLORADO: Studio A64 is a private, members-only cannabis club in Colorado Springs, Colorado that features a large, open space on the main floor as well as an upstairs lounge.  Studio A64 does not provide cannabis, and Ambur Racek who, along with Wanda Stark, owns and operates the club, wouldn’t have it any other way.  “We’re a social space for marijuana users, so we serve coffee and other drinks.  We also have a real soda fountain where we create awesome milkshakes!”

“We show movies,” says Stark, “have live music and comedy, play bingo, and curate all sorts of other social activities.  We even do ladies nights!”  With close to 2,000 registered members and continued strong membership growth, Studio A64 is a cannabis-focused business that understands the local social dimensions of best-practice branding.

Social vs. Social Media

Social media acts at a distance and can be very effective in raising a company’s profile.  But turning a prospect into a long-term customer generally requires more than just active Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Humans have evolved as social animals, which is why social media works, but our genetics use online activity as a mere proxy for face-to-face interaction, which is why in-person contact is so impactful.

Many of the social cues we normally consider (particularly smells and pheromones) are absent from social media, and thus interaction at a distance is not generally superior to the real thing.  How can a business owner capitalize on the natural dominance of local-area communication to promote her brand?

Being Friendly

Obviously, being social is easiest when there is a physical place of business.  But having a storefront isn’t marketing, and Colorado’s restrictions on legal cannabis mean that Studio A64 can’t advertise through regular channels.  So Racek and Stark have relied on both word of mouth and social media to promote their club.

A big part of Studio A64’s brand involves being picky about the type of person to whom they offer membership.  “We don’t allow just anyone in,” explains Racek, who has a background in the local restaurant scene.  “No large bags or pets, and we don’t show a lot of security but what’s there is always friendly.”

The user’s overall experience while onsite is another basis of the brand, a lesson the owners learned from the original owner, K.C. Stark.  “He really was the captain of the ship,” says Racek.  “K.C. was a pioneer who helped change history by campaigning to end marijuana prohibition once and for all.  UX was very important to him, and we’re just following in his footsteps.”

Stark (no relation) also credits the importance of a welcoming, professional vibe in bringing out targeted blocks of consumers who otherwise wouldn’t go to a cannabis club.  “We have a large contingent of female entrepreneurs, probably in part because they feel so safe here.”  Membership is evenly divided between locals and tourists, with most of the latter category coming specifically because they’ve previously heard about Studio A64 and not just because they’re on vacation in a legal cannabis state.

Franchising plans are already in the works, including to other parts of Colorado, California, Oregon, and Florida.  While navigating multiple jurisdictions in a quickly evolving legal space can be challenging, Stark believes that threading the needle on constantly changing laws requires a cannabis brand to continually branch out into new areas of expertise.  “We’re already almost five years old and the local government keeps trying to shut us down.  But as regulations become more lenient over time, the industry’s transition from medical to retail to social will also trace the evolution of our brand as a safe, social place for our members to consume legal cannabis.”

Being Social in a Virtual World

By partnering with a legal, physical space, a virtual company can add the benefits of one-on-one, in-person interaction to those already inherent in a lean, otherwise online-only operation.  In fact, locations such as Studio A64 are often eager to partner with outside vendors because the synergies are so obvious.

Conclusion

Studio A64, the United States first brick and mortar cannabis club, proudly sets a national standard for the future of the marijuana industry by incorporating the social element of branding into its products and services.  It’s a lesson that other cannabis companies, especially those with access to a physical storefront or other premises, should take very seriously.


About Ben Weinberg

Ben Weinberg, JD, MBA, the President of Ben Weinberg Consultants, has more than 30 years of experience in harnessing his creativity to tell your company’s story, including strategic and tactical marketing, sales, operational, and administrative consulting for small- and medium-size businesses across diverse industries such as law, medicine, wellness, leisure, and hospitality. Ben has written professionally for many international magazines and newspapers, online and in print, including as a contributing editor and Editor-in-Chief, is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and has won multiple awards for creative writing.  Visit his website and sign up for his newsletter.